The Power Of Music and Friends

Remember the phrase, “been down so long it looks like up to me?”
Well, on that long elevator ride up from the depth of the doldrums, there are several tools for uplifting which rival the rising contrivance Otis made available to us dwellers of many levels.
Consumed with whatever present challenge currently puts our lights out; makes us feel like there’s not much bright in tomorrow, feeds the mistaken, gerbil-cage-spinning thoughts that there will never be any way to rise through to some distant above.
Life after chemical contamination, added to physical and daily life challenges has constructed a new basement in the house of me.
It’s no view from a bridge, I can tell you. Waist level looks like the Himalayas and a knee high breeze is enough to fell me.
Bed and couch grab me; suck me in with a siren call as the energy of coping flails and flags.
This is coming from a person who can find the proverbial pony in a room full of horse pocky or a ray of sunshine in a gunmetal grey overhead.
The season of change has lingered long and life’s menu is crowded with less than palate pleasing entrees of passings, crises, catastrophes, calamities, leaderless leadership, hell for health and weird weather.
A new book of grief is being written in the Akashic records like acid etchings on our hearts.
And yet when I can move myself off flattened to floor to peek in my toolkit, the lamp of hope glimmers, however dimming, enough to shed light on the bottom of the bag for me to see a friend or two, hear music, or glimpse an Angel waiting patiently for its moment to be of service.
Last night was one of those rare eves of enlightened moments, strung together like sparkling precious gems in moonlight of a black velvet sky.
My partner and I pushed past pain and frustration to get out the door to go meet our friend, Heide, in the city for dinner before seeing out of town friends perform a recital of classical music for piano and violin.
We were like trains converging from different tracks; she coming from work in Manhattan and us schlepping in hours of traffic from the suburbs to the city, yet all of us thinking a sigh, unbeknownst to the others, “I can get through it all. At least at the end of this day there will be lovely, soothing music.”
Concerned with the pain of sitting too long with a spinal disc out of alignment, Tom was thinking an added, “At least there will be Thai food.”
He dropped me off at the restaurant, a pleasant, simple aromatic space. Good sign. If you can smell the cooking pulling you in, disembodied on the waves of fragrant spices, you generally have a good inkling that there will be some pleasure, however fleeting, ameliorating the hammer on the anvil.
Heide was waiting, already at a table laid out with menus, water and welcoming energy.
Tom drove off to find his precious on-street parking to which his Angels guide him, mostly with a few turns around the block to whet his appetite for the reward of perfect space for patience.
It didn’t take long for us to dive into hugs, catching up, in depth conversation that only comes with the deep connection of ageless family-of-choice; and Lemongrass Chicken, Tamarind Duck, Massaman Curry, fresh Basil Rolls and Curry Puff Pastry. Over aromatic tea, spirits lifted out of a seemingly bottomless basement of depression to the first and second floors of rays of relief.
Then off we cabbed to the concert.
My excitement at seeing and hearing the dear friends, who years ago came into my life through another mutual friend to accompany my singing at her San Francisco wedding, mounted as we entered the hall.
Added to that was my child-like delight at finally introducing them to my beloved, Tom, and sister in light, Heide, who only knew the pianist, Nancy, through G-Mail, our years-old, online circle of gratitude.
They’d come to know one another in the unique focus on expressing thanks each day and yet had not met face to face. I was giggly with glee at the prospect of connecting the dots of these Angels in my life.
Up the cubicle-with-floor-indicators rose another level.
Next there was meeting concert pianist, Gila Goldstein, President of the New York chapter of the American Liszt Society, who was bringing us all together in the completion of her task of arranging this concert.
Warm in e-mail and welcoming in person, she shone with a lilting light of her own as she introduced the evening’s program.
Another half floor fell away with a glide.
In the next moment, there were my friends, suited and soft velvet, glammed up, sharing center stage only feet in front of me after so many years.
I could barely contain my elation.
“How could she be more glamorous or he sweeter faced with the passage of time?” I thought as she adjusted her seat, poised her hands over the ebony and ivory keys and he lifted bow to string for their opening volley of an earfest of magical proportions.
It took me practically the entire first selection to get through the joy and awe radiating through me on the round robin of musical notes and words spinning round my head, “These are my friends making this magnificent music!”
Glancing at Heide and Tom gave me smiling confirmation that they were well on the enjoyment elevator.
I gave myself over completely to the sensuous sounds of the rhythms, chords and melodious march of the music.
Jose Cueto, making a single, shaped box of wood sound like several sets of sensational strings and Nancy Roldan, flying across keys tinkling soft light and roaring waves to carry us to heights we’d forgotten possible; ascended our glass elevator to the Heavens. The César Franck Sonata in A major, allegretto ben moderato, brought us to heart overflowing, eye-brimming tears.
I breathed in the music like air.
Playing together and each taking solo turns, they wound an evening of joyous healing; uplifting energy to float us out of our seats, bodies and earthly cares; transporting us on the alae of the magic of music beyond dreaming.
Ground fell away, roof disappeared and a stunning recognition of profound gifts put to use obscured daily denseness and debilitation.
Aha! I realized in the afterglow of crescendo into echoes and applause to silence; in the hugs and hellos and later gathering at a nearby restaurant, sharing fellowship, food and fun; not only was I not out of tools, the ones in the bottom of the bag were far beyond fine.
I looked around the long table at the happy faces of old friends and new; each haloed in a pool of soft, golden light; 12 of us joined later by 1 to make a brilliant baker’s dozen; trading funny tales; exchanging enjoyment of work; talking music, art, life- and saw Angels on Earth.
Friendship, music, good conversation shared over robust bread dipped in rich olive oil, sparkling water and wine, laughter and the warm energy of being together; gifts shared. With the recognition of these, it is possible to lift out of down in the dark; to be balanced by light which constructs our escalator elite; our stairway to Heaven and metamorphoses a lift into a transcendevator.
With these illuminating implements, in the tiers of the skyscraper of us, it’s not that far from the basement to the penthouse.
On the power of music and the feathers of love of our Earth Angels whom we call friends, it is possible to soar with new wings.

For cds and further information on the concert piano and violin talents of Nancy Roldan and José Miguel Cuerto, please visit www.nancyroldan.com

For further information on the American Liszt Society, please visit http://www.americanlisztsociety.org

For further information on Gila Goldstein, please visit www.gilagoldstein.com

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