Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Mornings Listening


Awakened by the pouring rain as I slept this morning. The sky was dark and I returned to dreamland. The next sound I was aware of was the bell calling me back to the present moment, the sound so rich and full of life. I listened to the rain as I began my meditation, various sounds arising as the rain fell on different surfaces. The same sound source taking on timbres colored by leaves, aluminum, concrete, & plastic.

The occasional drone of an automobile; its’ engine cycling, tires sounding the wet pavement as drivers negotiated the curve of the road. Brief beautiful melodic bursts from the local birds. A plop here, a ping there; life echoing to those who would but listen.

The sound of the bathroom fan inviting me back to the present moment. Where have I been? Now I can hear the towel rubbing against my toes, my foot striking the floor, the deodorant rubbing against my skin. Even now the clatter of the keyboard as gutters drip outside my window. The hum of a compressor winding down.

Soon I will begin my guitar practice. Will I continue to listen? My chair creeks as I sit back with this question. My chair again creeks as I shift,  marveling at the sounds of the ice clinking in two glasses as I negotiate climbing the unfamiliar circular stairs. My feet vibrating this metallic structure, the beverage sloshing, the ice chiming. I listen to the delight in my wife’s words as I hand her a flavored seltzer. So joyful this attentive listening to the sounds of my day. More drones, more flutters of birds; distant conversations, keyboard clacking, sounds of my wife drinking. I must pick up my guitar. May this quality of listening inform my playing.

As I begin my AT lie down I hear the sounds of my body rubbing against the carpet and my head encountering the books. I hear my breath go out; was this a breath or a sigh? As my body relaxes, I notice quieter sounds from the outside. A tiny dog yammering in the distance, small birds chirping, and then again the drip outside my window. The steady pulse of this drip framing my lie down, like the metronome can frame a practice. Has the drip slowed since the last time I noticed it? Suddenly I want to get up to write, but remind myself that the intent is to listen, not to capture.

As I write this now, nearly 40 minutes later, I notice that the drip has stopped.

As I opened the case the sounds of the clasps welcomed me. Noticing how the strap sounded as it went around the strap button, the other end of the strap slapping against the inside of my case. I choose to play through the first piece that came to me in my early days of Guitar Craft. So simple and still so beautiful.  I then moved on to improvising on just the D string. This limit pushing serving to develop melodic sense. A found a six note scale that I explored C E F# G Ab B. From here I moved on to playing through Kinnara & Gathered Hearts. Listening as I played with the occasional thought competing for my attention. Noticing that my right hand nails were just above the quick enough to impede my playing I paused.

I returned to practice and then noticed some of the sounds of our lunch preparation. Listening to Pascal Comelade Haikus for Piano as we ate. Particularly delighted with his subtle and clever arrangement of 96 Tears. Soon we shall walk. Will I be listening? Will you be listening?

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite of your posts and I am going to share it with others. Really lovely, being lost in, steeped in sound - a really rich tea for the senses. When I listen like this, everything sings. The most amazing choral events arise from a bathroom fan, the water humming through the pipes of a hotel room, a leaf blower across the way. I am so happy I read this straight out of my own morning meditation.