May 7, 2012 at 8:48 AMFor the most part of winter, silence accompanies my evening walks. Black. White. Cold. Nothing. I plummeted with the temperatures into a soul-less darkness. With no goals or venues, I floundered, desperately seeking some sort of purpose to my playing. Finally, on Easter morning, I chose to swear off the violin for good. This torturous, unfulfilled pursuit would be best if I cauterized it and found something less painful to occupy my time--something that wouldn't remind me of a world that lay just out of reach. I'd quit the violin before; I could do it again.
The next morning, the sound of a single robin's chortle awakened me from my frustrated slumber. What's this? A sound? Stupid robin, why did you come to this wasteland? So out of place, you are.
At night, I resumed my usual stroll. In the not-so-darkness, the call of a boreal owl interrupted my thoughts. What are you calling, and why? He loves, and he states it.
On Tuesday, the gulls returned to the frozen lake, waiting with mews of discontent. Juncos called from the trees. I walked the usual path with my dog, but this time, I smelled something: dirt. Dirt, with a hint of sap. Gradually, the colors seeped back into my life, watering buried notions.
Why do we play? Do we want to be adored? Do we want the job? Does this nimble, delicate wood carving of scroll and ribs come with strings attached? Will it lead us to a pot of gold? Does it require us to sign away our happiness for a life of striving in vain for that which we cannot have?
Or does it simply create sound from silence? Is this not enough, to create sound from silence? That which was not, now exists, because we play. Without it grows Nothing.
In the back room studio with the yellow walls, I dust my strings to the late night robin who calls in the wood.
Just Sunday I went running early in the morning (this is rare for me) and as I walked afterwards, I heard so many birdsongs. Sometimes I'm so much inside my head that I don't hear them, but I actually stopped to listen, and they sounded more beautiful than ever. How amazing, they always come back. They practice, too, they repeat their song slowly, then quickly. I love it when spring brings our natural musicians back to town!
Is the Anchorage Symphony defunct? You played with them didn't you?
I, too, look forward to reading your blogs, they've been scarce lately. Maybe you should try writing short stories..? BUT DON'T STOP PLAYING!
In response to Laurie's response, I can recommend everyone (but especially musicians, since it is much easier for us to do) to become familiar with the songs and calls of the common (and later, perhaps also the less common: sophistication!!) birds of the region where you live. Once you know them you will never be alone anymore.
Meanwhile say hi to the loons for me!! They are my favorite European winter guests. (Although the ones that winter in Europe are not Alaskan I guess, more Greenland and Scandinavia.)
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