01 July 2008
Garden Bloggers Muse Day...of other muses
A little different post for this Garden Bloggers Muse Day, brought to us by the ever-talented and muse-inspired Carolyn of Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.
Let's see...who is responsible for this current unbearable lightness of being in my mind? Erato? Terpsichore? Polyhymnia? I'm not sure, though I have a theory which Muse has woken me up.
A long time ago, one of my cousins gave me an old guitar. I taught myself to play it. Not well, but adequate enough for college dorm parties, Scouting fireside singalongs, the occasional solo in church and so on. I bought myself a Yamaha guitar and passed the old one along to someone else who still has it as far as I know. I'm lefthanded, but I learned righthanded like most people. I dragged my Yamaha acoustic all over the place, through myriad moves, to many changes in my life, and always managed to find time to play it a little most days.
Then life got way, way way busy, and different. The guitar sat in my closet, ignored and unplayed. For weeks or months on end. Seven years ago, when I sold the car I had at the time to a young couple down the road, I gave the young woman my guitar, as she was learning to play and I just knew it was the right thing to do. I don't know if she still has it or not, but I'm sure if she doesn't, she's passed the old fellow along too.
A couple of months ago, I started feeling like I needed a challenge, something that would pull me out of the routine of work, work, work, work. The garden gives me tremendous pleasure, of course, but its sometimes a 'to-do' as opposed to a pleasure, and I feel guilty when I don't have an hour or two to spend in it. Guilt is not good. Guilt stifles creativity. Yoga has become a great pleasure, and something I can do for only a few moments if that's all I have for time. But it still wasn't exactly what I wanted.
Then it came to me, like a crashing crescendo. I wanted to start playing guitar again. Just for me. Just in this office, or out in the back yard. And take lessons. Call it an exercise in right-brain stimulation. Call it something that doesn't need a reason other than I want to do it.
Meet my new friend, Skittles. (I believe in naming guitars. They've got their own personalities, after all.) A Seagull S6 acoustic, made in Quebec. He sang to me in the music store on my third trip in to reconnoiter the possibility of buying a guitar after all these years. Well, to be precise, I had narrowed down the choice to two: a mid-range and decent Epiphone, and this guitar. I turned my back on them and asked the salesman to play exactly the same thing on both guitars, and not tell me which was which. He did, and I said, "The first one." And he told me I had good ears.
I took it home and played Cowboy Junkies Misguided Angel (one of the best. songs. ever.) for the first time in years. Then for good measure I learned to play Collective Soul's The World I Know that afternoon. Some of you will know exactly why that was the first song I had to learn. Followed by U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. I'll pass on trying Within Temptation's Ice Queen, much as I love it, though.
What I didn't have was good callouses. Or long fingers. The callouses are coming, and I WILL learn a few bar chords this time no matter what. I start taking lessons next week. This is a pure self-indulgent thing to do, because like I said, this is just for me and to give my brain something else to think about. You can practice a guitar for ten or fifteen minutes at a time at any time of day or night and not feel guilty.
And sitting out in the garden, surrounded by the scent of roses and the hum of bees, practicing guitar? It's good for all aspects of this gardener's soul.