Significant

Last night was our annual “Meet the Teacher” event. It looked quite different from years past. More controlled, a limited number of parents and children attending at one time. Everyone wearing masks, maintaining distance.

While assisting a family in finding their classroom, I spotted one of my students from last year. He is a sweet boy, such a good student. He smiled behind that mask and said hello.

On my way back downstairs, I saw him again. This time, sitting with his mom. “Just enjoying the view,” he said. Mom shared that he would be doing school virtually this year. Little sister has a heart issue. They need to be careful. He is understanding, but obviously disappointed.

I wish I could accurately describe his eyes. So honest, so sincere. And his words, “Mrs. Morris, I really wish I could just give you a hug.” I responded, “Me, too, Sweetie. Me, too.”

And then I quickly walked away so he would not see me cry.

This small interaction, only a few minutes, was the most significant event of my entire day.

Small

The days seem long
And yet, they’re not
When viewing them
Thru a wider lens

Getting caught up
In what’s next
On the calendar
Is the expected

At least, that was
The case until
Our days were so
Abruptly changed

Life events often
Taken for granted
Now indefinitely
Placed on hold

And so, the small
Takes precedent
A kind word
An honest smile

A vantage point
Revealing that perhaps
The truly significant
Is actually quite small

The Way I Saw It

The past few mornings have been rainy. It’s difficult to wake up and get moving when the sky is so gray. But yesterday morning, though rain still fell, had a different appearance.

Looking outside, I noticed the sky looked strange. The view out the back door was still mostly gray, but with an odd hint of pink. Looking out the front window showed the sun trying to shine through the rain. My first thought-I bet there is a rainbow.

So, I walked outside, and sure enough, there it was, a beautiful rainbow, the full arch, from one corner of the sky to the next. Little drops of rain fell on me as I took in its beauty. And then, of course, I had to snap a few pictures.

My eyes saw each color of the rainbow. Clear and bright. But when I looked at my photo, something was wrong. Still beautiful, but the colors seemed muted. Not what my mind remembered from just a few moments earlier.

I immediately began to edit my photo. Don’t you love those filters? But this took a lot of adjustments. I played with light, contrast, shadow, etc. Finally, I had a picture that represented what I had witnessed.

Why was it so important for me to change the original picture?
Seeing that rainbow brought a moment of beauty and peace during difficult days. And by sharing my photo, I hoped to share that experience. Maybe someone else needed that same kind of moment.

Which photo best represents what I actually saw? In my mind, it is the second. But logically, I know it is probably something in between the two. Maybe the second one is more representative of how I felt. Either way, that’s the way I saw it. And I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere… 🙂

Impressions

First impressions
Mysteries
Unfinished pictures
Incomplete
Look closer
Each individual
A series of chapters
A personal story
Brushstrokes
In a painting
Notes
In a song
Carefully pieced together-
A masterpiece
Viewed separately-
Misunderstood
Understanding
Requires willingness
To trust
And be trusted
Shines light
On the fragments
Solves the puzzle
Reveals the person
Truly knowing
Takes time
But, oh, what joy
To understand
To experience
A beautiful mystery
The soul who leaves
A lasting impression

Debussy Prelude No. 8, La Fille aux cheveux de lin

Sunshine or Rain


Left in the rain
Returned in sun
The dark turned to light
The night turned to day
What if it happened the other way
Left in the sun
Returned in rain
The day turned to dark
The light turned to night
Somehow, that doesn’t feel quite right
Words are the same
Order is different
Is that what caused the
Change in mood
Or could it be my chosen view
Each of us sees 
Thru a personal frame
Sometimes clouded
By our very own names
Yet, time will show
As day turns to night
Or dark turns to light
One truth remains
In sunshine or rain
Each one is needed just the same
Chopin Prelude Op 28, No 6 in B minor
I hear clouds and rain with a little sprinkle of sunshine. 😉

In Tune

Last week a piano technician came and tuned my new piano. Even though it is a beautiful new instrument, there are several reasons it needed tuning. Being moved to a new location. Sitting in a different space, with different temperatures, on a different type of floor. All factors that affect the way it sounds.

I listened as the technician worked. She listened to such tiny details. The way she would tune one note to its octave counterpart. When I played those notes together in a chord, I didn’t notice that they were out of tune. But hearing her pick them all apart, it was obvious.

The mechanics of a piano are fascinating. My explanation to students is usually simplified. Your finger presses down the key, which causes a hammer inside the piano to strike a string producing the sound.

Watching my piano being taken apart, actually viewing the insides, gave me a new perspective. Each piece has its place and must be perfectly aligned to produce a high-quality sound. Even a new piano needs time to adjust and sometimes requires a little assistance.

One thing stood out above the rest, voicing. I asked the technician about adjusting the voicing, making it a little less bright. Basically, taking the edge off of the sound. She explained that part of that process involves the felt material on the hammers.

A needle is used to soften the felt. When done correctly, it does not damage the material. It just slightly changes the way the hammers strike the strings.

Once the piano was put back together, I sat down to play. Wow! What a difference. Not only was it in tune, but it also had a much warmer tone. The sharp edge had been softened.

This experience made me think about my life. What if I’m in a new place, with new surroundings, expectations, and people? What if my reaction is one of fear or frustration? My words may sound edgy, sharp, or out of tune.

