turning over a dusty leaf

See that?

I have one of those in my music room. It’s not quite that dusty, nor is it that old. That one up there is a grand. Mine is a studio upright.

A dusty studio upright.

Oh, and it’s out of tune too.

I honestly don’t know what I’ve been waiting for. Maybe for me to feel better, which may or may not ever occur. Maybe for a billboard in the sky that says “OK, it’s time to start playing again.”

When I was in college I worked in the listening lab at the library. Most of the recordings were, you guessed it, vinyl. We had a few cassettes, but mostly…vinyl. Someone would come to the counter and request a recording, and we would give them headphones, assign a cubby, and spin the records. Kind of like a geeky DJ.

The supervisor of the listening library was a wonderful woman named Myra. Her husband was an education professor, and they owned a beautiful house and vineyard in the valley. At the end of the school year, she invited all of the listening lab employees to her home for a cookout and multi-level croquet match. As we were touring the house, there, in her living room, was…a dusty piano. “Who plays?”, I asked. “No one”, she replied. “Karl used to, has a music degree from Cincinnati Conservatory, actually. But he hasn’t played since college.” Karl was nearing retirement age at this time, so that piano had been dusty far longer than mine. I remember thinking to myself, “I’ll NEVER do that!”

Only I did.

Last week the piano tuner called to see if I needed him to come tune the dusty piano. My first inclination was to say, “Heck no, I don’t play it.” But I thought about it before I said anything.

And the tuner is coming Monday, which means I have to dust the piano. And sweep up the dust monkeys.

No, I didn’t see the billboard in the sky. What I did see was my looming birthday, and the fact that I’m running out of time to play that recital I always wanted to play. All by myself. My senior recital in college was a dual recital with Crissy the weird flautist. Gosh, I miss Crissy. She was way too much fun.

But that’s another story for another day.

So, tonight, I’m goofing around on the computer when I should be doing something constructive, and I decide to look up my old piano professor. I found him, too. On iTunes. He isn’t playing, but the entire album is of his compositions. He was always a gifted composer, more so than a pianist, although he was an excellent performer as well. For a man small in stature, he could play the hell out of a piano. He hit one of the upper treble keys on his piano so hard it broke the string. That’s power. He likes to travel, and his compositions reflect his experiences in some exotic locations. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

FYI, track 13 was written after 9/11. He sent me the sheet music for it, because I asked him nicely. I’ve played at it, and I understand it, which is half the battle. It will be in my recital.

The last day of girls gone hillbilly, Alecto and CG asked me what my dreams were. I couldn’t think of any, at least not any that I could make them understand. Except this one. To play again. It’s up to me.

And it’s time.

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3 responses to “turning over a dusty leaf

  1. a quiet hooray to you.

  2. lean forward toward the keys, blow a bit of dust away and whisper ‘hello’.

  3. I remember the summers with you and listening to you play and saying to myself if only I could do that. You are so talented and you can do it again because I know you! Just dust it off and when it is tuned sit down and play your heart out! I know the person that I spent those precious summers with has the heart and definitely the talent to just sit and play and pour you heart out on those keys. Love ya!

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