I am increasingly aware of how I am affected by weather: the day to day changes influence my perception thinking, ties me into the past and gives me context for the future. This past week, in my humble opinion, was excruciating. Finally done with teaching for some time off, the first thing I did on monday morning was throw my back out. What I did? let my guard down. No garden work. The temperature spiked into the 90’s. Very depressing to me: had to spend most of the time indoors, and was not relaxing at all. On Friday, the temps dropped, yesterday was pleasant, and this morning woke to the sound of rain. Very comforting, a light soaking rain that the plants drink in heartily. My beans were rejoicing! Took a dog walk, when there was a pause and slight sun. Into my mind came an eternal anthem ” after the Rain” by John coltrane.
This is mostly a “spring song” to me, so it was unusual to conjure this song in late July. So be it. I decide to hear it, maybe take a photo to post. Watched a you tube video of some humble young man play the song on a Rhodes, very thoughtfully, taking his time. Impressive. On impulse, I started watching a ” video poem” on the same song. I think it was from Germany. The beginning was compelling, large shots of the stormy ocean calming down. Then it devolved into shots of his sweetie ( perhaps) her navel, some guy drinking wine on the beach, and I turned off the pictures, and just listened again. I was going outside to take my own photo of rain on plants to post, and it has clouded up again. Just as well.
I am reclaiming the vision of the song for myself, my own personal images. Not to go too far in criticizing the photos of our German friend,but I am realizing that some things cannot be shared universally. At least for that song, for me, has a deep, almost religious feeling. I used to think that I should never play it. I have messed around with it, but not performed it. But hearing that young man take the essence of it ( mysterious pedal points) and play with grace and dignity gave me new hope to learn, really learn this piece. Some pieces really hit you. There are two choices: worhship it from afar, or incorporating it into your musical life. I am not telling anyone what to do. There are Chopin,Beethoven, Scriabin, Hovhaness pieces, that move me, which are light-years beyond my piano skill set. I will probably never play them. But, while I am generally clumsy, I am studying that simple piano piece in em by Chopin ( is it Opus 40? I don;’t think that way…. you know the one with dense chords, a simple, simple melody, with so much heartache in it….it almost resolves, then doesn’t. I study this one, may never play it out. ” After the Rain”, is going to be deep to study. I feel that I can finally play it without destroying it.