Like the felt on those hammers, something inside me needs to be softened. An adjustment might come in the form of an honest word from a trusted friend. Yes, stings for a moment. But the sting will not last if accepted with grace. The knowledge that someone loves me that much, however, is lasting.

Hopefully, as I continue playing my piano, I will be reminded to check my own tone. And will gracefully accept any needed adjustments to keep me in-tune with my husband and children, family and friends, the world around me.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Schumann Arabesque Opus 18. One of my favorite piano pieces. Only the beginning theme and the conclusion. ❤

Look Up!

In my childhood experience, brown, spiky pinecones equaled crafts. Searches for them were fun. Walking around outside, I looked for ones of various sizes. Once enough were collected, the possibilities were endless.

They could be painted and used to create cool prints. Add some glue and glitter, and it was a Christmas tree ornament. Quite often they were slathered in peanut butter and rolled in seeds. Voila! A tasty treat to hang outside for the birds.

When I think back to collecting these interesting pieces of nature, I don’t remember ever looking up. I knew they came from those tall, towering trees. But gave little thought to what they looked like before hitting the ground.

As I sat on the deck outside our Colorado cabin enjoying the cool morning breeze, I happened to look up. Near the top of one of the pines, I noticed bunches of green pinecones. Their color created a sort of camouflage among the pine needles. Hanging on until it was time to fall.

I honestly hadn’t noticed this before. I’m glad that morning was different. It reminded me that my focus is often is singular. Only looking for that one thing I want to look for.

Perhaps I should look up more often. There is so much more to life than what is right in front of me. New challenges and possibilities are all around.

But what if trying something new leads to a fall, and just like those pinecones, I land on that bed of pine needles below? That is ok. I can look up, remember where I started, and know there is still plenty for me to do. The possibilities are endless!

Rainbow in the mountains!

Depleted

I had brunch with my dear friend, Marina, this morning. We caught up over coffee and yummy food. It has been a busy couple of weeks, and friend time has been scarce. I don’t think I realized how much I needed this time until it was over.

Near the end of our visit, my friend looked at me and said, “You really are depleted, aren’t you?” I chuckled at first. She tends to use what I would call formal words in casual conversation. It is her way, and I love it. This term, however, stuck in my head. Depleted.

When I got home, I wrote the word down. Hmmm…an interesting word. Looking up the definition lead to a list of synonyms: exhausted, sapped, drained, expended. Yep, that’s how I’m feeling. (Honestly, I might have stayed in bed all day had my friend not called.)

Then I scrolled down to the definition part you never take time to read-the Latin word roots, etc. There I saw these words-emptied out. Wow! An entirely new perspective. In order for something to be emptied out, it must have been full at one point. This must also have been true of me, even if I can’t remember when right at this moment. 😉

Instead of thinking, “I’m so tired, there’s so much still to do.” What if I take the time to be refilled? What would that look like?

The upcoming week is musical performance week. Double responsibility. However, I can’t wait until it’s over to begin this process of refilling. So, what is my plan?

Take each day as it comes.
Pray and read-things that calm my thoughts.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Drink more water.
Take short naps after school each day before call time.
Go to bed early.
Enjoy playing for this amazing show!

By the way, antonyms for depleted are energized and full. I know it will take more than a day to get there. Nevertheless, hopefully, this fresh perspective will remind me that when I am feeling depleted, it is time to slow down and remember to take care of myself. That is the only way I can go from depleted to full.

And this process might just begin by having brunch with a friend. 🙂

Big World~Small World

There are times when the world seems so vast. An endless list of landscapes to explore, beautiful nature to witness, charming people to meet. In reality, places I may never visit, sites I may never see, people I may never know. Not enough days in a single lifetime to physically travel the miles required. Such is life.

Other times this world feels so small. Communication is instant and constant. Phone calls, text messages, emails-right at our fingertips. Breaking news reports from places close and far away. With this shrinking outlook of the world, my focus moves to what is right in front of me.

I believe it is important to view our planet from both perspectives-big and small. Marveling at the grandeur we may only see in pictures and film reminds us to always consider the big picture. Realizing that even without seeing a person or place, I still have a responsibility to consider the unseen with an attitude of respect and value. This viewpoint also has a way of putting me in my place, one small dot on the atlas.

What are the positives gained in the small world perspective? This is where my daily obligations reside. The places where my spoken words and actions have the power to lift up or crush. My family, co-workers, students live in that path. Here it is crucial to recognize my ability to influence those around me.

Remaining only in the small worldview, I risk an enlarged ego. Such an inflated view of my importance certainly would cloud my outlook on life. Residing only in a big world existence, I risk missing my potential-seeing myself as small and insignificant. The key, as with most things in this life, is a balance.

Interestingly enough one place I currently find that balance is right here, in the thoughts and words I type. This forum allows me to express feelings, tell stories, and be creative. People I’ve known my whole life along with those met in more recent years celebrate, cry, or remember with me. At the exact same time, someone I’ve never met who lives half-way around the world offers encouragement simply by reading my words.

Our world is both immense and tiny, all at the same time. It may sound like a paradox, but it is the reality. Each one of us resides in both spaces. The responsibilities may fluctuate depending on our circumstances, but we are always accountable for making contributions either way.

Big world~Small world…where do you see yourself today?