Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another blessing: a piano-playing wife

Sometimes, I am told to count my blessings.  It is a fun thing to do and I try.  But, I keep finding new blessings I forgot to count or something I have had for a while but didn't know about.  I have been trying to keep an eye on my mind, watching what ideas and images come up.  When I sat to meditate today, a simple tune, probably The Wild Horseman, came to mind.  Where did that come from?  I don't listen to the radio, I don't use an iPod and besides, tunes of that simplicity aren't usually part of the media.  It's my wife.  She is learning and re-learning the piano.  So, in this world of heavy metal and sad ballads, she sends me simple, elegant, time-tested tunes.  She sends them into my mind without my noticing. 

When I am on a walk and The Spinning Wheel starts playing (perfectly!) in my head, I recognize her handiwork.  I have a suspicion that old and tested elementary tunes of this sort grip the mind more deeply and completely.  Listening to Berlioz or Mahler puts complex, multi-instrument sounds into my ears and my brain either forgets about them or simplifies them down to a tune.  But the piano pieces are relatively direct tones and one instrument and I can and do grasp much of what is going on, without even being conscious of doing so.

I had no idea when we got the piano that I would be thankful for these basic pieces and her practice in my life, just a short time later.  Her parents paid for her initial lessons and she spent long hours working and re-working the tunes as a girl.  Now, decades later, her old skills and new resolve are enriching my brain.  Another blessing to add to my growing list.

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