Sunday, December 16, 2012
I was driving home along a winding coastal road on Monday night. It was nine oclock, but dusk has barely begun. (That's how it is in Dunedin's December.) I noticed a largish bird on the road, about the size of a shag. Instead of taking flight, as I'd expected, it turned directly towards me with its feet planted, raised its head and chest and flapped its wings back and forth at my oncoming vehicle. It was an astonishing and crazy confrontation. Car versus bird. I planted my foot on the brake, drew breath, and then saw a small baby, all fluff, scuttling past between us. Saved.
The local city choir generously opened its ranks to all-comers for a performance of the Messiah last week. I had attended three practices prior to the grand sing, bumbling my way through complex and unfamiliar sheets of scored music. Some of the established choir faced us at the performance, while we, the add-ons, sat in the front forward-facing seats, with other choir members scattered among us for vocal support. Delightfully in the thick of it, I was able to watch close up as some of older men in the choir seats, when not called on to sing, surrendered themselves to the music. Their eyes were closed, and they appeared to be deeply transported. The music was glorious, but this too was a glimpse into something sublime.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
And so to what I learnt on 24/11/12: cadenza is not a dance. It is what happens when the orchestra dies away, leaving space for an unstructured, often improvised solo performance. (Not even a regular pulse says wikipedia.)
A space there. I'm leaving room for how much I like that. I love both bits - first the thought of what discipline and generosity is called out from those players who lower their bows. Second, the unconstrained joyous outpouring of the one musician, caught in a creative updraft. Such good things to aim for, it seems to me. The capacity to stop; to quieten and allow. And also the courage to soar, and give myself over to the invitation. (Perhaps dance does belong in the definition listings...)
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Watching my fingers at work on Saturday I had a realisation. I, pmm, am, actually, slowing down.
I have a stone in front of me as I write, with the word 'pace' scrawled as neatly as I could manage, in indelible pen. (It's been pointed out to me that same spelling reads (phoneticially) parchay - peace.) The stone has been sitting there for at least a year, from the time I first recognised that this was my key to living well. 2012 became the year of saying no. No quaker meetings. No blog. (Both had been joys). I would think about and be intentional in response to any invitation that wasn't part of my required life package.
Who knows how or why, but I'm starting to get it. And funnily enough, it feels like it's taking on life from down there, at the end of my arms. These marvellous bits of me that connect me to the world are easily recalled to calm. There's hope for the rest of me.
Monday, August 15, 2011
A few months before she died, my sister wrote in her journal about her 'mischievous' body. She was, until that time, very firmly ensconced in it, and it had served her well. She was a deliciously noisy presence, and had a way of winning over most people who entered her life with her generous and honest ebullience. Her body was her trusty vehicle, always, until inexplicably at 55, it started playing up. Serious mischief.
I'm thinking about this because my body is reminding me of its independent status – I hesitate to call the alteration mischievous; I prefer to think of it that the score is subtly altered, and for reasons beyond my ken or control, new notes are sounding. I’m reminded that this multi-trillion celled organism (thank you Raymond) truly is a miracle. It is me and it is not me. With all the focused will in the world, I’m unable to direct the orchestra.
I’m not talking cacophony here, just some bum notes… but I’m interested to note and name some of my responses. First reaction: mad with my body. Grrrowlll. How dare you! Then, on the weekend, tenderness. A desire to talk softly to her. To take her in my arms and treat her with loving kindness. Dissonance is teaching me some things.