Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Guitar in the Corner

Everything has a lesson, if we are open to it.

Today I cleaned house. It is snowing outside, and Rona is working. A good day for the normally mindless task of housekeeping. Haul a load to the dump. Check. Wash an absurd number of dishes. Check. Clean the counter, disperse the pile on the kitchen table, sweep. Check. Scrub a bathroom, sift through the piles around my desk, file in preparation for tax time in a week or two. Check. Clean the living room. Done. On the dining room.

Uh Oh.

The dining room isn't used a lot, so normally there is not much to do. But there in the corner was the guitar.

My mom gave me the guitar last Christmas. She bought it when she took a guitar class a couple of years ago, but it was too large for her, so she passed it on to me. It's a lovely thing, made of spruce in Quebec with a rich tone.

 It's not my first guitar. I was given one of those cheap guitars that you give a budding teenager when they show a passing fancy to play. Cheap because why invest a lot of money in something when teenagers are notoriously famous for changing their mind again and again. I carried that guitar around with me for thirty five years or more, and never learned to play. Finally I gave it away. it had become something of a symbol of unfulfilled dreams. I actually felt relief when it was gone, my failure would no longer stand in the corner, constantly reminding me that I had never even given it a fair chance.

And now it's back, sitting in the corner of my dining room. It's been there a year or so. But today, instead of moving on with my cleaning, I pulled it out. I had bought a beginners DVD to play the guitar and I've pulled it out too. Today, or tomorrow, I will begin to learn the guitar. I may be 56, and I may never become Mark Knopfler, but I can learn something.

Then I moved to the second office. Where my kids often did homework or hooked their computers to a printer. It got me thinking. or maybe the guitar in the corner got me thinking.

I used to draw. I loved it. I have a great little plantation table that I bought to draw on. As I got settled here, I moved it to a little room upstairs, thinking to myself that maybe I would draw more. But the room is small and dark and shared with my dresser. I never did it. The drawing table is dusty and unused. I had never thought of it until the last week or two. What changed the last week or two? I began to take art classes.

Actually, Rona began to take art classes and I have been piggybacking with her when I am in town. We learn in an art gallery in Salem, NY, just a town away from here. It's a bright airy place with great light. I have absolutely enjoyed every minute. It's time with Rona, time to play with art the same way you do when you are a kid, with no pressure, and I have found that the light room made me want to do more. So now, probably later this afternoon, I will re-arrange furniture and move my heavy oak roll top desk upstairs, and my plantation table downstairs to a room with great light that I have been mostly wasting. I doubt I would have thought of it without trying the art class. But I am excited, because I think it will make a difference in terms of my drawing more, and in terms of the room actually being used more.

This is a pattern in my life right now. I am in Vermont where I have come back to a woman I loved 30 some odd years ago, and with whom I have a second chance.  Because of being laid off several months ago, I have fallen into doing freelance work that is largely built around writing and photography, a second chance I didn't ask for, but was given. That seems to be a theme in my life - second chances. A life that is new, and familiar at the same time.

I have a quote on my desk by George Eliot - "It is never too late to become who you might have been."

So true. So true.


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