Music has always been a part of my life though I'm not particularly gifted. Good, enough to do auditions on piano in high school and play in the youth symphony, but not near good enough to make any kind of career of it. That was fine with me, my interests being more science and engineering than the arts.
But the first thing I bought when I started making adult money was not a sports car, it was a Baldwin Baby Grand. But I only played for friends over for food and fun.Yet I still loved it. Then I got married, and the music that was to be my life went soundless. He sold the piano; I came home one day to find my beloved Baby Grand being loaded on the back of some ramshackle farmers truck, to pay off some debt he'd incurred, sold for 1/10th of what I paid for it. After that day there was nothing left in me that felt like making any more music. So I didn't play. For 15 years. Long after he was gone.
Then I put my foot back into the water again. A keyboard, a clarinet. Then something I had never played. Three years ago I got a violin. As far as the violin was concerned, I had the musical gift of a dyslexic tree sloth, but I tried. My fingers were a bit stiff and the some of the notes sounded like someone squeezing a cat, but the music was still in me.
Oh, please tell me you're going to just set fire to it.
The first step is always the hardest. Trying something new. Embracing something long forgotten that at one time you loved. Embracing something you've never done but wanted to. Tiny leaps upward propelled by longing and only held back by the gravity of timidity.
It's not much different than taking that first solo in an airplane. . You have been given the tools, you have the capabilities. But it's the fear of the what you don't know that holds you back, while upward a huge unknown, the sky, beacons. You've learned through your experience, through your lessons, that the sky is sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious, sometimes frightening, never the same two days in a row, almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in it's quiet, and almost divine in it's vastness. And you're just a little afraid of it at this point.---But it calls to you, and you know you are going to go forward. It's like that first solo. Suddenly you know. It's time.
So you gingerly taxi away from your instructor, who is probably as nervous as you are, and you turn your eyes upward, and drink the air and breath the light and like a eagle on the wind you climb the sky and make that leap. And the beauty and the vastness of what's out there envelopes you and the exhilaration of all that awaits takes your breath away. And life is suddenly fuller. So even though I got the "oh, is this for your child?" I did it. I got my first violin at age forty (mumble mumble).
It was a small family run business that specialised in renting instruments to students with the option to purchase. Quite a ways west of Indianapolis, and WAY away from where I lived, I thought at first I had missed it, but there it was. A small barn like building next to a beautiful old farm house. I pull up. You would not know it was a business but for the small sign out front.
Taking an admiring glance of the quiet stillness in which these folks, a husband and wife, have built a thriving little business, I entered the store. The two of them, high school sweethearts from this area, have taken a love of music and built it into something that allowed them to live out here and raise their kids in a small, quiet town. They rent to school kids across the country, and sell used, new and beautifully restored classics across the country.
I walked in and the smells and the polish of the wood just pulled me in, the sounds of Winter by Vivaldi playing in the background, like a siren song.
So, after holding and feeling and touching, I picked one. I had never played. I left, happily clutching the case and the name of a local teacher, the echo of the music from the store trailing like a contrail in the twilight sky.
As I've said on here before, one is never to old to learn. One is never too ingrained in their habits to take up the instrument that for them, will be the perfect blend of the joyous with the sublime, hands stroking a thing of beauty as it resonates with the sound of their dreams, the lingering notes of their need. I have no great musical talent, and it might be a pipe dream that I learn to play this thing well halfway through my life, but I'm not going to ignore a dormant desire because I feel that I'm too fixed in the routine of my life. So, be it an instrument, learning to shoot, or simply learning to craft somethings with your hands, try it. And may the music of your longings fill up those quiet spaces within, as you curl up between the notes and breathe deep the dreams that are in all of us.
I'll never be 20 again. You can't make the years rewind like a tape. The Roman Poet Ovid said "All things change, nothing is extinguished, everything flows onward". Yet my music will pull me onward, pull me forward, calming me, soothing my mind, giving it rest, becoming the soundtrack of my life.
If could have put some of my aerial adventures to music, what a song it would have been. Flying can be as mathematical precise as Bach, as fluid as Chopin and as restful as Brahmns. I've had landings that were as lyrical as Vivaldi and I've had some that should have been set to the theme from Loony Tunes.---Maybe that's why I love music as much as I love flying.
Music induces in me a sense of the infinite and the contemplation of that which is unseen. Music and flying are both wonder, or can be. The same visceral connection between the soul and what elevates it to the heavens. Both strike in some people the same chord, the same spark that is embedded in some souls. Something that, in certain individuals, is simply part of our most basic and natural inability to live with the gravity of silence.
Tonight I don't have my violin, for which the neighbor's are likely glad. or any other instrument. But I've got some YoYoMa plays Vivaldi on a tape. Maybe for tonight, I'll crack open the windows and let the music out.