Gift from My Sister

Buck and I watched another segment of Ken Burn's instantly iconic film, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and talked into the night about a cross-country road trip to Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and The Tetons that we have been teasing each other with for ages. We talked about the lure of rigging up the old van and driving all the way.

Finally, Buck  yawned and stood. "Well, that's it for me. I'm going to bed," he said. "How about you?"

I looked over at the piano. "I'll be along in a few minutes."

Buck knows me so well. "You play as long as you want. I haven't heard enough of The Beast lately. Come on, Maggie."

I sat in the semi-dark room, with only the piano light providing illumination. This kind of late-night playing is very intimate. It's not high octane performance. It's not practice. It's meditational plunking. It's quiet, keenly felt joy. I thank my sister, Flo, for transmitting her love of music to me when she was a teenager and I was a child. It was the gift of a lifetime.

"Love is still the only dream I know."

from Seasons of the Heart, by the late John Denver

12 thoughts on “Gift from My Sister

  1. How lovely! Your sister gifted you and you gifted us. I enjoyed the playing, more so for the feeling of real.
    Hope your cross-country trip comes about. We’re on the way to Carlsbad so you can enjoy some Texas beauty too.
    PS The camera angle was inspired.


  2. Now I want to learn to play the piano!!
    Will you come and play for me so I can relax and fall asleep listening to your fingers play with the piano keys?
    I want you to take that trip ASAP. Tell Buck I said so; I’m sure that will cinch it for both of you!!??


  3. If you need a guide through the malpais and hidden country of West Texas and New Mexico I’m available very cheap! Just stop by Houston on your way west… We’re already planning a backpacking trip to Big Bend for the spring!


  4. How restful your music, and as has been mentioned, how real. Thank you.
    Now, if you come all that way, why not make it to Oregon, too? Crater Lake’s a beaut, and I know other pretty places besides. ;o)


  5. I lay my head on my desk and listened to the music tonight. I could see a little tiny girl, her feet dangling off the piano bench, playing her scales. Then the woodchuck song. So patiently, hour after hour she practiced. Advancing to Moonlight Sonata, and then, a teenage girl, so slim and beautiful, playing Rachmaniov’s Concertos just for me.
    I am nearly 70 years old. Tonight the woman that my sister has become is her gift to me. Flo


  6. Thanks Kathleen, Shaddy, Sid, Paula, Deanna and Leslie. And to Gullible, for the cool post at Gullible’s Travels. And Florice, my big sis, I love you, too. Thanks for your words. I saw my Blackberry blinking with your message in the middle of the night, and stayed awake another hour thinking about those long ago days.
    As for road trips and national parks, the idea of meeting up with you guys for a hike, some Texas brisket (Kathleen & Denny!), a cup of coffee, or a even a quick hello a roadside intersection would be a blast. We’re looking at the atlas and beginning to think about early to mid-May of 2010.


  7. Bravo, Bravo. I’m so glad that I can get an encore with just a click. You are an amazing woman whom is a master of many talents. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Buck is a lucky man.
    Talent must run in the family as Flo’s comment made this old Okie tear up. What a wonderful picture she painted with her words.


  8. Sweet! And interesting camera placement. That’s one thing about trumpet playing – practice sessions are a calisthenic, and you don’t/can’t just pick it up and play for pleasure. The only reward is with the ensemble.
    I’ve caught quite a bit of the Parks film. It’s an interesting reflection of our nation’s economic and psychological evolution (if that’s what’s actually happened).


  9. Beautiful, beautiful, Beth. You are a woman of many talents. First your words and now your music inspire me. Your blog is such a gift to the world. And your sister Flo’s comment made my eyes well up with tears. She shares your artisty with words.


  10. This was great, makes me miss my piano. I’ve never been very proficient but you’re right, there is something about playing late at night that makes it more alive. Thanks for the moment of inspiration.


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