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For the fifth anniversary of Alamance CreekMusic
(July 2003), I have added this section to provide some images
to pair up with at least a few of the pieces stored here. I have
wanted to do this for some time, but kept putting the idea aside....
until a small event finally motivated me.
In the sping of 2003, a wild bird built a natural
nest in a wreath of woven branches on my piano teacher's front
door. When I first saw it as I arrived for a lesson, I recalled
my piece "A Place for Everything" (which had actually
been written after I saw a perfectly circular spider's web across
the top of a garden bucket). A picture of the nest on that wreath
didn't work out, but I started collecting more images in my daily
rounds...some that I knew actually inspired particular pieces
(like the Sunflower field)...or that I thought connected to certain
pieces. Then, it occurred to me that I might also be able to use
old photos I had already taken, the kind we all have in a cookie
tin or cardboard box, and so I emptied those on the bed to see
what would happen.
I had forgotten until I saw them again: how Nature's
power sometimes forces the veil of ordinary life to flutter and
to yield a brief opening so we can glimpse beyond. Then, our artforms
allow us to convey and re-ignite the human responses to such moments.
We've all had the experience of stepping for an instant outside
the stream of ordinary "knowing," and when we make some
form of record, it is in the hope that we can safekeep the glimpse
so that whenever the record is seen or heard, at least some part
of the original experience will return again.
Apparantly every day that we live on this side of
the realm, we pass by it, hidden in some hill or field nearby,
while our minds occupy themselves with tasks to do, meals to eat,
and all those challenges of survival. But have you noticed that
the routine duties all blur and fade in later recollections? What
if that was all you kept from your passing time? I think the sum
of "truer" moments feeds what comes out of the soul
eventually as music, whether we write or interpret another's pieces.
At any rate, I found that snapshots taken years ago worked as
music images just like those made "intentionally" after
I got the idea from the birdnest. I decided I could pick out photos
in response to thinking of pieces, as well as I could think of
pieces from the experience of knowing certain places.
I love nature, and I love the piano. Having this
website allows me to combine them. What a great thing to have
access to such an invention! Anyway, the size of the files had
to be small to save loading problems from my unrealiable modem
connection, and that made the images less polished, even accidentally
a bit more like paintings....which is okay, since this is all
about impressions more than science. In case anyone wonders "where
are the humans?" by the way: they are there. All but a few
of the wilder subjects show -or at least imply- our human presence
in some way (and I only got to the wild places because of the
roads we have built).
I believe the things I found are no more special
than those you can find wherever you live. Mainly, I hope the
collection conveys from my small corner of it, a trace of that
infinite realm we can only know with a special sense. I believe
it is just outside and underneath the surface world and that it
can come through the most ordinary reality once we develop the
sense that finds it.
Thoughts on the subject of one piano piece:
....a wind drifting seed
Some people call them stars in the grass; some people
think you can make a wish on them. The humble dandelion. Although
despised by many, the dandelion is cherished by others. To herbalists,
it is considered a nutritious healing herb with a medicinal reputation
dating back more than 1,000 years. By roadside or mountainside,
it flowers every month of the year throughout the world, a fitting
symbol of life. Even for those of us who live with humble talents,
may all our best works take flight....like those symbolic seeds,
we never know where they will land.