Beeline with me to the solarium: weathered brick, hardwood. An echo chamber.
One whole room for a lonesome grand piano.
(Not musical? Immaterial. Welcome to Daydream Central.)
The lid, when raised, tilts like a raven’s wing. Ivories glow. Go on, ease onto the bench. Limber your hands. Now . . .
Pick a note, any note. And depress the sustain—that rightmost pedal‚ outlined in gold.
Sustain captures the sound of each key we touch, moving the dampers away from the strings, letting them ring and ring until the final vibration recedes into silence. With each struck note all the strings sympathetically vibrate.
Sustain blends and extends sound (and time) beyond what fingers can humanly reach in a given moment.
And sustain responds to our singular touch.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Most people go to their grave with their music inside them.”
BUT you—yes you—are already a psalm of water that shivers with light.
“Notes all, we ring, sustained, vibrating forever.
All of everything is a symphony,
and no created thing has ever heard the fullness of it.”*
Poet/theologian Paul J. Pastor wrote those words. Creating a litany of evidence in response seems fitting.
Maestro of All, I have heard You . . .
… in the riff of a robin, the bubbling anthems of quail
… in autumn wind, and the patter of leaves
… in the faithful hum as the furnace kicks on in the dark
… in the welcoming mirth of dogs
… in my granddaughter’s version of “God Bless America” . . . dad that I love; stand beside her, in a diaper . . .
… in my father’s “Well done”; my mother’s “You’re home!”; my quiet sibling’s “I forgive you”
… in the poems of Susan Cowger
… in that hollow, answering thump of a warm, yeasty loaf
… in the predawn gargle of roosters in rural Thailand
… in the holy hush of former East Germans, after sharing aloud in a group without fear of reprisal
Dear Maestro, we listen as numberless sounds blend, sustained by grace, underscoring our lives.
The litany never ends. How will you sustain it?
Friends, will you chime in with a new line?
You might also like this from the archives: Shelf Life: First Edition
*Paul J. Pastor’s book, The Face of the Deep, inspired this post. He enumerated places he has seen glimpses of God. What if we list inspiring instances of taste? Touch? Scent? Will you try your own litany?