Sunday, April 11, 2010
Handmade, hand-knit, hand-sewn, hand-raised, hand-painted, hand-fed, hand-lettered, hand-spun. I believe in the power of my own two hands and what they can accomplish. Last Sunday, after a fabulous Easter brunch featuring eggs from the very chickens dancing about in the yard, my family and I stopped at our Nearby Department Store for watches for all of us. T had obliterated his and M wanted one just to wear around and I needed to replace one that had died. (Not that I've been without a watch, but the black band on my current one just doesn't go with everything.) Each of them chose digital, the same style in fact. I opted for an analog with a very large face. I've now been teased as having bought the Large Print version, and that you can tell the time on my watch from across the room. Nevertheless, I like it. I find its impreciseness and the sweep of the hands comforting, rather than the cold instantaneous switching of the numbers of their watches. Yes, you can set them to ring at a certain time, say 4:34 each day, and I do find the little ping they make at the top of the hour helpful, but it's just not my style. If given the choice I will always desire the item that others find old-fashioned and outdated. At the Library we have a grandfather clock that has stood there marking time for many, many years. It needs to be hand wound and isn't so accurate anymore, so we don't really make use of it. To me it stands as a reminder of a time gone by, when everything depended on craftsmanship and handiwork. What have you done with your hands this week?
Tallis is learning the piano. Here he's playing my mother's piano, the same piano that used to live in my aunt and uncle's house. Before it was my aunt and uncle's house, it was the Peterson's house, and this was the Peterson's piano, and they were our neighbors when we lived next door at Forges Green, when I was a child. They watched me when I came home from school while my parents were still at work. The Petersons had three children in their family, like I have three children now. All of them played instruments - horns, flutes, banjos, in addition to the piano - and the house was often loud and chaotic with music and voices shouting over one another and sudden big plans like raising cows or building tree houses. An only child, I noticed all the tiny, competitive slights and the natural motions of sibling loyalty that were absent in my own quiet, peaceful house. Now my house is often chaotic with music and voices shouting over one another, and my boys have their own patterns of competition and forgiveness, and my house is rarely...peaceful. But occasionally Tallis will pick out a sweet melody on our own piano and his brothers will fall quiet, and for a moment I will have both houses, one that is boisterous and splendid and one that is splendid and serene.