Saturday, 2 November 2013

Strong Winds and Wild Waves

What a glorious day this has been!!  When I had a check-up at the Cancer Centre in April of this year, I noticed there was a grand piano in the foyer at the main entrance to the Cancer Centre.  I had a strong urge to play and share some music that day with the various staff, patients and family eating lunch at the tables, waiting for appointments or waiting for rides to come and pick them up.  As I ate my lunch that day back in April, I watched the number of people coming and going.  I truly felt a strong pulling sensation to give back to all the staff and employees for all their positive support throughout my chemotherapy treatments and check-ups over the last year and a half.  Since April, I've discovered who I needed to contact in order to have permission to play the grand piano in the foyer of the Cancer Centre.  Last week, I was granted this permission to play on Fridays from 12 to 1 p.m.  Today was my first day of playing some background music on the Steinway that is in the foyer.

As I set out from my home, I was pelted with leaves and twigs from my maple tree in my front yard.  The wind was tremendously strong and vocal as it whipped the leaves off the trees and snapped twigs from their branches.  I needed to hold on to the steering wheel with both hands as the wind buffeted my van while I drove to the Cancer Centre.  At one stop light, the wind rocked my van from side to side as if there were large men shoving on my van.  Once I was parked, I had a 10 minute walk to get to the Centre.  I was literally bent over to make progress down the street against the gusting wind. 

Once I arrived, I got myself settled at the piano with all my music.  You see, I'm not very good at memorizing music.  I never have been.  But....put some written music in front of me, and I can play almost all of it.  I had spent the last week picking out music that would appeal to various types of people.  Some people like classical while others like pop or jazz.  Some people even like rock or country.  I am always nervous performing in front of people.  The thought of being the background music and not the main attraction always is a much better fit for my temperament.  So today, I was able to play music as background music to people eating their lunches, or waiting for appointments or waiting for family members to come down from appointments.  Some people were even just waiting for their transportation home.  This relaxes me as I am not the focal point of the venue.  I played some classical, jazz, big band, children's music, reels, rock and pop music.  I even played a few selections from musicals.  I was acutely aware that the acoustics in this foyer are very lively and it does not require a lot of volume.  I had fun and was able to just enjoy playing without an excess of nervous energy.

At one point, a gentleman stood behind me, listened and watched while I played.  When I stopped playing to change music, he mentioned that he had heard me perform a reel and he thought I must be from the east coast.  I looked at him and noticed that his jacket said "Schneiders Male Chorus".  I asked him if he was from Kitchener.  He indicated yes and I stated that I had seen his jacket.  He used to direct the Schneiders Male Chorus.  I looked at him again and he seemed vaguely familiar.  Through our conversation, we discovered that he used to direct me when I was a teenager in the Ontario Youth Choir.  Talk about a small world.  His compliments on my playing took on new meaning!  This was a man that knew his music and was very well educated in music as well as a fine performer in his own right.  I felt a warm glow within as I realized that my strong urge to give back to the Cancer Centre was in fact also returning a wonderful gift back to me.  I received many other compliments from people who were in the foyer throughout the noon hour today.  Unknownst to me (and thankfully so), my first performance at the Cancer Centre was actually an audition of sorts.  I passed and am now allowed and welcomed to play every Friday during the noon hour.

As I battled the wind back to my van, I was filled with a deep joy.  I am so blessed!!  Although I don't sing very well anymore and I don't seem to be able to play the flute anymore, I am able to still make a difference to someone else's day through my music!  Music has always been such a large part of who I am and I have been feeling sorry for myself as well as lost.  Today's experience was absolutely wonderful and magnificent!

Once at home, I started working on some of the administrative tasks associated with my studio teaching.  The afternoon flew by.  In the late afternoon, a new friend contacted me, knowing that I love the water down at the lake and that I am willing to stand in the wind and the rain to take pictures as I try to capture the lively and angry waves.  She asked if I would like to go with her to capture the roiling water in the high winds today.  I was torn.  I should finish the paperwork I was working on.  But on the other hand, the paperwork will be there tomorrow but the high waves may not be.  So I made the impulsive decision listened to my inner voice to abandon (take a break?) my responsibilities and grab the camera to go down to the lakeshore with my friend.

I am so glad that I followed the urgings to go to the lakeshore.  The winds were so strong that I was being moved around.  A fir tree was bent at a 45 degree angle due to the winds.  The high grasses were almost levelled to the ground as the wind whipped them sideways.  The waves were higher than I've ever seen!  They had to be close to 12 feet high!  My pictures were fantastic!!  They're still on camera because after spending an hour down at the lake, I then exchanged my camera for my van keys and picked up some other friends to go to the local OHL game.  It's been a super, super day!!

November is normally cold, wet and windy.  It signifies Remembrance Day and the beginning of the long, dark winter days.  Today was anything but long and dark.  It was glorious and exhilarating!  I loved  the wind.  I loved the wild waves with their angry looking white caps.  I truly have an affinity with the water in all its forms whether it is calm and still or roiling and angry.  My music was a gift that I was able to share today.  I also shared some friendship and maybe even kinship with a new friend.  How thoughtful it was of her to ask me to accompany her to the lakeshore!  I've been feeling a little blue due to the end of the summer months.  Today reminded me that I can embrace the not so nice days of winter, enjoy them and accept them as a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Cathy! We need to grab onto those precious moments while we can. Life is beautiful when we stop and take a look around.