Tuesday, April 13, 2010

piano, reborn

Piano is my first instrument. Did you know that? Probably not. Most of you have only seen me with a guitar. Well, lately I've been playing a lot more piano. I've got 6 years worth of slacker-ness to make up for. I'd play here and there but never anything you'd call diligent or dedicated or with much heart. And I've been wondering why this is.

Maybe when you go to a piano lesson once a week, for 11 consecutive years, you just want to set it aside. During those years, there were many times I didn't want to play, but I did it anyway. And I'm so glad I did. Now, it's coming back around, and a love is growing inside me. This time, I find myself wanting to play. Despite the difficulty of reacquainting myself with the feel of the keys under my fingertips, the crescendos and decrescendos, the soul of playing more than just mere notes... yes, despite all of that, I'm enjoying this.

Why did I ever let it fall away? Why did I forsake such a beautiful instrument? It's a lost art, piano-playing is. I'm convinced of this. Everyone wants to play guitar. You can learn more quickly, you can take it anywhere - and these are reasons I love guitar! But I'm so glad piano was my first instrument, so glad to have the opportunity to keep playing.

This weekend I'll join 4 or 5 fellow musicians, all who took lessons under the same wonderful woman. We'll celebrate 25 years of her studio, diligently teaching children (and a few adults) despite a lot of their apathy and rottenness. (Indeed, I was rotten sometimes. One time, during a studio Christmas party, I was talking during the movie and being generally disruptive and disrespectful, and she made me go sit out on the porch! Love that woman.)

What a joy to be back with these friends, playing and singing and remembering friendships of long ago.

Humanity still shows some glimmer of Light!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring has a way of making me into a neighbor...

Indeed it does.

Spring is in full-swing here in Memphis, and I'm am really in love; I mean, really in love! We're trying to enjoy it fully, and so far, so good. Took some kid-friends to the botanic gardens plus a picnic, then the next day, Jeff and I picnic-ed at the river (the Mighty Mississippi). Then to an outdoor concert to sway and sing along with Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken, with the cheese, wine, and other picnic-ey items spread out on our blanket (are you seeing a theme here?)

Spring is good. The strawberry plant in our front flower bed has grown like crazy in 48 hours; I'm not kidding, at least half an inch, maybe more. Seriously. Seriously? Seriously.

But really, Springtime can make you into a good, or at least a better, neighbor. It's no longer dark when you get home from work, and everyone's in a better mood than in 20 degree February, and something about the way the sun sets in the Spring just makes you feel good. It makes you feel a little more alive.

Don't we all feel the little deaths of winter? The strawberry plant goes into hiding, the trees are skinny, and some days you want to lock yourself inside... so maybe you kind of die a little inside, too.

But then comes the new life. And somehow I find it inside me to step off of my safe little porch and out onto the sidewalk. Down the street and onto someone else's porch. Into a living room I'm unfamiliar with and finally leave with the hug of a sweet woman who prays for us even though she doesn't know our middle names. Maybe she doesn't even know our last names. I don't even know hers. But we're neighbors, and we know it.

Summer is coming, and in Memphis... that can [for me, at least] mean more withdrawing... from the scorching heat, the mosquitoes. So, don't let Spring get away... step off your porch, friends.

Be bound up by grace and peace!