Flowers grow. A seed falls, it sprouts, takes root, blooms. An insect pollinates it, the flower goes to seed, the cycle begins again. This is what flowers do.
Birds are hatched, fledge, find a mate, nest, lay eggs and the cycle begins. This is what birds do.
I bought this baby grand piano when my father helped me buy my first house. It was a long-time dream to learn to play and enjoy hours of music. This was 23 years ago. I have moved this piano eight times, three different states. I have never taken one lesson. I have bought reams of sheet music and taught myself to plink out a couple of tunes (“Simple Gifts”, “The Ash Grove”) but never learned chords. My father had been proud of me for pursuing this dream. But he never asked was I taking lessons nor took me to task about it. I was proud of it. Just having it I believed added a dimension to me that made me feel important. A false dimension. I gave it tangible importance to a relevant yet never fully realized relationship with my father. I grew up believing I was the family screw up, joke, the useful clown diversion when things went south. So this piano I believed gave me a credibility it could never give, especially since I could not play it.
So I have been burdened lately over this piano. Felt guilt, even. I have enjoyed it for these many years as a piece of furniture, covering it with smiling family photos, a favorite crystal bowl that was my mother’s, scattered pictures of rescue dogs. A musical instrument should be played, loved. Yet I had allowed it to be assumed into who I was, even extending the assumption to a connection with my father who passed away over 12 years ago.
Let it go.
I won’t say I hear voices but this was close. I had to disengage from a created aspect of my life that wasn’t real. It was hard. For a time as I mulled this over I regretted never learning to play. Disappointed that I may have even wanted to have it because my talented mother had played but because she had hated the years of lessons would not allow me as a child to have lessons.
Yet still, this was a piece of furniture virtually unused in any function except a superficial one of a very large coffee table.
After this grappling and deliberating, realizing this had to be a choice I made separate from anyone else’s wishes, and looking into the future— if I had already had the piano for so many years and never learned to play, how likely was it that I would ever learn?
So I separated myself from the false identity I had created. I let the piano go to a family of musical people who had always wanted one and would play it and love it and enjoy it as it should be enjoyed.
I suppose I will always keep a wisp of the dream of learning to play and the place where the piano was still surprises me when I walk into the room and it’s not there.
But I am no less without it.