We moved into a brand new house one year ago. Though three children and a dog have added their marks to doors, walls and counter tops, the house still feels new. The carpet shows exactly one spot of wear. It took me a while to realize the source of the worn circle next to the piano pedals, a circle that reappears no matter how often we vacuum the shag to attention. Then one day I watched Alec play piano, watched his heel push into the carpet as he worked the pedal. He ignores me when I stand and watch him play, absorbed as he is in his music. He leans into the keys, occasionally tapping the rhythm with his toe, and music fills the house.
I used to dream of sitting at Grandpa's piano in an otherwise quiet house, running my fingers along the keys and sending my joy, my anguish or simply my moment of peace winging up Cedar Mountain by way of Chopin or Rachmaninoff. I never did learn how to filter my soul through my fingers. Periodically, I sit down to play a sonatina, sure that the emotion bubbling up inside of me will somehow guide the notes. Inevitably, I stumble on a chord, fracture an arpeggio, and eventually give up in disgust.