Posted tagged ‘Recorder’

TWO REALMS OF LIFE

April 13, 2017

I wrote yesterday that some   “happy, beautiful”  things happened to me.  Well,  here is the “happy” thing and what it showed me:

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As humans,  there are two realms put before us at each present moment:      One of great beauty and life;  one of ugliness and death.   And so on Wednesday of this week and Thursday we are reminded that these two realms are set before us.

Adherence to Rituals and Rules

I came to my friend’s house  yesterday,  and this is what greeted me —

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It was time for our somewhat regular recorder practice on Wednesday.  The “ritual” is that we  seat ourselves in front of our music stands, allow a little  light conversation while we play our first pieces, and then we get down to some serious musicianship.   Then we begin to feel that our session is over, and we proceed to tea.

Always an absolute delight at my friend’s house; beautiful, seasonal, whimsical.   A thoughtful table for tea.

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My friend served mille-feuilles in honor of a book we’ve both enjoyed.

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(Also known as napoleons.)   There was a Reality at work here in our friendship and in our music,  a beautiful  Reality that flows out of one realm and into the other.

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We did not mention that yesterday was Spy Wednesday  –  but it was:

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This Wednesday is called “Spy Wednesday”  because on this day the Jewish leaders met with  riff-raff.    They who were  the righteous arbiters of Ritual and the Law, had to deal with this common man, Judas Iscariot, who was willing to betray his own Friend with secret reports of His whereabouts.       With great distaste,  these religious rulers finalized their plans and sealed the deal with  the 30 pieces of silver that was foretold so many centuries ago.   But one does what one must to achieve a higher goal.

The religious rulers as well as the Romans lived in the one, material realm.

Statues,  unquestioned authority,  riches,  gold and silver, impressive robes and long fringes;  in this  material realm the use of  power of this material world could establish a kind of peace, ruling over all the rest.   This is a kingdom not founded in love and friendship, faith and true  piety,  but on Rules and Rituals to keep people in their proper places.

It is a kingdom, a realm,  that is ugly and leads to death.

So the culmination of all this spying and plotting came on a Wednesday,  but it is for Thursday to carry it out

Material Reality and Spiritual Reality

Material Reality alone fails.    There is a Spiritual Reality which gives beauty and life to our  Material Reality,  but we can’t”measure the spirit  by  material means.

 Can we measure the material worth of Friendship?   of  Honor?   of Courage?  of Love?  What is the price, in material goods,  of your love for  each of family members?     4 ruler

How many miles long is your Truth?    What color is the Respect that people have for you?   4 scales How many pounds does your Faith in God weigh?

 But these things exist.

And yet, some things can be seen and weighed and measured and physically compared. We can’t lose sight of the material world that we live in, nor of the spiritual world which give Life to it.

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Just as our tea table yesterday contained a tea pot, cups, saucers,  hot cross buns and milles-feuilles,  and you could have recorded the sound of a lovely music CD, our voices,  the telephone ringing,  chairs squeaking, footsteps . . .   you could not have measured the intangible things of the actual Spiritual Realm (mutual love, friendship, respect,  faith)  which accompanied us and penetrated all our material  “noises.”

Both existed.   The material realm and the spiritual realm met and  co-existed.

This is not “above” human beings to  understand.

4 last supper reclining

Jesus met with His friends  at His Last Supper with them,   It was a supper determined by Rituals with  prophetic meaning.   It was a time for the last bit of teaching,  last time to show the means of Loving which is self-sacrifice and servitude,  last bit of instructive and loving prayers, and one thing more:

4 l;ast supper jess

With God’s creative and sovereign will,  here was the first Transformation of the material aspects of that Supper into an eternal, spiritual union with the Creator –  present from now on,  any time,  any place that this “ritual supper” is recreated.

From the earliest beginnings of Christianity,  this Last Supper was not meant to be merely copied by our actions, nor imitated.   The Last Supper,  within these last 24 hours of Jesus’ life on Earth,  was meant to be entered into  spiritually,  really,  actually — and perpetually,  until He comes.   Matter and Spirit.

These last 24 hours are completed at Calvary.

The Last Supper which then  becomes the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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AN INDOOR INTERLUDE – RED BAROQUE ELGANCE

April 21, 2016

Baroque:

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This is a little blogging interlude – a break from all the harsh things that are waiting to be used  on my computer Desktop. 

It was Recorder day today,  a time when my Recorder Friend and I get together to play our recorders.

