Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bogart and a Violin

Photo: Ileana's cross-stitch 1992
A friend reminded me through a touching story that, despite the fact that we are experiencing heavy hearts each day as our country we love so much sinks further into depression, strife, and irreparable damage, we should take time to notice something beautiful in our lives every day. Some say that living well is the best revenge.  Is this revenge against the inexorable passage of time?

This morning, as always, I fed my purring cat, my 14 year old Bogart. He knows his name and perks up when I call him. While I clean his litter box with a mask on, he touches my legs with his snow white paws. His beautiful blue eyes stare at my face and my every move. Heavily co-dependent, he meows for attention the whole time. He is so old that not even the birds coming to the feeder outside seem to mind his presence – he has become part of the landscape, a garden statue, a former threat who is no longer eager to chase and kill anyone. I cannot imagine my mornings without him. He climbs the steps painfully in synch with my steps, not an inch ahead. He turns his head sideways to make sure I am right beside him like a child afraid to lose sight of his mom.

We make strange attachments in life. My former literature teacher in high school brought so much joy and light into our drab existence with his lively presence and his violin. The lovely instrument came to life when he touched the strings. He always chose a song he felt expressed the mood of the characters and the story line in the piece of literature we were studying. Some students, mischievous and immature, chuckled and snickered, while the rest of us were mesmerized. He filled my heart with music and made my imagination soar in the depth of despair and misery we lived every day. I felt like an eagle for a few minutes, soaring to freedom in the blue sky.

He took his violin everywhere. Sadly, I forgot his name, but etched in my memory are his snow white hair, his face, and his grey, well-worn, but impeccably pressed suit. His expressive eyes would close with the softer notes as if transported on the wings of an angel to a faraway place that brought him inner happiness and peace. I’d like to think that somewhere in Heaven my former literature teacher is playing music for the angels.

I sometimes close my eyes when I’m in the forest, surrounded by dense trees, wild flowers, and birds chirping. I hear a symphony of masterful sounds created by God and remember my teacher and his violin.

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