Tag: music

The Larkus Ending

The first time i heard this music, i was very young.  Before school, certainly – probably between three and four.  i remember listening to it, not for the first time, in the darkened den. This journey in music always struck me into silence. Perhaps that is why my mother put it on.  Once that opening grabbed me, i let very little other sensation come in. For awhile, i felt things.  My pajamas had footies and was made of the softest cotton.  i felt safer in those than i did in a nightgown.  The couch held me gently, its fluffy cushion under my head.  My mother read by lamplight, having turned off the overheads.

In all likelihood, she was hoping that i would fall asleep, but when the entire symphony joined that singular melody, like a group of angels following the first sad one to comfort it, in a crescendo of glory, i lost any connection to my responsibilities or her expectations. In that darkened space, i laid on my back, and dissolved into the lilting music.

i soared.  By the time i had heard it three times, i became utterly convinced that this was written just for me, to lift me out of my life and take me sailing through the sky.  The sighing melody alternated between sadness and joy, the singular and the plural, echoing down to my fingertips and toes.

To this day, i hear the first notes of that music and i am as enthralled as a child again, floating on clouds and rising through the air. The crescendos and the moments when one or two instruments seemed to take to the winds in isolation left me thrilled. From repetition, i knew they would not be alone for long. The subsequent swelling of sound made me fill up to bursting with joy.  It gave me hope. Maybe the same would be true for me. Maybe, someday, i would not be lonely any more.

If i had known that the instrument i heard was a violin, i probably would have demanded lessons, despite listening to my older brother’s rather taxing abuse of the instrument.

As the last three beats of the song faded away, i sat up on the couch, stretching the fabric covering my feet and legs as i crossed them. “What is a Larkus?”  i chirped, “And why is it Ending?”

It took a second for my mother to pull herself out of the novel.  Then she looked at me dumbfounded for a moment.  “What the fuck are you talking about?” Her voice was deep but not unkind.

“This song.  You told me it was called The Larkus Ending.  What is a Larkus?  Why is it ending?  And why is it so happy about it?”

She stared at me for a second before she started to laugh, “Oh, my God you are retarded.  I told you it was called THE. LARK. ASCENDING. by Ralph Vaughan Williams.”

My shame at my perpetual stupidity quickly surrendered to more curiosity.  “What is a Lark?”

“A bird.”

“OOOOH.”  Suddenly i knew why i had been flying through the sky in my footie pajamas.  That was why the music freed me from the ground.  “Can we listen to it again?”

She sighed, but was still clearly entertained by my mistake, “Will you be quiet?”

Bouncing on the couch, “Yes!”  Bouncing some more, “I will!”

“Alright.”  Very slowly she marked her place in the book and then she got up from her chair and walked over to the record player. Before the first notes started again, I had gone back to laying on the couch, ready to lose myself in the music. “Seriously,” she spoke to herself more than me, “I ought to just put this on a reel to reel for you, so you can listen to the damned song on endless repeat.”

She eventually did. It was fabulous.

 The Lark Ascending was the first experience of what would be a love affair with music.  i can get drunk on harmony and melody, without the help of any other intoxicants.  Songs that have become good friends, ones to which i consistently turn when i am in need.

To this day, the Lark Ascending is a miracle in my life.  The other day at work, i was exhausted and frustrated.  i had lost the ability to pretend that i was anything other than on the edge of what i could take mentally and physically.  During my last break, i retreated to the comfortable chairs, put on headphones, and listened to the Lark Ascending at full volume, from beginning to end.  i miss the soft cotton footie pajamas, but i still soar when i hear that song.  It left me strengthened enough that i could get through the last stretch of my shift.

