Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An Uncle, Days of Rain, and a Secret

Holy phujezus it has been raining for days. Literally. There were spotty rains on Friday and Saturday, and then Saturday night a slow steady rain arrived and it only just stopped this morning, with plans to return this afternoon. Rain for that long becomes a little sinister, and for the first time in years I have risen to the sound of rain and not been ecstatic over it. I have been fretting over my newly planted red onions - a week after I put them in, four shiny rows of little onions popped up but then about four inches of rain fell so I am a little worried that they might be drowning out there. Humph, although I can probably get away with a replant if I need to. I will pickle my own red onions, I swear it.

Anyway. We had a lovely weekend of Uncle. We hiked out Mount Mitchell again for berries, knocked some bowling pins over, and watched a film that we had all been planning to watch for forever. Lots of good foods, some good sleep in cozy beds listening to rain. Plus he got to meet his chicken. Our girl Gonzo is named after him because she is the fastest most curious kind of crazy chicken out there. Fun.

Here's my secret:

Those aren't B's fingers up there, those skinny little things are mine. I am learning to play the fiddle. Which at first seemed completely and totally preposterous and I vowed that I would never ever tell anyone ever. And then B started showing me bowing patterns and I just about lost my mind with the incredible and I don't think I could keep this a secret if you paid me. Here's something I have always suspected: I don't know if anyone falls all the way in love with old-time music without wanting to play the fiddle. An unknowable thing, I realize, and really the knowable truth here is that I have always wanted to play the fiddle. I picked up a banjo because I wanted to play with fiddlers, and because I wanted to sit in a tight circle with a bunch of musicians and bow my head down into the the center of the music and really listen, instead of really listening from a doorway where my wanting for the music nearly hurt. That wanting made those first years of learning banjo tunes really hard; I wanted to be so much better than I was and in some way I was always fighting with myself about it. And in some weird way I feel like that lack of ease will always show up in my playing of the banjo. Because I have felt completely different about playing guitar and now again learning fiddle tunes. They both feel light. It's not like I don't want to be good at either of them, but I never showed up and said I was the guitar player so who cares if it takes me three time through the tune to hear that chord in the middle of the B part. Seriously, this stuff is supposed to be fun, and oddly I've found more fun in trying some things that I know a lot less about.

ANYWAY, that was significantly more expository than I intended to be. The long story short is that holy hell, you can make an amazing amount of sound with two fiddles. B says that I look like I am 5 years old when I play because I am concentrating so hard:

But when he says that I make myself smile, because I believe the face you play music with is actually so important. I love playing with smiling musicians, and there is no one who smiles more from behind a fiddle than my husband.

P.S. You can tell how rainy it's been from how crazy the hair on my head is!


queenbeehoney said...

Oh God, how I love you and your crazy hair.

Love love those photos, and you're right, Ben does smile when he plays the fiddle, in a way that you rarely see otherwise.

And yo Mama always knew you felt that way about the fiddle. Only this time the somebunny with the fiddle sitting across from you is your true love.

dietlind said...

hi lady.

i discovered just the other day that your blog is our homepage on our laptop as well as our computer. i know more about you than i do what's happening in the world.

not going to comment on what you wrote cause even though its a blog, it still feels personal. but i will say, i love reading each new entry--it's great to turn on the computer and see that you've posted.

big, long-distance hug.

Anna Allen said...

whoa, awesome!! way to go for picking up a new instrument! i've yet to pick up the banjo...yeah i know. but i'm hoping to see a friend in a few weeks and i'm crossing my fingers he remembers to bring his banjo for me to use. :)

Heather said...

Oh Anna, I have been thinking of you!!! I wish I still had my old clunker banjo so that I could send it to you. Sometimes musicians horde instruments and assuage their guilt over this by loaning them to lovely ladies like yourself, hopefully you know or will meet someone like that soon!!

P.S. I love you, mom.
P.P.S. I love you, Diets.