Wednesday, December 31, 2008

51 Months

So, after two weeks of absolutely no practice whatsoever, Lucas pulls out his violin and seamlessly performs all of his requisite music and adds a song or two that he composed himself. Even though it may sound like he's following in Mozart's footsteps, he's not quite on par with the great composer's ability but I am constantly amazed by his retention skills.

A couple of weeks ago we traveled north up the coast of California to spend the winter solstice amongst the wonders of Big Sur, which was the main reason that Lucas took a breather from his continuous music lessons. Being in that part of the state was very refreshing and relaxing. We stayed in Cambria, which is a mellow little town amongst the trees and the crash of the ocean. It was cold and rainy but every time I stepped out into the coastal air, I felt fresh and alive. I never focused on the elements at all except to appreciate the wonders of this natural landscape.

Lucas is amazing when it comes to scrambling around a new environment. He becomes enamored with every little detail and so often I'm reminded of the simple joy inherent in the mind and body of a four-year-old. He often follows me over every rock and cliff as we seek to discover what lies beyond and when I look back to see his little body navigating the torturous terrain of sea walls, my heart panics for a moment. Then I remind myself of the amazing ability that these little people carry around, that he's so capable and enduring and that I only need to be there to catch them if they fall. I'm not there to do it for them.

Lucas' violin teacher, Ms. Jane, always has so much confidence in her students and to watch her communicate with Lucas on a fundamentally equal level is so eye-opening. When we raise these kids from the moment they come into this world, from when they absolutely need you to do everything for them, it's very easy to develop a sense of superiority and a habitual domineering attitude toward them. But Ms. Jane often reminds me that Dr. Suzuki was one of the first instructors to elevate the students above the teacher. He knew that these kids were so much smarter than us adults. We think that we know so much but our brains are slowing down. We've come to accept certain ideas as definitive when nothing in this universe ever stays that way. The older that we get, the harder it is for us to change but what else truly exists in this life, except for change?

Often, in my daily life, I am treated with the reality of people who decided long ago that they needn't learn anything else, that they have developed enough. We see it everywhere around us, hear it on the radio and embrace it wholeheartedly in our culture. So, Whenever I get the chance, whenever I see the potential in my two beautiful children, I try to hold onto that energy and carry it forward with each day, the older I get. They are a wonderful light that we can shine before us as we go deeper into the cave of obscurity.

One of my best memories of our time together in Big Sur was when we stopped at the Henry Miller Memorial Library. It's a small quaint spot off highway 1 filled with strange sculptures in the garden and a room full of books. It was raining when we stopped and the air was gelid, so as we hurried into a heated room filled with the aroma of coffee and fresh print. I felt very serene in this comfortable environment. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Miller (despite the personal homage), I've always loved these literary environments where one can wallow in the poetry of the past. This place embodied that spirit, which Henry probably loves as his shadow wraps itself around the landscape. Inside this den of wonder was a small, beat-up piano and Lucas spotted it right away and descended upon it. He began to feel out the voice in the beast and searched the keys for familiar notes. Soon he was playing little dirges and experimenting with various sounds. At times it escalated into noisy bombastic fuel but mostly he simply sought out to articulate an essence that he could communicate with this place where we had stopped for a brief moment, and it was supremely beautiful to hear this little boy talk with the keys of this piano.

Lucas has a musical heart. He is rich with a tender spirit and so often I discover moments when he is completely in tune with his inner space and regardless of what is happening around him, he really touches this life with genuine creativity. I love to witness it and cherish him when it happens. Out amongst the devastating artistic nature of this secluded coast, Lucas discovered that which Henry Miller tried so desperately to communicate to the world with his writing; that the expression of our soul right where we are is the very reason for our existence.

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