The tiny girl that still lives with me remains convinced that this particular sequence of notes was written just for her, so she could fly no matter how lonely and sad she felt.

three poems about rain

Here’s hoping that the snow is over for awhile… I am queuing up blogs and felt the energy of spring rains…

the rain pounded:

the rainbow:

Raindrops and music:

Dancing dreams…

original dancerTonight, I would love to go dancing.  I would put on my boots of power, thick tights (because it’s below zero outside), a nice skirt, a black blouse a friend gave me with a silky black shirt over top that has gold and cream designs around the neck and buttons.  All of which would be covered by a jacket and scarf until I get to where ever it is I would go.

My hair would be exactly as it is now – pulled back to the nape of my neck, but still waving and curling enough to be interesting.  Also, that way it would be more invulnerable to the pressure of a hat.  Now that I feel more comfortable in make up, I wouldn’t mind showing off my face-painting skills.

I long to laugh with abandon, to be drenched in music so loud my hearing is impaired for at least a couple of hours after leaving, to kick up my heels as best I can given the awkwardness, the lack of balance and the general graceless of my legs.  dance 2 cardMost of all, I want to feel such freedom and peace, that I won’t care about those impediments I just listed.  Tonight, I think I just might be able to manage burning bright without needing to crawl back into shyness as a reaction to over-exposure.

However, it is below zero outside, with a wind chill that feels like -20.  I am busted for the next few days.  And, most important of all, I’ve been having more problems walking and negotiating space today than I have in awhile. This afternoon, I had to move pottery out of a gallery that had closed for the winter and the effort left me in trembling pain – although, thank God, I didn’t drop any of the boxes taking them to the car or then taking them into the studio.

Nevertheless, it all adds up; I am being sensible even though it doesn’t feel as satisfying as my dreams of dancing.  I am staying here at home, playing music so loud that I expect the neighbors to complain.  The animals keep glaring at me, determined not to join in the dancing.  Every once in awhile I twirl and grab onto some piece of furniture before I go down.  Mostly, I am letting the restless desire pass through me while singing out my gratitude for its presence.  There have been many days when I did not have the heart to desire company, or dancing, or to be able to dream of risking that once outside in the world I would shine rather than fall.

working on my day off

Except for the one over the work table, the lights are off.  Given the orientation of the building, sunlight is of no help to me right now.  In this exact moment, i sit in a puddle of illumination.  When i inevitably wander upstairs to write, those lights will stay off as well – except for the one next to the couch that provides just enough brightness for me to see the lines onto which i scribble. This is not the type of day when i will sit at a desk and work on an aged computer with the letters worn off the keys. i can tell because the intrusion of technology involved in writing this blog entry exhausts me. Instead, the pad and paper will dominate my writing.  Of course, there must be throwing in between the words.  There are bowls to be made.

The music that is playing right now – The Lark Ascending – is not something i would play if i were expecting customers.  Nor are the other items on this particular playlist: Jacqueline Du Pres, David Hykes and The Harmonic Choir, and the Anonymous 4.  This is the music that soothes my soul; my listening feels like a ritual.  These are the melodies and harmonies of solitude. They open me up with the reminder of humanity caught in voice, instrument and crescendo.

doorNone of the flags or signs are out, except for the lonely “open” beside the closed entrance to the studio+showroom.  At least the door is unlocked.

As usual, the half a minute walk across the driveway occurred because of other people’s desires:  bisque another potter needs to pick up; a friend wants to be taught how to use a program on her computer; i have a commission that needs to be finished. Even so, the commission would not have been enough on its own.  Like most of my days off for the past two months, i want to be curled up in the house, under blanket, throwing myself into worlds of my own invention, writing until my hand cannot hold a pen any longer.  Today, with this nearly unbearable aching, sniffling weariness, i would have been even more likely to surrender ambition for rest.

And yet, do not mistake this for a complaint. This is my joy.  i remind myself, as i gaze about the mess and chaos, this is what i love most. Perhaps it is the music floating about me, or the softness lent by the lack of light, but i am at peace and aligned within these four walls like i am nowhere else. There is a different energy within these walls when i am alone; bliss comes easier, swells within me faster, until i overflow.