Oddments

In search of story


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January 22.20

The watering hole. If you can disregard the feeling of cold mud up to your belly, you can see the attraction: an invigorating dip in melted ice and the latest gossip. What’s the word, hummingbird? What’s the tale, nightingale? (Who can forget the immortal lyrics in “Bye, Bye, Birdie”?)

I have a morning routine which involves turning on the computer as I stumble along the well-worn path from bedroom to coffeepot. When I return, hot coffee and cold cereal in hand, I click into my watering hole. Email. Blog. Then I’m fortified for the news and weather.

Yesterday was appallingly different. I settled in with cold cereal and hot coffee, yes, but the computer screen was all wrong: no Internet! Gasp!

Dear reader, can you imagine? I was without Internet all day yesterday, and I do not have television. I felt as though the entire planet had dropped away from me.

I remember life without the Internet. I even remember life without television. Back then I saw the people that mattered — friends and family — every day. Now I meet them on the Internet. I watched the birds in their mucky happy hour, and I missed my watering hole dreadfully.

 


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January 18.20

Beware the gardener’s itch

to dig in firma terra

lest you be pruned and potted

along with the schefflera.

The gardener cannot help it,

her nails are far too clean,

so kitchen turns to hothouse,

mid-winter turns to green.

 

With more thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

and to indoor/outdoor gardener D.J. Berg

for this testimonial to gardeners’ winter fever.

 


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January 17.20

You are right, dear reader: you have seen this little sighing bird before. In my last post.

He has been with me in a singular way. Allow me to take you back to the late 1940s, when I was in kindergarten and my mother was lobbying the highly-respected (read: tyrannical) piano teacher in our area, who didn’t take students before they could read. I was not consulted.

Mom won. I couldn’t read but I started lessons, and I spent the next several years in tearful plea to be allowed to quit. I hated my lessons and I hated practicing. Mom said I could quit after ten years. I remember the moment because one remembers when one’s blood runs cold.

At that ten-year mark everything changed because I had my first Liszt étude: Gnomenreigen. It was the beginning of my suspicion that Liszt had fifteen fingers. Two years later, my next Liszt étude: Un Sospiro, The Sigh. I played it well. Not brilliantly, but well.

I had two dreams as a pianist: to play the original Rhapsody in Blue and to play La Campanella, The Bells, another Liszt étude. I never accomplished the first. I could only approximate the second. Alas.

But I think about the eloquence of those études. A sigh. The bells. They are there in those magical acrobatics. And I marvel at the transcendent power of a grey image, a D flat, and, yes, a tyrannical piano teacher.