Melody And Harmony
Brisk mornings in autumn are so rejuvenating. I lied, mornings in general are just awesome. My bed was warm with its trillion blankets and pillows that all trap my body heat, and the air around me was chilled enough for me to see my breath. When I wake up, I like to lay a while and think about things before I actually GET up: it’s just the time to do so because it’s in-between slumber’s sub consciousness and the activity of a new day. The only other equivalent to this period is when you’re about to “give into the night” (anybody see what I did there?)…also known as falling asleep, in this case. But that doesn’t matter because for me, it is a time to dream while awake, to piece together fragments of memories and sounds into something with meaning and resonance.
So this particular morning, I did my normal ritual of just laying there, thinking about things, (exciting, I know), and suddenly, without a thought as to what I was actually doing, I threw off my covers and removed the case off of my acoustic. I got my fingerless gloves, my red and black winter hat, put some sandals over my socked feet, and went outside to play. A number of delayed leaves are still falling right now, but the ones on the ground are turning brown. They didn’t necessarily crunch under my walk because they were damp from the dew and the light rain from yesterday. There was no one awake right now, but the baby- blue skies released the sun anyway, and it seemed like it was giving just enough rays to keep me warm with the perfect amount of light to make it all seem like a dream. I put my guitar over my back and behind me, the way that actually makes me nervous when other people have it like that. I had on a cheap gray, $5-6 pullover sweatshirt from Walmart, the kind that you’re supposed to jog in, (but who actually does that when you can do yoga in it?), and thin black stretch pants to accompany my kickass hat, gloves, and sock/ sandal combo. I didn’t follow a path, I just walked deeper and deeper into the woods, hoping there wouldn’t be any hunters that might accidentally shoot me or kidnap me, (paranoid as I am, sometimes)…but then again, I kind of didn’t even care: this morning belonged to me, music, and the trees.
I stood in a clearing where the sun was granted an appearance, warming me a bit. I first started to play, but found that the gloves I was wearing were just in my way, so I ripped them off and because I had no pockets, put them in my rolled-up sleeves. My fingers were numb and I couldn’t feel the steel strings that always separate my flesh into fresh calluses, but it was okay: they thawed soon enough. I looked around where I was standing, my guitar now strapped in playing position: the chipmunks were still squabbling, a few birds that were supposed to be south were dive-bombing through laced branches, and a very slight, almost breath- like, breeze fluttered a few dry foliage. I wasn’t far enough into the woods to lose sight of our neighbor’s farm, but they couldn’t see me. I stood right there and began practicing with a few chords to put some feeling back into my hands, but then moved on to “Remnants”, “Asylum”, “The Animal”, and a bunch of other songs that are in standard tuning. I played some of my own songs, mentally singing because I’m not at the level where I can play and vocalize simultaneously all that well. The grazing sheep listened, the horses perked their ears, and the geese passed by. Even with my music, everything seemed quiet, a type of quiet that might only live in one’s thoughts, but was okay to disturb with a song. Everything felt unified, and nothing was wrong. My guitar is a part of me, and I embrace it organically, the way a koala bear will carry her young on a eucalyptus tree, a rock will sink when thrown into water, the way paint glides onto a canvas…the way a mother will embrace her child. A woodpecker began to lay down a pretty sick beat, so I followed it with my strings, all six of them alternating between chords, arpeggios, rhythm, and lead. When it realized it wasn’t solo anymore, it stopped, looked at me, and flew off: he decided he needed the limelight to himself, I guess ?. It was okay, though, because we’re all like that in our own ways…but I remained onstage.
I played metal, rock, jazz, blues…everything ranging in the emotions of happiness, sorrow, and anger to peace, war, and the in-between. I made mistakes, but even in doing so, they were still flawless. The animals listened while they kept on keeping on, the leaves chilled, the ground thawed a bit, the sun beat, and the skies remained clear and primary. I changed tunings, played, and for an hour and a half I was comfortably alone. You may sound similar when you play in most places, but the feelings will change and the emotion will burst. Finding the right moment to be more than a face in the crowd is one of the best things in the world, and it makes you feel awake, tired, drugged, euphoric, alive, and dead all in one basket.
You know how they say that someone is thinking of you or talking about you whenever your ears ring? I heard a little bell when I was just about finished tying the last stitches on a song, right before I was about to swing my guitar onto my back and make the same walk I made just a measly hour and a half ago. I couldn’t help but smile with my numb face and wonder if someone besides the animals, the vegetation, and the dirt was listening. I don’t care either way, but a part of me hopes they were. Maybe I’m just schizophrenic, though. One day, I’d like to share this hippie- tranquility, but that time will just have to present itself because I’m not going to look around right now.
I put my guitar protectively on my back, the way a hiker might carry their pack. I breathe in the cold air that promises a beautiful, yet sometimes frightening, winter season, noticing that bitter oxygen is so much easier to inhale than crowded summer air. I walk a ways to the coop of my pet chickens, let them out to scratch around for the day, say good morning to my dogs and cat, and go inside to have a cup of tea before anyone wakes up. They won’t care that I’ve gone out and I’ll share it with them when they get up, but right now, certain solitude is just too sweet to liberate…
“And the world will get you high. What can you take from me? That which you cannot buy? Exhilaration, laughing and turning away…”