Sunday, March 28, 2010

When Clouds Were Masterpieces...

Suggested Listening: Chopin Piano Concerto 1 2nd movement...listen to all 3 movements if you have time.


My backpack hits the tiled floor with a thud and I wearily drop into a chair. The sound of an unknown violinist drifts up the stairwell from a distant practice room. Although I know I should be reaching for my Nursing Folder there is a moment of hesitation. In quietness I turn to survey the trees, soaring bird and cumulus clouds visible through the wall sized window. Without so much as a word of warning, my mind, so often consumed with swirling thoughts of LRC assignments, random medical terminology and case studies, hoists anchor and sails for distant shores. Vivid memories, like old friends, stop by just to remind me they would not like to be forgotten.

In the olden days of yesteryear there were many happy days spent in an era now commonly called the “Home-schooling Years”. Those were simpler days. I recall them with fondness and a hint of wistfulness. How distinctly I recall reading Wordsworth aloud to my dog in the shade of some great tree. Then there was the time I was working on Algebra to the music of Fritz Kreisler and noticed the greenness of the oak leaves against the blueness of the sky. These memories survive in such a vivid form I still almost smell, hear and feel them. I remember sitting cross-legged in front of the stereo and vigorously conducting the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro.
I remember being the "Cloud-Watcher". I loved to study clouds and make impromptu, impassioned speeches on how “every cloud is a masterpiece, never to be reproduced!” It seemed a pity so many people walked about looking down. They missed the exquisite architecture of thunderclouds, the sun-rays gilding their edges and the indescribable hue they turned at twilight. It was a soapbox of mine.

Whether wandering the fields, sitting in my favorite tree or at my school desk, my One Hundred and One Famous Poems book was often my companion. Poetry’s ability to express the deepest, most profound thoughts and feelings imagined fascinated me. Sometimes I was not always sure of its meaning, but the sheer beauty of the words still held me. Often I’d repeat a line or two until the meaning came to me.

True worth is in being, not seeming, ---
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good—not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness
And nothing so royal as truth...
~ Alice Cary

Aostrophe to the Ocean
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar...
~ George Gordon Byron

There are countless others such as the weighty lengths of “The Present Crisis”, “The Day Is Done “ by Longfellow, “If” by Kipling. Then there is “The Daffodils” by Wordsworth (aforementioned piece read to attentively listening puppy dog).

In those homeschooling days I felt our local NPR classical music announcers were my friends. "This is Allan Ellstrom with the afternoon concert..." This unknown yet known friend told me the time, the weather and the history behind Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. There was much music during those days. I studied to Bach and Handel in the mornings, faithfully practiced piano an hour a day and played in a Piano Trio with some homeschooling friends.
These homeschooling buddies and I would have very fun, spirited discussions regarding music. They continually sought to win me over to Modern music with all its screaching dissonance. I stalwartly defended the grand ole masters. Once Josh worked on me long and hard to listen to Respighi's "Pines of Rome". I'd have none of it. Time does bring changes though. I just recently listened to the Pines of Rome. Its not all that bad after all.

I miss baking bread every week, taking off for bike rides whenever I wish and evenings of reading stories aloud. I miss tending to our small garden, taking extended road trips, exploring historic sites and old libraries. I miss lunch with Paul Harvey. I miss planting Daffodils and being home to see the first blossom.
I miss the slower, simpler life.

Times are different now, but clouds are still masterpieces.


Marjorie said...

Awww... what beautiful memories! And how (I can't think of the word)ly written!!! I feel as if I could just step into that world. I don't have the second movement so I listened to the first movement. And about Respighi... he has some nicer stuff, (I love his bird suite). Thanks for sharing and taking me back to yesteryear, if only for a moment...

Laurel said...

Heather, I can relate! I remember the years of music lessons, freedom, climbing trees, picking berries, running through fields, the "homeschooling years"... God gave me such a blessed childhood!

Christy Joy said...

Aaah - lunches with Paul Harvey were the best!

I'm not sure why but all of the sudden my google reader realized that it hadn't been faithfully alerting me to your blog posts! I have about 20 waiting to be read :)