Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Five (at last count) Rs

Reconnecting. Re-reading. Resonating. Ranting. Remembering.

Hi, everybody. My poor computer was ill, so it went off to hospital for a few days, and I suffered the torments of the isolated. It wasn't bad, really, except I missed being able to catch up on the boards, post here and also read Charlie's blog to get the latest on his athletic endeavours.

I have done several 10k walks and two bike rides (14 and 16 miles, respectively), which made me feel ill - I don't seem to do heat very well. I'm glad the races are scheduled for October, not August.

In the meantime, also, I've re-read Barbara Kingsolver's Small Wonder, which brought me to tears again; I've listened repeatedly to my favourite violin concertos and the Bach cello suites -and the other day I heard a wonderful 3-hour CBC programme that featured the viola da gamba. I'm beginning to sort out my physical reactions to the various stringed instruments. The violin takes my breath away - literally, at times - but I seem to hear the sound mostly in my face and jaw. The viola da gamba resonates off (on? in?) my left collarbone and shoulder blade. The cello's voice settles right near my bottom ribs and gently touches my diaphragm, thus also causing a bit of breathlessness. I tend to think of it as making my chest hurt, but that's not it, exactly. It hurts good, whatever it is. The common-or-garden viola sounds to me as if it's made from a not-quite-empty cereal box, and it doesn't resonate at all - just lies there making scraping noises. All these things make me ponder the nature of beauty and our individual responses to it. They also make me want to unplug the tv and just fill the house with music (my music, of course. This could be difficult.)

Here comes the rant: Why, why, why did I not take violin lessons when I was advised to do so? Our school system brought in people to test us kids I think I was nine or ten years old - and tell us what sort of instruments we should play (if any, I must presume*); I was told that I was best suited to the violin. I took a few piano lessons at school (a horrid experience), but never picked up a violin. I did sing, of course, and continued to sing until just a few years ago, when a bad patch of allergies made me sound like a frog, but my voice is the only instrument I ever learned to play with any degree of proficiency. Shame. It was probably a matter of money, and there was nothing to be done about that, but it's still a shame. I'd love to feel the music in my fingers and hands and arms, as well as in my face and chest.

*Little story. Funny/sad. My daughter also took piano lessons for a short time, but from a private teacher. Before long, the teacher told her she was the most appallingly untalented child he had ever encountered (PD is, she will be the first to admit, tone-deaf, and her eye-hand co-ordination was a little slow in coming. She has other redeeming qualities, like emotional honesty and straightforwardness, which I wish I shared.) Shortly after this outburst, the gentleman killed himself. All these thirty years or so later, I think my poor daughter still nurses a suspicion that she was responsible for his demise.

That's what happens if you take my computer away. I have too much time to sit and think.

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