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Thursday, 13 March 2008

Wednesday Concerto

By Sharon McKinney

My orchestration of today:

I tap my baton on the top of my day planner and scan down to feel the pace of the piece. It is well balanced and I like the way the arrangement flows.

As I raise my hands to begin, I enjoy that moment of anticipation before the opening notes sound. Imagine the overture as the perking of coffee with its rhythmic and aromatic tempo accented by the twittering of songbirds at the feeder outside the window. The day waits eagerly for the burst of activity as the orchestra opens its performance.

First is the clear single shrill cry of a seagull gliding over the beach signaling a boisterous movement featuring the big, barking sounds of both dogs and sea lions. It is a kind of duet of dueling barks, punctuated by the occasional splash of the ball landing in one of the puddles brought on by the weeks of daily rain.

Under these sounds is the drone of running feet, and the ebb and flow of the ocean waves. A momentary pause for rest and reflection brings a tangy salt spray breeze from the deep blue ocean ruffled with white caps. The grace notes that accent this passage are a bell buoy and a foghorn.

More musical water sounds follow. This time the steady waterfall rumble of the shower, my voice adding to the fun with an old show tune, and ending with percussion sounds; the opening and closing of drawers and doors as I prepare for movements to come.

Next is a rondo featuring three voices, a reed, a woodwind, and a string. It would look like a meeting between people discussing ways to work together. A preliminary fact finding complete with reaching out to each other for a mutual goal-type movement featuring the interplay of voices.

This movement picks up speed as the voices mix and the tempo becomes comfortable and familiar. The rondo ends with a crescendo of handshakes and smiles of agreement - needs found and met in a cooperative effort. Ah, a sigh of gratitude for another opportunity to contribute to my community.

On to a short, high-pitched, fast-moving interlude featuring staccato bursts of young voices as I move to the first grade portion of the piece. Lots of vigorous learning excitement in this classroom. It is a rhythm that is contagious, makes for moving rapidly and reaching out with grand dramatic gestures.

It is a short but brisk and energizing portion of the piece. The young voices and their thoughtful curious questions about how life works provide a provocative passage. My lap provides a style change in the music, a place for eye contact and breathing together, the contrapuntal quality of giving and receiving trust and nurture. The young tune and the older harmony blending together in mutual affection.

Next, a solemn classical movement with its rich expressive tones, restrained and deliberately paced. It is the visit to my elderly Mother in her care home. She holds the deep red rose I brought and slowly inhales its fragrance with a thankful smile.

This part of the concerto calls for respectful attention to understand the depth of each voice. Quiet thoughtful listening is required to hear each nuance and to reflect on the significance of the notes. I hear the shuffling feet, the thump of a walker, the triumphant whir of wheel chairs and the hurrying pace of the care givers with their smiles and love pats for the residents. It is a requiem for youth and a tribute to the longevity of our elders.

Next, an interesting change of pace as I register at the blood bank. It is an upbeat piece of the composition. There are greetings and appreciation for my gift. As I scan the list of questions, I hear the sounds of easy conversation punctuated by a chair pushed back on the shiny waxed floor, and people coming in and out for the ritual giving of the life-saving pledge to the desperate.

I hear a melody of hope and relief. It is an easy passage for me, and one that brings great satisfaction as I count the number of pints I have left here for others to use.

Time for a serenade. A lyrical respite with a cool drink and a sugar cookie, a time to relax and allow the sounds of the day to integrate and penetrate into my soul.

Then a bouncy concluding passage; a happy outpouring of trills, bells, harps, smiles and hugs, characterizing a meeting with women friends for dinner and the enjoyment of affection and camaraderie. The clink of fork against china plate, the fragrance of favorite foods shared, the easy laughter of old friends, the sudden higher pitched exclamations of excitement at future plans, and a retelling of a funny story about us all.

A teasing slice of the violin enters now and then as the whole movement reflects the joy of safe companionship and mutual history. The last note is the group chanting ohm, the bonding new age sound that creates a shared vibrating resonance.

Back at the beginning place, I enjoy the lively jig and accompanying yelps of welcome from my dogs that have waited all day for my return. As I run my hands over the silky ears, I take a deep breath and relive my day from sun up to sun down. The opus ends in silent echoes of memory, a savoring of the day and appreciation for having composed and orchestrated every part of it. The fusion of mind, body, and spirit shared with others in a way that only I can, never as a solo, but as part of a combination of voices, tempos, chords, and styles.

I put down the baton after the day review with a feeling of having spent a harmonious day, of creating a spiritual composition, and drift into the soft clouds of smiling sleep.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post



I enjoyed the music of your day. You made me hear the orchestra and all of the instruments.

Because I am a "Morning person" I especially loved the overture with the sea gulls and the dogs and the coffee perking....

Your piece was beautifully written and a pleasure to "listen to."

I love your analogies.

Thank you for this view. :)

Shay! What a lovely essay...it's so, YOU! Please share it at CJ? XO KayR

I second what Kay R. says about sharing with CJ. You are a very gifted artist with words, dear Shay. Keep those stories coming. Recycle some of those wonderful essays you have done for your local newspaper and senior center.

I agree with all of the above comments. I think the way you developed the mataphor of the natural sounds, activities resembling a concerto. Very nifty.
I loved your images: "teasing slice of violin" and "drift into the soft clouds of smiling sleep." There were many other I enjoyed.
A wonderful piece of writing.

I agree with everyone else's comments...I think you're on the border between prose and poetry in this piece. It reminded me of Mary Oliver's poetry, which would be a gift to yourself if you don't already know it.

I agree with everyone else's comments...I think you're on the border between prose and poetry in this piece. It reminded me of Mary Oliver's poetry, which would be a gift to yourself if you don't already know it.

Sharon, I love the way you turned an ordinary day into a symphony. It is beautifully written and only a musician could write this lyrical prose.

Really enjoyed this. I bet you could make a magnicent opus even out of a bad day.

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