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Brownian Motion on a Rainy Sunday Morning

I awoke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to loose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in

Bob Seger

It's taken a bit out of context, considering the entire song, and yet it doesn't feel like it. Lately I've been listening to CD's while driving home from work. Used to be I listened to NPR, then starting middle of last November I started listening to the engine and little else. Not really the sounds of silence, because there was that engine cycling its four beats per cylinder, taking me out of town, back to the ranch.

That trip out of town is always a decompression table: exit the parking garage (head up), get to 34th Street (pause), then I-75, Tower Road, Parker Road... Somewhere, somewhen between Tower and Parker is when the enlightenment starts, like the gentle re-absorbtion of gasses into the bloodstream as a diver aproaches the surface. Somewhere, somewhen between Parker Road and Archer, and the surface glitters at me, sometimes reflecting that which I'm leaving below/behind, sometimes obscuring what the future will be after I break through the surface tension.

Joe Walsh and "Rocky Mountain Way" is what I broke the engine routine with before Bob: put the CD on repeat, count the beats, count the beats, one and two and three and four. I'd like to learn to play that one, sort of a joke to me now. John defered receiving Mom's guitar when Dad died. Dad bought it for her when she started taking lessons in "night school" using the very low-end box my parents bought me for Christmas one year. I never did much with that box; really poor action, not so good sound, but what do you expect for something that cost less than $20 even in 1966 dollars? Dad was so impressed that she worked at it with that excuse for a musical instrument that he went out and bought her a fairly nice guitar, from her teacher (a luthier). It was imported, made in Japan; low end for his shop since he made guitars. However, he picked that line because they were well made, good sound, good action.

Mom kept at it for a couple years. About a year into that guitar being in the house, I started playing it, using her class notes, and then doing a class via Public TV, Fredrick Noad. Took off from there with a guitar that could actually sing, to the extent that when I left home in 1970 to go to college in Grand Rapids, Dad promised me an equivalent guitar for my birthday. I found one in a local Grand Rapids music shop, too.

Mom offered her guitar to John because he'd tried to learn in his teens, renting a guitar or picking one up from a pawn shop, I'm not sure which. He piped up right after Mom asked me if I wanted her guitar, and I replied with "I think John should get it because he wanted to learn." I don't remember his words exactly, but the message was an acknowledgement of dreams, and acceptance that dreams change, and even further, that his abilities didn't stretch in the direction of making music, unlike his brother. Listening, yes. But not being able to find the connection to the instrument and use the synergy to sing. I could, he said; he never would.

So I brought Mom's guitar home with me from Detroit in January, 1996. Mom died in May that year. I played her guitar on my birthday that year, in September. That's the last time I've played since.

Now John's gone.

I'm not particularly good at reading music. I can, but I'm not good at it. I can hear the notes, replay them, when I hear someone else make the music. I can puzzle out the notes on paper and given enough time, make them recognizable. Or... I could. Once.

It feels very strange to be counting beats again.

Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
marjai
Mar. 1st, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)
I used her, she used me, but neither one cared.
We were getting our share


If that's not a signature of the 80s, I'm not sure what is...


Have you tried using tablature?
madshutterbug
Mar. 1st, 2005 07:03 am (UTC)
Tablature, for reading music? No, or at least not recently. It's mostly a practice issue, I think. My music education is primarily informal, rather than in classes. The two exceptions are that PBS class I mentioned, and two semesters of Choir in my sophomore year of college.


Ah, the 80's. Those I remember.
marjai
Mar. 1st, 2005 07:06 am (UTC)
Tablature
Depends on how strongly you want to play the song, I guess. Tablature may help you get the notes into the air faster than trying to piece out standard notation.
madshutterbug
Mar. 1st, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)
Re: Tablature
Gotta pick the bloody guitar up, first! *g* Which I will; believe it or not, I went through a short stretch (about three years) after Cher died that I didn't do any photography.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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