Saturday, March 12, 2016

Of Weather, Piano, and Accidental Caffeine Dependency

A year ago, I was a polar bear sliding across the icy terrain of my yard. This year, the weather has been just as temperamental, alternating between the usual freezing temperatures of early March and the warmth of late spring. I prefer the latter. Walking to work in the cold is never fun for me, but I do recognize the beauty of the cold, for if not for red tipped noses and ears, I might not remember to love the kiss of the warming sun on my cheek. On the days when the weather has been pleasant, I walk for about an hour. It's a learning experience in some ways. I'm able to examine myself apart from the constricting world of concrete and right angles, where I am just me. I have learned and been reminded of the following.

  • Wild flowers in late winter make me laugh with joy.

  • I have a habit of addressing the animals I talk to as Beautiful. (No. They do not talk back.)

  • Finding an armadillo makes me ridiculously happy for some unknown reason.

  • Downhill was made for running down with reckless abandon.

  • God's magic and miracles are everywhere, from the enchanted threads of spiderwebs to the ground that supports the weight of my overflowing heart.

  • Outside heals wounds I don't remember I have.

When I'm not outside, I tend to be easily found near a piano, having finally begun learning to play this year. I've been a singer for years, but the piano has always held an enchantment for me. When I was a child, my mother would play piano in our house very rarely, but every time she did, I would hurry over to her as fast as my little legs would carry me. Sometimes, I would sit on the piano bench next to her until I couldn't make myself hold still any longer, but more often, I would dance, imagining a prince or just spinning in endless circles to the point that I either sat down or fell over from dizziness. She would play more often at my great grandmother's home, or my aunt would play. After they left that piano, I would scramble onto the bench and try to play like they had, my feet swinging in the air. Short, disconnected melodies would stumble from my finger tips, but as time went on, I seemed to create more dissonance than harmony, and I eventually left the piano to itself. Even my attempt to teach myself to play when I was in junior high was short lived.

This past fall, I was brought back to the piano, largely by Wolfe. He was a new friend who one day mentioned that he was going to go practice piano, and on a whim, I asked if I could come listen. Eventually, I would regularly join him when he went to practice. As he learned on YouTube to play new pieces of slowly increasing difficulty, I sat on the floor in the corner of the practice room, my head leaning back against the wall, and the piano wrapped me in its familiar voice, singing its ballads and lullabies. Wolfe has told me that he probably would have eventually stopped practicing if I hadn't been coming to listen. Without him, I likely would never have considered trying once more to learn the songs of the piano. Currently, we're taking a beginning level class together, and I am loving it. I find myself increasingly fond of three four time, waltzes in particular, but other pieces as well.

I have officially fallen in love with the piano once more. My sister was apathetic as to this development. However, once I mentioned to her that I was hoping to eventually be able to play theme music from our favorite anime (in particular Mikoto Suoh's theme from K Project), she took a sudden interest in my progress. I look forward to being able to play it for her eventually, but also to be able to play it myself, feeling the motion of the sound and letting it flow through me like electricity through wires.

Also of recent interest, I ran out of my usual morning herbal tea in early January. Mornings, cold ones in particular, tend to be rather hard to face without a warm cup of tea. In the face of the void my herbal left behind, I utilized a box of black tea for the rest of the month. It wasn't too different until I simultaneously ran out of the black tea and gained more of my usual herbal. The Monday I switched back was merely groggy at first, but eventually I became convinced that either my skull was attempting to liquefy or some kind of heavy gremlin was doing its best to wrap its jaws around my head. By evening, I had a low level migraine that was barely fended off by the caffeine in soda. The next day was marginally better, but still painful. That Wednesday, I decided that if my skull was going to throw a temper tantrum, I was not going to give it what it wanted. Thus, I have quit caffeine all together, including black teas and most sodas. I'll likely return to my previous ways in a few weeks (oh how I miss my usual dark sodas and the occasional black tea), but I don't plan on drinking black tea every morning anymore. Coffee is an absolute no. I refuse to start that habit. No matter how lovely it smells, I cannot abide the taste.