Last week I tucked the bedded garlic under a beautiful fluffy russet comforter of mulch, a mix of the lightweight little leaves from the Japanese maple tree by the house (first layer) and pine needles from the tree down by the street. Those are very long, so their layer knits together and holds the lightweight leaves in place. I managed that just before the huge soaking rain hit, so I could ruffle my hands in it and distribute it evenly before the drenching tamped it down. By now the garlic is very happy, poking green fingers up into the light, and it’s making little staccato comments against a perfect background color.
As usual we went to the ocean this afternoon and watched a very lively light show. No swells, just a whole lot of little sharp ripples under bright sunlight making an endless cascade of twinkles. Made me want to dance.
Home, then clearing the spent beds of pepper and lettuce, planting new starts of lettuce and chard in the wine barrels. I entertain myself by the geometry: for six plants it’s one in the center, and five in a star-circle. For twelve, two in the center and two concentric star-circles. They’re little now, so their dance patterns are clear. Later they’ll be an energetic mosh pit.
While napping after dinner, I got an earworm of one of the Bach pieces I’ve been earnestly recovering from my dim past. It’s been fascinating observing myself discovering a new intentional way of practice, and I don’t have any pressure on me so I can be patient and relentless. By now of course I know this piece note for note, but in the earworm version it suddenly became a lilting dance. When I got up I went out to the studio and let Bach lead me onto the dance floor. Normally my work time is in the morning, but this was in darkness and after some wine. My mental switch flipped and my hands followed.
When I was a teen I was gifted and anxious, a good technician but not a musician. As an adult composer, I learned to surrender to the will of the music that was flowing through me, but I wasn’t often manifesting it with the technique I first learned—most scores were layered electronic tracks assembled on the computer, improvised like a jazz soloist one voice at a time. Tonight the composer-mind took over and now the fingers have the chops to get on the field and run. It left me breathless.
I thank the garlic, I thank the ocean, I thank J. S. Bach, and I thank the generous family who gifted me with their old used piano, the first one I have had since I said goodbye to my Steinway upright in 1999. I’m back in the dance.