Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Guest Post by Donna VanderGriend

Our good friend and published authoress, Donna VanderGriend, is honoring us with 6 weeks of guest posts for our Wednesday posts.   Here is "Four Generations on Capturing the Moment, Part Three."  Join us next Wednesday for Donna's second series. 

3.  Betraying Sunset  

A grandparent’s ears can sometimes lend impetus to a practice session.  Ten-year-old Caleb pulls his saxophone from its case, adjusts the reed, and begins tooting out the assigned Ode to Joy by Beethoven.  He moves on to Bach and Haydn and the Six-Note Blues, each followed by my uncritical, enthusiastic applause.  Buoyed by affirmation, he asks if I want to hear the sax song he himself wrote.  I am nonplussed and yes!-giving.  I watch him take out his thick music manuscript notebook with the stave-lines and open it to page one.  The first line of notes is preceded by his hand-drawn treble clef and a little b flat sign followed by so many notes I am in awe of the patience of this boy who is otherwise too busy to commit to fine motor movements.  Underneath the first several bars of notes, he has drawn an elongated bracket with his composer’s note:  coming up.  “This is a song about the sun,” he introduces and then poises his fingers above the stops and buttons of his brass horn.

Midway the music goes much higher and four-notes-to-a-count faster, the climax of high noon.  Every now and then he lifts one hand off his saxophone to show me what level the sun is in its orbit, playing the matching music one-handedly for a few moments.  This ‘opera of the orb’ ends in a cascading, downhill-minor-key-slide as the sun goes under, but there is no final-sounding note because the sun doesn’t end; it simply disappears.

“What’s the name of your composition, Caleb?”  I ask.

             “Betraying Sunset,” he answers, “because it doesn’t stay with you.  It always goes away.”  Capturing any moment in time is fraught with impossibilities.  Thanks, though, my grandson…for trying.


his mom said...

you know this makes my heart melt... right? He writes poetry now, and draws every day... and plays guitar... apparently part of his soul is QUITE drawn to fine motor movements;)... great or small, all movements of the soul are... movements.

Caleb said...

was I really that good?