Sunday, January 3, 2016

At Home in Harmony

Forest Floor Harmony, 9 x 12", watercolor/pastel on paper
We gathered for Thanksgiving with family at a West Virginia state park in the region where my mother and uncles grew up. I always view these visits as a kind of homecoming, where I am able to commune with my mother (she died in 2004). This interlude had a special quality because my young cousin is learning to play the violin and specifically, she is learning all the old favorites that we play and sing when my mother's family gets together. Because of Maggie's inspiration (and organization--she copied out sheets with lyrics for everyone to sing along) we had a couple of music sessions after our feasts. My usual instrument for such music making is the viola and I particularly like to harmonize with the old favorite melodies. What a rewarding experience this was! The senior generation lit up and and reminded us of how it is really done. The second night, Uncle Dave lead us all with his mandolin for an evening we will never forget.
          As we were experiencing this amazing grace, I had a sense of how at home I felt and how rewarding it is to be in harmony with one's surroundings. Thinking back to my childhood, I remembered that a first goal of mine was to learn to sing in harmony like my mother. This was a skill that I wanted to gain and I was so pleased when I was able to sing in this way with others. It was a rite of passage for me. The viola is also a harmonizing instrument and studying the viola and playing viola in ensembles strengthened my sense of harmony. I realized that harmony was a very early value of mine and one that persists into my seventh decade.
           In this new year, I am going to explore this value of harmony. How might living in harmony feel? And how does a purposeful harmony reflect out on the world and back to my sense of the world? This is what I will be thinking about in this new year of 2016.  Happy New Year!

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