Thanks to House Beautiful, I can stare at this photo for hours, wondering why it has such a hold on me. I love the bright pink here--the punch of color that jolts you out of winter doldrums and into contemplation of the colors of Spring that are on their way.
We lived with a lot of gray this winter- gray skies, gray rooms, gray salted slush piling up on all the sidewalks.
You endure a winter--unless you're an outdoor enthusiast whizzing down the mountain or cross country skiing through the woods. (Good for you, if that's you!)
Me--I take the hole-up-and-hibernate route and venture out for long walks when the snow has melted and the sun warms my skin. I've got another month or two till that happens.
Harry is wearing a cute little collar I made out of an old cashmere sweater. Safety Bill thinks he looks ridiculous in it. But I've had scissors in my hand and old magazines and old sweaters piled in my room, and my sewing box at my feet, and this is what you get from me during the winter: candles that wear custom little sweaters and Harry wearing a little blue bow-tie collar around his neck. This is me making it through winter. You do what you gotta do.
Like the other day when I went over to stay with my mom while her two main caregivers were out. We had a song fest in the living room (which looks nothing like the picture above!) On the old out-of-tune piano, I pounded away, plinking out rusty chord patterns and trying to keep the melody.
"This is what you get, Mom, after five years of me taking lessons" I called out with a sheepish smile.
She didn't care about the out-of-tune sound or the missed notes. She just wanted to sing. We sang Christmas carols and the theme song from Love Story and a couple of those old glory hymns. My mother clapped at the end of each song like I had finished a recital for the queen. That's how we passed the morning hours that day, making a joyful noise--emphasis on the word "noise."
The living room looks nothing like the picture above. The furniture is faded, mismatched. The old oriental rug pummeled to death. The only color is the plethora of green plants placed all over the room. The piano is chipped, and several keys have the ivory missing. It's not exactly a showcase of a room. But it's where I spent my childhood and teen years. It's where I practiced the piano for hours, not exactly thinking I would become proficient but thinking that it was a good thing to do.
I'm glad my mother never said to me, "This is what I get out of all those years we paid for lessons?!" Because what she got was a terrible piano player who can barely read music. But I think she hears something different when I play. I think she hears, not the botched chords or the awkward sounds of wrong notes, but instead, the years of me practicing away with her covertly perched by the sliding door listening to the comforting sound of someone just trying to get it right.