new shoes for new places
by pieces of moments
I had to do it today. I had to say farewell to my gray Chucks and get new ones (cream colored for spring, in case you were curious). It’s always a sad day when I have worn them beyond reasonable limits. I love the way Chucks look after they have been beat up a bit and I hate the way they look all new and shiny and bright. Where’s the character in that? I mean, just think of all the experiences for which your shoes enable you to be there to create the memories. I know, I know, I get oddly sentimental about things like this…much like how as a little kid I actually got tears in my eyes as my parents got ride of the first car I ever knew and got a new one. Physical things present at ephemeral life events of importance have always made me overly sentimental, which is why when I travel I almost always buy jewelry – a physical token of the invisible memories – a way to trick time and carry those experiences with me in some real way.
Change comes at all levels and all times, and sometimes you get the choice (like choosing to get ride of old beloved Chucks) and sometimes you don’t. My life is changing a lot right now. I am losing my job at From the Top due to grant cuts connected with this dingy economy. It has been a phenomenal few years. I grew up in that job, going from being invited to be an intern, to being invited to stay as a full-fledged employee. I can’t complain about a thing and I feel very blessed to be able to even write those words. So, come June (perhaps sooner) I will be doing something else somewhere else (perhaps you will hire me?). Don’t worry, you will still find me here – some things never change. All told, I am pretty excited about what the future can be for me. I’ll keep you posted.
Losing something beyond your control makes you stop and assess what’s really important to you – what gives you stability and a reason to get up day after day. You discover new (and perhaps surprising) corners of desires in your heart and honestly they are a joy to discover. It’s like going exploring in a mansion and discovering new rooms as you shine a light into dark corners that you just didn’t have time to explore in the past. I have had a lot of that going on recently.
Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor, op. 49 musically illustrates my state of mind of late surrounded by uncertainties and convictions. The tentative beginning has the underpinnings of funereal marches and yet glimmers of major keys flutter in and out indicating that something is done and yet something has just begun simultaneously. At 3:31 begins a captivating slow climb upward but only inches slowly, tentatively, unsure of itself and its destination, yet it yearns (achingly so) to move, change, morph and become something. It’s confidence builds until it blossoms into a sure militaristic march (quite a shift from the funeral march beginning). The rest of the work shifts between relapses into the minor key and the continual rise to confidence of the major key. Embedded in the middle is a beautiful little homophonic diversion providing a moment of reflection before emotions rage and bubble to the surface again bursting forth alternating between agitation and pure elation. The most intriguing thing about the work to me is the ending. The piece is long (around 14 minutes) and nearly all of it is spent in a mood of uncertainty with constant shifts of emotion, seemingly unable to stabilize or commit. Finally in the most simple gesture the slowly rising arpeggiation, that could never find a resolution in previous appearances, returns but now in a quiet self-assured whisper of certainty and of destination. A simple two chord cadence bring the piece to an almost ridiculously simple ending in the major key. Here is my favorite pianist in the world Krystian Zimerman with his stunning interpretation of the work (go ahead, relax, and let it carry you away):
I know in hard times people always want to cut arts funding first because arts are perceived as luxury not necessity. Honestly, in times like these I don’t know what I would do without art – especially musical arts. For me it is of immeasurable value. Nothing external can affect it – not the stock market, not war, not politics – nothing. It is meta, it is above and before. I recall the Polanski movie The Pianist. Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody’s character) was trapped in a world where everything crumbled, everything was beyond his control, and the one thing that remained was the music. Like math, it exists as if in the air around us and we simply capture it in our minds and translate it to our hands. It is no luxury. It’s necessary for the survival of souls.