Thursday, March 01, 2007

the water is wide

Tiger Lil was humming.

Wait, let me back up.

I've been practicing my harp and am actually learning to play it. It matters to me to learn this, and surprises me (the arrogance) that there are still things I want to learn. I'm not sure if stasis is my goal, but save that thought for another day.

I am learning to read music. Rather, I read music, and am learning to play the harp correctly, not by ear. So I am actually able to play music I have never heard before. But learning this way, I am never really certain if I get it right. I have been practicing a song called "The Water is Wide" for two weeks. Because I have never heard the song played by anyone but me, I'm not really sure what it sounds like.

So there I was, getting some lunch together in the dining room, Lil singing in the background. She's a soprano. A really good soprano. But she no longer knows the names of things if you ask her. She could say it outright if it came from her stream of thoughts, but if you interrupt it, there is no recall. Just generalization.

I am filling my plate with salad and I hear this tune, this haunting melody, and I think, because I am self-centered, because I too live in my own world, that the song is in my head, that I am just hearing the notes together because I play them over and over again, day after day, and this song has become part of me. Because I don't know this song, really. I just know these notes together, and how they sound when I play them. And Lil sings on.

So I rise to consciousness, aware of the tune, and look around me. I realize Lil is humming, and I look at her and experience the frustration of knowing she is unable to answer a straightforward question, but I must know. I must.

"What is that melody?" I ask her.
She looks at me with wide nordic eyes, "I'm..." she can't even find the words to say she doesn't know.
I try to bail her out. I have to know, but I accept that she will not be able to find her words. "Is it 'The Water Is Wide'?" I ask.
Her eyes light up. "It's wonderful." She exclaims, hand to her heart, eyes seeking more information from me, begging me to tell her something she can hold for just a moment.

Because moments are all we have.

Any of us.

So we hummed the tune together, and I confirmed what I knew. And she sang a few of the words, but not many, settling for da da da da da in the loveliest soprano range. And I promised I would bring in my harp the next day, and did, and we had another moment together. And it is selfish of me to have wished that when I showed up with my harp the next morning, that she bounded across the room (at 93) to greet me, but she didn't. She just hummed, and it was another day... another moment.

But the thing is, I recognized the tune, so that means I was playing it right. I am learning. She is unlearning. I am grateful for forward life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

these ARE the days, and the moments. hum one extra one with her for me.