Saturday, September 25, 2010
I was so entranced with this painting (in the National Gallery) that I didn't bother to see who painted it. Oops. But Washington Cube knows (of course). It is The Lute Player, c. 1610 Orazio Gentileschi
I have friends who think I'm brave to attempt to learn how to play the bass at my advanced middle age. Hmmm. I am brave, yes, but I don't think this adventure is about courage except in that word's most essential form. "Playing" the bass fills my heart and makes me whole. Playing actually bestows courage rather than the other way around. I wonder if that makes sense.
Learning new things is one of my favorite activites. Learning anything about anything always sets in motion a cascade of interesting new trains of thought. Lately, for instance, I've been thinking about how the human body has frets of a kind - bony landmarks that show me, as a bodyworker, where muscle attachments are, or the location of internal organs. The lungs and heart will be found inside the ribcage, heart right under the sternum, listing to the left side of the body. The human body has frets, and also "sweet spots" - places where, in shi'atsu, you push with a fingertip to release a flood of tension in just a few seconds. Fun to think about.
I've also been thinking about the venerable history of stringed instruments. Strings stretched tight across a box with a hole, plucked to make sound, was one of the first ways we humans made music, along with blowing into a hollow stick and rhythmically pounding something with something else. Every culture I know about from the north pole to the south pole has had, at some point in its history, musicians who played stringed instruments. Very cool.
Strings are so intrinsic to us that we describe various states of being - usually extreme, like strung out, tightly wound, with string imagery. Even physicists, our post-modern mystics, use strings as a way to describe the essence of consenual reality.
The fact that I am a rank beginner bass player does not stop me from thinking cool thoughts. I am not ambitious to become a virtuoso bass player. I'll just play and think cool thoughts, see where that takes me.
Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.