We don’t   “practice” together;  we play,  really perform our music, and today we managed to actually find the Baroque sound that we both love so much.   It was a wonderful feeling because there is an elegance in Baroque music that is its own blend of rhythms,  melody, and haunting harmony.

And there is a dignity in this sound that makes us want to participate in its elegance.

We play,  then have tea and conversation.  (Actually, we play and have conversation and then have tea and conversation.)

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My Recorder Friend always has the nicest, most interesting — most elegant napkins.

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If you have respect for yourself,  for your friends, and for the occasion,  these little details are so enjoyable.    I think they are a component of elegance;  going the “extra mile”  to make the occasion worthy of human dignity.

Now I laugh – at myself.   Such “details”  don’t come easy!    I received a big box in the mail a couple days ago,  courtesy of eBay.    It was for this week’s recorder session.  Inside, buried deep, deep inside foam peanuts and wrinkled newspaper were  —

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—   my new Ruby Red glass teacups!

And my new Ruby Red glass saucers:

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Oh, yes –  wrapped so well in bubble wrap and layers of clear packing tape,  and then tightly wrapped in newspaper,  that it took me 15 minutes to free the four cups and saucers from their binding!

But it was well worth the time and scissor pokes and chipped fingernails.

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The new cups and saucers match the beautiful Ruby Red cut glass dessert  plates I had snatched from a garage sale awhile ago –  for no other reason than that they were  . . . pretty.

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Happy little  springtime  Lemon Bars!

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Gee,  I hope the dessert matches the “elegance”  of the day!

MUSIC IN THE GARDEN — SUMMER 2015

July 7, 2015

A gift of Flowers:

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They come from the liberality of a friend who rejoices in the beauty of her garden,  and from which she generously shares her flowers, her musical talent, and her hospitality,  at regular intervals.

We have begun this summer to make (somewhat) beautiful music together.

I wrote a while ago about this new activity for me;   I’ve taken up the recorder at the prompting of my friend, a fine instrument for the sounds of  Renaissance and Baroque music      Earlier this summer,  one day,   she surprised me by saying we’d be playing outdoors.   I drove to her home in the country, and while I was parking the car I heard her say she’d be “on the bench.”

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I got out of my car and it took me a while to locate “the bench,”  but there it was, a little distance away, surrounded by a lovely garden arranged in the “English” way;  that is,   non-symmetrical,  non-plotted,  and rather untamed at first glance.

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Closer in,  I could see there were happy, colorful bunches of flowers of this and that kind,  with happy bees,  happy dragonflies,  happy all sorts of buzzing creatures going in and out of the various blossoms.

She told me to sit on the bench with her awhile, before we started the “really stressful”  activity of making music together — and perhaps she perceived in me my inheritance from my own Grandmother — a need for speed.   A need to get right to it, hurry up, and be doing it, whatever  it  was….    (What gave her a clue?  Maybe because the first half dozen times I tried to find her country home, I drove right past —  I raced right past —  and even though I knew better,  I just couldn’t slow down enough to insert my car into her driveway in time.    I was in a hurry.   I came to our music session tense and purposeful. )

One can’t be speedy and purposeful in a beautiful English garden.

We sat and talked quietly together on the bench.  At first I was filled with admiration and many questions about her garden, which extends all around her property,  not only in the “English” arrangement.

But then the quietness descended on us,  the peace and quietness that fills a person when Nature speaks, always insisting on having center stage.    I did slow down;   I did feel at rest now.   I was ready for our music.

 There,  just beyond the flowers,  was a gazebo,  sheltered by the tall trees.

This is where we make our music.   And last week there were three of us.

recorders threeSoprano, tenor, and alto — a full voice for the beautiful chords of the music that  was produced during the pinnacle of Western culture.  We three did well.  We could almost hear what the music was supposed to sound like!    I could almost see the people who appreciated this music.

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Two hours of music pass by in an instant.

Then there is Tea, of various kinds,  with mint leaves from the garden.   And there are English tea biscuits,  or lemon bars,  or scones.    Light and lovely.

The notes of our music have penetrated every cell of my body, calming, soothing, ordering my  self.    Each color, each petal of the flowers  have done their work,  lifting my spirit upward in some ineffable gratitude.    The quiet conversation of friendship has encouraged  and strengthened me.

I go home with it all.   Some of the experience is “vased” __

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— vased, so I can see and remember.      But most of the experience stays inside of me.

I’ll slow down now.   I will slow down and practice hard —  so I can do this again, next time.