Thursday, October 13, 2011

I have a working INternet connection today -- at least for awhile, that is.

Yesterday C.C. and I left Barry's Bay shortly after lunch to drive to Orillia to visit Alyssa and Don -- my two wonderful musical friends from The Haven where I spent a week in September. We arrived shortly before 5 but it wasn't until midnight that reality hit me -- I was a morning person surrounded by three night owls.

Seriously. My head was nodding (it could have been helped by the wine) and the three of them were gaily chattering and swapping tall tales while my eyelids kept drooping.

Enough! I cried.

I'm off to bed.

Alyssa remembered she had a crack of dawn start to her day (apparently when you're a night owl a 9am meeting is crack of dawn) and declared the festivities over.

When I met Alyssa and Dawn at The Haven, I was struck by their gentle spirits. We spent three days together in Calgary when they drove through on their way back east and now, having spent more time with them, I know it's true -- we have a lifelong friendship forming. They regaled C.C. with renditions of their songs from The Haven -- Alyssa has put music to hers and last night accompanied herself on the cello while she sang her haunting song of a father's dying wish for his daughter, "The Pendulum". Since I last heard Don's, "I Blame the Horizon", he has tightened up the lyrics and with the addition of beautiful twists of phrase that left me wanting more.

"We write differently," Don said. "Me, I have to write the music before the lyrics. Alyssa is opposite. She writes the lyrics and then eventually finds the tune."

Sitting here this morning in the cozy kitchen of their 120 year old house, I wonder which do I do first -- lyrics or notes?

While we were at The Haven together, I shared my accordion playing saga from my youth. Alyssa, determined to prove to me that the music never dies, hauled in her accordion (Like, how does that happen? I share my misspent youth playing the accordion story with someone who actually has an accordion with them!) and said, "Here. Now you play it."

At first, I demurred. Seriously? Play the accordion? Now? I mean, really. I hated playing it as a young girl, why would I like it any more now?

But Alyssa is one determined woman and eventually, I acquiesced and opened the case.

And there it was inside, resting in its white velvet bed, a beautiful, red mother of pearl accordion. It wasn't the full size like the one I remembered playing long ago, but it was that dreaded of instruments -- an accordion.

And it was beautiful. (did I really type that -- beautiful and accordion in the same phrase? Wow -- how time changes my perspective.)

I picked it up, Adjusted the straps and slipped my arms through, one each side. It felt, comfortable. Natural. Easy. I pressed a few keys. My fingers naturally found the dip in the 'g' chord where the second finger of the left hand goes like my fingers find the 'f' and 'j' on my keyboard when I type.

Da du du. Da du du. The notes came out, my fingers lightly touching the chords. Da du du. Da du du.

I pressed the piano keys. Pushed in on the bellows. Pulled out. In. Out. Like breathing the rhythm of giving the instrument air came naturally. Right hand played notes. Left hand chords. I didn't play long -- not because I didn't want to but mostly because I was embarrassed -- some deep need to 'to it right' surfaced and after just a few short notes, I put the instrument down.

But I remembered.

Ah yes. I remembered. Playing music.

It was there Deep. In my bones. Memory cells long dormant awoke. I remember the song. I remember the music. My sister Anne and I locked in the dining room. Practicing. Well, mostly she practiced. I fidgeted. The metronome keeping perfect time.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Never missing a beat. Always beating time.

I watched the hands on the clock move through the hour. Fifteen more minutes before we could go play. Ten. Five. 30 seconds. 10-9-8-3-2-1.


And I put the accordion back in its case.

I didn't want to play music back then. I wanted to play. Skip the messy parts and just get going. Out there. Out in the world. Experiencing.

Anne wanted to get it right. To do her best. To practice until every note was sweet -- which probably explains why when we did sit our Conservatory exams she always beat me to first place, leaving me to battle for second.

It had been forty years since I last touched an accordion. And still, the notes remained within me. Waiting for that day when I would pick it up and play.

I didn't play well at The Haven. But I played and that's what counts.

I played.

Like I play today, living life right now.

It doesn't matter if the notes or the lyrics come first. What matters is that I let the song within me out. Give it air. Breathe into it. Sing out loud. Dance with abandon. Listen to the notes of life calling me to get outside and experience it -- LIFE.

Like the country and western song says -- Life is calling my name.

I gotta heed its call by living the notes that arise within me in all their messy chords and lyrical notes.

The notes don't have to be perfect-- as Don tells me no song is ever really 'done'. They're always works in progress.

Like life. It's never really 'done' until we're no more on this planet. And while we're here, we've got to sing the song out loud like nobody's listening, dance like nobody's watching and love like loving is all we can do.

Only I can hear the notes in my heart. Only I can express my song, dance it out, play it out, get it out to reflect all the love and joy and beauty I feel within.

And only you can express yours. There is no other song like yours. Whether you hear the notes first or the lyrics. Only you can sing your song for all you're worth.

And when we hear each other -- no matter the notes, let's make beautiful music together singing in the key of life. Singing as if no one is listening -- because if we don't, no one will ever hear us.

May your day be filled with your song of joy dancing all around.



Joyce Wycoff said...

Life is calling your name and what a lovely song you sing. Every day we get the lyrics and feel the melody even when we can't actually hear it.


Maureen said...

Your post makes me want to ask my sister, the eldest who learned to play the accordian, hey, what ever happened to that instrument?

You're playing all the notes life sends your way, and having fun doing it. So happy for you!

S. Etole said...

Such joyful songs you sing and share with us.

Fi said...

My mum used to play the accordion. Love reading your tales of singing, dancing, visiting - your tales of living life well