I love it when I rediscover something. Especially when it involves music. Such was the case this week.
I happened to notice a friend sharing a new music album on their Instagram. The name of the album was Out of Body, the group Need to Breathe.
“Oh yeah, I used to listen to them. Such a great sound. Maybe I’ll check it out.”
Later that evening, I downloaded the album. It played in the car on my way to school the next day and again on my way home. On the second listen, one song stood out-Banks. The following lyrics stuck with me.
I wanna hold you close but never hold you back
I’ll be the banks for your river
Turned out to be the inspiration for a poem. 🙂
Walking Alongside The riverbank Wondering What it might Have to say
Wisdom Gathered In tiny bits Only when The water is Still and quiet
Changes In the current Noticed by Trees leaning In just close Enough
These wise Residents Hold hands- Keeping The river In place
Sometimes The bank Allows itself To be overtaken When the river Loses its way
Patiently It waits for The waters To recede And continue On their journey
Strength Evidenced in Roots and trees Dirt and rocks Always faithful to Its fickle friend
Humility In willingness To give up a Part of itself Every time The river strays
Wondering If the riverbank Will share some Of its wisdom While I quietly Take a seat
Even though this past week was spent preparing for the first day of school, I was in denial. Yes, it was a good week. I was glad to be back with colleagues, to have focused time for planning. Yet, in the back of my mind, I thought something different would happen.
I believed there would be a change in our plans before the first day. Somehow, there would be an announcement that we were transitioning to distance learning.
But that did not happen, and tomorrow is the day.
So, now it is time for acceptance. I will welcome our students with a smile, doing my best to ease their concerns. Hopefully, music will help us all adjust. It will not be school as usual, but we will find our new normal.
I will do my best to view the day through their eyes. And just maybe, they will help ease my concerns. 🙂 ❤
To laugh and play On the swings Pumping feet Back and forth Flying so high Until a brave Jump launches Toward the sky
To show love Skipping across The playground Hand in hand With a friend Spinning around Falling down On the ground
To speak truth I love you Immediately Followed by Your hair looks funny Honest words Unfiltered and From the heart
To seek security In the comfort Of a father’s lap Curled up in Perfect rest Breaths in sync Every ounce of Tension fading
To press rewind Erasing today’s Apprehensions Long enough to See our world Thru the open Eyes of wonder- Like a child
I love playing the piano. And playing the piano in collaboration with another musician is even better. It requires a whole new level of concentration. But it also provides a whole new level of enjoyment.
Not only am I reading and listening to my part, but I am also doing the same for the other instrument. One section on its own does not make sense. But when played at the same time, harmony in motion. Almost like two characters telling the same story from their own perspective.
Even though collaborative playing is one of my favorite ways to experience music, it has not been part of my life in more recent times. Right now, my professional life is more focused on teaching. Playing is mostly for my own enjoyment.
That is ok. I am not complaining, just setting the scene.
Here we are, many months of living during a worldwide pandemic. The school year ended strangely. So many plans put on hold. And just when it seemed things were improving, our numbers are on the rise again.
There are so many questions about the future. How long will this last? What will school look like? It is easy to feel anxious.
What better way to calm anxious thoughts than some musical collaboration?
My friend, Lisa, came over and brought her oboe. Lisa and I teach music in the same district. She is also a professional musician. We have talked many times about getting together and playing music.
What better time than during the middle of a pandemic?
My music room has glass doors that open up to the main entrance. So, we opened the doors and sat a chair and music stand in the entryway. That way, we could still maintain a social distance but also have a sightline.
We played music for almost two hours! The time flew by. My fingers got a workout, but my brain was at peace. The music was beautiful! And we had the perfect audience, my miniature dachshund, Poppy.
Poppy’s bed was placed between the piano and the oboe. She was perfectly still, relaxed in her bed the entire time. I think she approved.
Playing music did not erase our questions or concerns. But it did provide some moments of contentment. Music is powerful, therapeutic. And the therapy is even sweeter when it’s a social distance duet with a friend.
Forgiveness may seem a surprising subject for the Fourth of July. But somehow, this year, it seems more appropriate than ever before.
Yesterday, I watched the film version of the musical Hamilton. My daughter and I saw the traveling production last year in Tulsa. I was overwhelmed by its brilliance. Not only in the music creativity but also the messages it so powerfully portrayed.
It tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. A life filled with tragedy I cannot begin to imagine. A past he worked to overcome. A desire to leave behind a world better than the one in which he lived.
The film version was no less powerful. I was barely able to contain my emotions through the entire production. And just as with the live show, my thoughts quickly turned to another musical, Les Miserables.
Though many similarities may be drawn between Hamilton and Les Miserables, one speaks above the rest-forgiveness. These moments in each story provide a beautiful reminder of how great the need for each of us.
There is much more to be discovered in this story-in both of these stories. But on this July 4, 2020, forgiveness seems to be the place to start. For both receiving it and giving it bring freedom.
If you have not yet seen Hamilton, it would be a perfect way to celebrate!
It's Quiet Uptown
Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand
It’s quiet uptown
Can you imagine?
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Shh-be quiet Listen closely to The falling rain Some might say It’s wasted time But that rain has A story to tell A fantastic tale Of drops filling Fluffy white clouds Until no matter how Hard it tries, That fluff can no Longer hold the weight The clouds give up And the raindrops Begin their free-fall At first, racing To the ground But then landing In perfect rhythm Life-giving music Serenading as it Waters the earth Providing a drink For the flower Sending relief For the dry ground Shh-be quiet Listen closely to The falling rain It’s not wasted time By the time It can be heard Its story is just beginning
I love seeing birthday celebrations for those who’ve made it to one-hundred. A century is a log time-so many things to witness and experience. These individuals always seem to have a funny, yet wise piece of advice. Two I recently read were-just keep going and take naps. ❤
I always say I’d like to live At least a Hundred years Since I’m over Half-way there The thought doesn’t Seem so strange My family would plan A great big party Biggest cake You’ve ever seen With one hundred Sparkling candles Lighting up The entire room Sitting at the piano I’d play a familiar tune As party guests loudly sang Happy birthday to me! I’d blow out all the candles And make my birthday wish A hundred-year-old hope For lasting peace and rest
Sometimes Silence Is not an Option Yet, this day Words Fall Flat And though Emotions Run High Attempts at Expression Feel Numb On this day Notes Speak Loudly Only as Music Plays Softly In this moment It is my Obligation To hear The cries Of tired Hearts Breaking