Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

day 23 of Thanksgiving month: soundtracks

via pixabay

via pixabay

The other day I wrote about how much I love music, how it’s one of my everyday gratitudes. Which set me to thinking: what would my life’s soundtrack be? What would I like to exit to?

You have to realise: I picked out the music to take w/ me to the birthing centre to have my first son… :) It had to be just soooo. (In case you’re wondering? I took Ralph Vaughn Williams, among others.)

I filled my suitcase with music when my father brought me home to college. It was more important to me to get the music right for my wedding than the dress (surely an aberration for most brides?). I’ve already told my sons what I want them to play at my memorial, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere.

So the soundtrack of my life is a kind of wonderful thing to think about. And it’s a bit of a gratitude thing, as well: gratitude that my folks paid for years of piano lessons. Gratitude that my mother danced to Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong, and show tunes with me when I was a little girl. Gratitude that both of my sons have shared their musics with me for most of their lives.

What would your life’s soundtrack include? How would you orchestrate the low places? The peaks, the valleys, the dark spaces and the bright? Your losses, your gifts…? I’m thinking… Pachelbel, for sure. Bach, too. A little Vivaldi, and the classics are represented. They do for both highs & lows. The dark places? Tracy Chapman, Bruce Springsteen, classic jazz (so many old blues players, too). I want a LOT of holiday music — reminding me of the years ticking away like a too-quick clock.

Think about it. What songs do you want to hear behind the ribbon of your life?

day 22 of Thanksgiving month: the kindness of strangers

the author's

the author’s

Today’s gratitude is slightly abashed. I’m grateful for kindness — even my own, actually. And abashed that it’s noticed so…noticeably…? Because if just joking w/ the Starbuck’s barista, and teasing her about breathing, nets me a heartfelt hand-hold and a free espresso shot, there’s something wrong w/ the world.

Which I guess I knew.

So here’s the deal: her happy response to my normal goofiness made me feel wonderful. To be able to make a stranger smile… How fun is that? When all I did was make fun of the long line, offer to make horrible faces for at the barista so the others would think I was a witch, to give her time to catch her breath. It was a loooonng  line, and probably not the first of the morning. Just take a moment in the looooong line to collect herself.

She began to laugh a big laugh, then reached for my hand and asked what I wanted. She wrote something on the red holiday cup, said it would do for my name, and said the shot’s free; you made me laugh AND smile!

When did the kindness of strangers become what gets us through our long days? When did we stop looking at — really seeing — each other? How often do we lose sight of our own humanity in busy everyday?

This is my gratitude today: that I was there for someone, stranger or not, to shoulder part of the day. That I’m prone to being (irredeemably!) goofy, even with strangers. And that one person (and her deep goofiness) can make a difference, however small.

You can, too. Try it.

day 21 of Thanksgiving month

via Google

via Google

Today a very simple gratitude, but profound. Music. That ineffable language writers have tried to capture for centuries. Working to replicate its nuance, the way it creates dancing in the bones, melancholy in the heart.

I’m crazy about music. A song can play, and I’m immediately years in the past…possibly even a small child. Singing lullabies to my grandson, I am also sitting in my great-grandmother’s lap, as my grandmother braids her long white hair, listening: Hush little baby, don’t you cry…Daddy’s gonna be back by & by… It’s an eerie feeling, to be the preschooler and the grandmother, both listening in the past and singing in the present.

Today I moved music files from one computer to another, marveling at how much music I’ve managed to accumulate. Of course, the old LPs are long gone — the kids (now grown men) cashed them in when we passed the last old box on to them. But there are still vestiges of an earlier, pre-kids me: old folk music, old rock’n’roll. The Bach I played on the piano, and still love passionately. There are many many female vocalists, and a lot of smooth jazz. And waaay too much holiday music!

A few years ago my younger son gave me Spotify for Christmas — an entire year. At the time I thought it a profligate (and ???) gift. But I’ve come to love the freedom of exploring an artist, and having the music available everywhere. Car, work, desk, traveling. I’ve renewed it twice since.

It’s definitely an everyday gratitude — something that is present in most hours of my day. I sing to my dogs, even! I recommend it: a hearty dose of music, whatever you like. It’s pretty much free, if you sing it yourself. :)

day #20 of Thanksgiving month

image It’s an older picture, but still appropriate for today’s post. Because here’s my gratitude today: my grandson recognizes me!

Before you think I’ve totally lost my marbles, let me explain. My grandson is only 18 months old next week. I haven’t seen him f2f for the past 4 months. And despite great love on my part, I’m under no delusions as to the memory of babies. Each day for a little one is full of new experiences. New learning. New ‘data.’ Why would he remember me?

So when we FaceTimed the other day, & Trin did the head waggle that we always did together (almost from the moment he could hold up his beautiful head), my heart exploded. Think: fireworks! Incandescence! GREAT gratitude. I had to remind myself to breathe… And then ask his father — does he do this for all FaceTime?

And no, his father assured me; he does not. It’s a Trin & GG kind of thing. But still — it’s also an everyday kind of thing. Most grandchildren do learn to recognize their grandmothers. It just takes more time together, I thought, than Trin & I have had. Still, if love & thought count, there is not a day I don’t think of that boy. Think of him running — he was still learning to walk when I took this picture. Think of him identifying pictures in his books with his daddy, my elder son. Think of him making goofy faces at me on FaceTime that I’m quite happy to make back to him.

I have nooo pride (or shame!) when it comes to playing w/ my grandson.

Who does?? And what does it matter if I look like a ditzy blonde (something I’m usually not at all fond of resembling) when I make faces and wiggle my head back & forth like a Valley Girl? Trin loves it, and that’s all that matters.

Today, my heart is very happy. Despite 4 months and hundreds of miles, my grandson remembers me! And is happy to see me. What can possibly more enchanting than that?

 

Previous Posts

day 23 of Thanksgiving month: soundtracks
The other day I wrote about how much I love music, how it's one of my everyday gratitudes. Which set me to thinking: what would my life's soundtrack be? What would I like to exit to? You have to realise: I pick

posted 6:07:08pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

day 22 of Thanksgiving month: the kindness of strangers
Today's gratitude is slightly abashed. I'm grateful for kindness -- even my own, actually. And abashed that it's noticed so...noticeably...? Because if just joking w/ the Starbuck's barista, and teasing her about

posted 10:42:50pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

day 21 of Thanksgiving month
Today a very simple gratitude, but profound. Music. That ineffable language writers have tried to capture for centuries. Working to replicate its nuance, the way it creates dancing in the bones, melancholy in the he

posted 9:01:39pm Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

day #20 of Thanksgiving month
 It's an older picture, but still appropriate for today's post. Because here's my gratitude today: my grandson recognizes me! Before you think I've totally lost my marbles, let me explain. My grandson is only 18 months old next week. I haven't seen him f2f for the past 4 months. And despite grea

posted 7:04:57pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

day #17 of Thanksgiving: drive, she said
Americans take our ability to drive ourselves wherever for granted. I'm probably the only person I know who didn't drive until in my 20s. Yes, I 'learned' to drive. Took the test at 16 (the legal age when I was

posted 5:32:53pm Nov. 17, 2014 | read full post »


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