Ear Worms

For as long as I can remember, I have loved music, the communal singing in church and school.  Although there wasn’t a lot of money for music in the budget, there were radio concerts and even a few records.  I memorized the songs from The Sound of Music record word for word.  My humming around the house drove my family to distraction (apparently incessant humming was a genetic trait inherited from a paternal great-grandmother).

When the salesman showed up at the door, I begged my parents for an accordion and lessons.  I still have it today.  The accordion was red and pearl, a beautiful instrument, but heavy.  Still we lugged it into music school and logged about five years of music lessons before high school made that instrument seem very uncool.   It would be years before I would return to making music.

In my mid-thirties,  looking for something to do one dreary Sunday afternoon, I decided to tinker with a keyboard that was lying around the house.  This led to more music lessons, and at one point even meant participating in a recital with fellow (ten-year-old or younger) students.  After years at the piano keyboard, the notes and tones have become as familiar as the keys on a typewriter in my hands, which led to improvisation and playing by ear.  Without written notes as intermediaries, it’s a soul music that calls out emotions and a deep longing.

When an acquaintance was looking for someone to join her in recorder practice, it provided a perfect opportunity to learn another instrument.  A much lighter one!  After squeaking through weeks of getting notes right, it’s been really enjoyable and calming to take out the songbook and just play the simple soprano notes.  There’s still much to learn – counting properly is an essential consideration when playing with more than one musician.  This is not the time to march to one’s own drum!

Music will also be part of a campout with a bunch of kids this summer, and I’m already looking forward to campfire songfests.  My grandchildren learned this simple French lullaby recently, and it seems a perfect song to hopefully lull campers to sleep.  In the meantime, it seems to have lodged itself in my brain, so there’s nothing for it but to properly learn the French lyrics and get it right.

Here’s to bonhomie, and music through all our days!




A Breath of Fresh Air







Sometimes I think another word for Spring could be Hope.  After months of bare branches and dormant plants, new life awakes.  Life, just biding its time until the sun’s warmth stirs it up.

Spring stirs in our blood too, a distant remembering of youth and adventure.  A sense of potential in the warming days impels us to unfold ourselves, like the seedlings in the soil, and to go exploring the outdoors again.    Day stretches itself out languidly in both directions, and invites us to bask in its extended light.

When we were children, spring and summer on the farm invited new daring as our play moved outside.  We spent hours on a steel bar stretched across two trees, hanging there like monkeys, effortlessly pulling ourselves up on it, risking a fall by walking across it, sharing sisterly confidences.  I can still feel the rough surface of the steel bar on my hands.

The pond, fringed by bulrushes, had its own murky fascination, and later the wild berries along the fence lines could be plucked with stained fingers and savoured.  The hayloft in the barn, whether empty or piled high with hay or straw, invited all kinds of forts and feats.  We were warned often to watch out for the holes in the barn floor, but never actually forbidden from roaming around in it.

These days spring means that I lift my face to the lake breeze while tracking across the sand on the shore, take a walk in the woods before the mosquitoes stake their summer claims.   Trilliums bloom between last year’s fallen leaves.  Even before that, against protected southern walls, green spikes of garden daffodils tentatively reach out.  Like our toe in the bathwater, they cautiously test their environment.  Mother Nature can be deceptive, and days of warm weather entice blossoms sometimes, only to cut them short with frost.  Tonight, the snow is flying in large flakes after several days of spring teasing.

In the greenhouse seedlings hold promise, waiting to be presented like debutantes at a spring ball.  I am grateful to be the recipient of my gardener’s green thumb talent, and look forward to appreciating the beauty of a bouquet that is presented all season long.

i thank You God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

. . .

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

ee cummings