I wanted to quit playing and send my violin up in flames after I messed up my song at the warm old folks’ home of forgetting.
My mom tells me not to beat myself up over the imperfections and mistakes, which she insists, were entirely unnoticeable. She insists, instead, that they clapped louder than for anyone else and tapped their feet; she insists that I made them feel whatever warmth and comfort that I sought to convey in Vivaldi’s second movement of Winter. She insists that I helped them remember.
I’m not immune to forgetting, I realize, and playing for the old folks reminded me of this:
Sometimes I forget that I am no longer underwater and need not hold my breath. Sometimes I forget that mistakes aren’t fatal.
And now I remember. I remember being small and teaching myself the “happy song”. As I played hopscotch with the notes, I would close my eyes and imagine skipping out from each square, each measure, into the next, imperfect but vivaciously childish and joyful; temporarily blind to forced technicality; improvised and animated.
I remember that I can feel what had once been forgotten. As I remember this, I find myself back in the old folks’ home from the other day: I realize that in spite of all my errors, the piano plunks out rain and my violin blazes in a fiery spirit. My eyes close, fleetingly content to hear the warmth of the sound.
You can listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons here