Finding My Balance

Remember Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Well, today it was Zen and the art of…everything! What a day.

This morning I was teaching a melody to a student on a glockenspiel. Very quickly I could see that we needed a review in mallet technique, so I said to him (and the rest of the class as well), “you know, playing a malleted percussion instrument is a lot like anything else in life. It requires balance. In order to get the best sound, you can’t grip too tight, or the mallet won’t bounce…then the sound just gets dampened, and goes flat. You can’t let your grip be too loose, or the mallet might not give the mallet enough guidance to reach the target! You need to balance it just right…”

I think that was for me. No, I know it was for me.

Tonight, we were taking our walk in Schiller Park. Anthony started to meander up towards umbrella girl–why I wasn’t sure–perhaps to get a better look-see at some puppies. Halfway there he turned around, but I decided to keep walking. In a few moments we stood in front of her. There she was, in stoic pose, one foot firmly planted, and the other pushing off. And, of course, umbrella in the air. “Rather silly,” I thought, “no water spilling over the umbrella.”

“What does an umbrella girl do when there’s no more rain?”

“I guess she puts her umbrella away for safekeeping, until she needs it again.”

“Except for this one. Silly girl. She ought to know better.”

We continued our walk, and conversation, going around and around (as usual). Somewhere in the last loop, something fascinating happened. A shift.

“Oh,” I said to Anthony, “my feet feel different.” He looked quizzically at me.

“Huh. That’s odd! Now it’s my ankles too!”

It was as though my body really had contact with the planet. By the time we were almost home, the feeling included my legs.

Like trees. Something last night must have stuck.

I think I finally put my umbrella away…

…or found my balance.

Singing in the Rain

Be well, and at peace,

Phil

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