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manifesto monday: strangers & music

10.19.2009


it's been weeks since i decided i needed a piano.
it's been years since i've really practiced.
but i knew i needed to rekindle my love with this instrument.

but there was a problem:
oh, there were plenty of free and cheap pianos to choose from,
but with family hundreds of miles away we had a difficult time
finding people willing to help us move such a hefty beast...

until saturday.

saturday morning i had given up on having such a luxury.
of course, that's when the phone rang.
our new neighbor and friend had a truck and was on his way to pick us up.
oh my! was this a dream?!

within ten minutes he was in the driveway, and we hopped in his truck.
we made one stop on the way up:
we picked up Ivan.


Ivan is just what you imagine:
thick eastern-european accent, strongly built, weathered hands, and
wrinkled face. his voice low and firm.
his eyes the kindest, most piercing gray-blue you've ever seen.
an angel.

this piano is no dainty thing. it's 1930's solid wood.
heavy.
every ivory key still works, and it's mostly in tune.

new neighbor, Ivan, and Ceej with two other complete strangers
(i don't even think i got their names)
grunted and awkwardly stepped as they heaved it into the truck...
then an hour later did it all over again
to rest it in our apartment
(luckily we're on the ground level!)

our helpers did not linger long.
i'm sure Ivan was anxious to return to his wife and nine children.
how do you thank such generous strangers for such a gift?

i'm a bit saddened by the thought that i'll probably
never see Ivan again.
i wonder if he knows what a gift he gave me that day...


i slowly sat down to play my first notes:
bach's "sheep may safely graze."

i've never heard anything so beautiful before.
i've heard this piece a million times,
but i've never heard it on my piano in my home.

magical.
really it was.
it fills the home with a peace unmatched.
i cry when i just think about it.
so beautiful. so healing. so wonderful.

over the weekend i introduced my new piano to
bach, mussorgsky, debussy, shumann and more.

this is by far the greatest gift i've ever recieved.
it was given to me by
my forever companion, ceej
a friend
and strangers.

thank you.

this gift and this music will always
bring peace and will heal broken hearts and spirits.
this i believe.

9 comments:

Jasmine said...

Beautiful pictures. Lucky you.

Netti said...

Oh my! I am so envious, but in a completely friendly way.:) What I would give for my very own piano!! I miss it. But for now, my in-laws and my parents will just have to do. So happy for you that you got your very own piano! It looks beautiful!

Mandarine D'Italie said...

magical - one of my dreams - to own a piano and being able to sit down and play whenever i feel those notes are about to be touched inside of me .... being able to express emotions through music - one of my dreams - hope your piano will bring you plenty of enjoyable moments...

so lovely to hear from you - thank you!

aerussell said...

I've had a recent yearning to have a piano as well. Sadly my apartment would never fit one, so I shall just have to wait. It made me smile to read about yours though. Thank you.

Dianne said...

The best gift for me, seeing you sitting at the piano with pure enjoyment. Memories come back of a little six or seven -year-old beginning her lessons. I was seranaded with, "Bone Sweet Bone", Oscar the Octupus" and my favorite, "I Would LIke An Ice Cream Cone." It's the best to have a front row seat to listen to children practicing.
Love.

sarah and james said...

Anna, so much to say.
1st. Happy Birthday a few days late. I love you, you are a beautiful woman.
2nd. congrats on your beautiful piano, love it. I've been trying to play a little more and it feels so good.
3rd. congrats on your photo contest win! bravo.
4th. thank you for joining my witness series. I loved reading it, made me so happy.
5th. when are you here? this week? to go with me to thriller? oh you are ! perfect.
xo

julia said...

dream. that piano looks like a real beauty. i kind of like them out of tune anyway. something kind of honky tonk haunting about it. looks great. i'm sure it sounds great too.

Anna said...

I know this sentiment. Music is so many things....happy for your and your new partner. Pianos are such a magnificent instrument...and yes, playing one, as well as hearing one..is so healing at times. :-) If you've not heart it already, check out Shostakovich - Piano Concerto No. 2: II. Andante. GORGEOUS piano. :-)

pia said...

congratulations! thank you for sharing such an incredible moment. I know the exact feeling you speak of, word for word this is what happened to me a couple of years back when I first moved to europe - it was my first ever piano, in my own space. It was amazing. My piano is so very cherished and now I wonder how I ever lived without one for so many years. I won't let it happen again. Keep playing, Ivan no doubt will hear it, somehow, and that can be your gift to him. px
PS LOVE the photos! And what a gorgeous intstrument, please don't hesitate to show more of it!