February 26, 2009
At the piano sat a young sat a young girl staring off into space. A clock nearby is set ready to mark an hour. A metronome sat on the piano ready to keep the proper beat. Hands held up over the keys, finger exercising up and down, not touching the keys, quietly but anxiously waiting.
In the silence the fingers slender and long, flexible – itching to press down and make a sound. The hands remain still above the keys – not moving, just waiting. One finger escapes, presses down and a sound is heard. The fingers run up and down while the hands move back and forth above the keys. The fingers hit the keys hard; the sound is like thunder.
Then the fingers slow down, press the keys gently: the sound is soft – gentle like a lullaby. . .
The clock strikes! The metronome stops, the fingers stop, the hands are still, then go up and clap. Practice is done for another day.
Later. . . much later, an old woman sits at the same piano, staring off into space, remembering the practice time once-upon-a-time, long ago. The same hands, not quite so steady. The fingers cracked, no longer flexible, but tempted to play – try to play.
Suddenly, as if the long ago were yesterday, the hands move about the keys, the fingers reach to move up and down together.
Suddenly, music is heard – music practiced long ago: The march of Sousa; the waltz of Strauss, the fairy tales of Stravinsky, “Going Home” by Dvorak, “God Bless America,” “Auld Lang Syne,” “Ava Maria”.
Just like yesterday, the fingers stop, the ands go still above the keys. The old lady smiles, remembering – two hands, ten fingers, and music by one old lady.