I came home tonight in a bit of a funk. The rain was dripping from the spruce branches, and it was already dark outside. The music to Barrios’s La Catedral sat on my stand, neglected for months. But that first movement, played slowly, reminds me of the soundtrack one might hear in a movie, as the camera focuses on rain droplets trickling down a window pane. I pick up my guitar, fingers cramping into the upper frets for the first few bars. The high string cries in soprano, while thumb and finger pluck the harmonies. After 10 minutes my hands are spent after too many weeks of not playing, but it’s a start.
Use it or lose it – one of those universal lessons. It’s so easy to stop practicing something when other live events intrude – playing music, jumping a mountain bike. And the body, eager to conserve resources, begins to atrophy the neural-muscular network that enables these activities. One saving grace is that we never have to completely start over; the body retains echoes of memory, the fingers find their places without conscious thought. Yet, it’s frustrating to expect the experience to “flow,” and to have to stumble like a toddler learning to walk, brow furrowed in concentration as I remember how one foot goes in front of the other.
Blogging is another skill that atrophies with neglect; let’s see if I bring this back as a regular practice.