This is my second extended stay in Cambria. The first was in seventh grade, when my mom and I lived here for a month to pursue “nature studies,” the science portion of our homeschool curriculum. While we were here, we became acquainted with the leaders of the Cambria Historical Museum, a 19th century home just off of Main Street that chronicles the town’s history through a gallery exhibit and a few restored rooms. I practiced the piano here every weekend for that month on an 1886 square grand. My mom has always told me not to practice, but to “visit the piano” so that we could become friends. Well, I became friends with that 1886 square grand.
A couple weekends ago, the piano and I were reunited. Five years later, the piano has fallen slightly out of tune, the pedal still squeaks, and the keys stick. It is 129 years old, after all. As I played through Claire de Lune, I began to feel frustrated; the beginning didn’t flow as smoothly as it usually does, the broken chords didn’t have the same ring, the pedal squeaked at the end of every arpeggio. By the final chord, I was disgruntled. And then I took a deep breath and reminded myself that the piano hardly ever gets played. Perhaps it’s odd, but I started to think of it having a personality (the two knots in the wood right above middle C do make it look like its peering out at me as I play). Anyway, I decided that the piano and I, together, would make this work. I have returned each weekend to play for a few hours. I use the pedal minimally and have decided to appreciate the unique quality the piece takes on. Maybe I’m acquiring a little bit of the ceramicist’s adaptability and patience about which I wrote previously, and not just in the studio….