Saturday, July 23, 2011

Unexpected treasures

 We walk a lot in our family. There is not a walk that we take that does not yield some treasure: a bird call, a toad, a new flower, a stunning sky, good mud. On a walk last Sunday, the girls and I thought we'd found our treasure - a cicada, hollowed out but in good shape, ready to be closely inspected and handled and drawn.
 Such beauty in its transparent wings! So amazing to hold it and really see its eyes, the green of its legs.  We carried it with us to the "peak" where we were planning on sitting for a bit and drawing what we saw.
 Imagine our surprise when what we saw - in our spot,  our destination - was a burnt piano.
 I'll say it again - a burnt piano. Someone - and a bunch of their friends, I'm guessing - somehow lugged an upright piano up the hill in order to make a bonfire in its belly.  We were stunned.
 We circled it, noticing that it was still warm, and peering in at all its insides. We were half-horrified (an instrument!! GASP! it's like a living body!), and half-awed by the sad beauty.
 Our nature drawings took a different turn, as you can imagine, and Eliza came back from another prowl around its body to write "warm", "black" and "destroyed" on her drawing.
 I suggested that maybe she could think of what the piano would say, or what it might be thinking?
 I am hot.  Very lonely.  No one wants to be near me.
Maybe it was the heat or the humidity, but we left feeling melancholy.  Interestingly, at the potluck we hosted that night, a colleague of Dan's whose husband is in the business of repairing and tuning pianos reminded us that on occasion their family will host a party centered around the burning of an old piano, whose wires will sometimes sing and twang as they're released...we've been invited to the next one.

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