The Present

The notes dropped softly into the quiet air of the darkened room, falling easily like thick snowflakes on a wintry and wood-smokey night.  They slid sometimes in icy wonder up the scales and tinkled down again and pattered along the floor like a baby’s footsteps as he’s learning to walk, all wobbly-legged and unsure, patting his bare toes in sprinkled notes and laughs of fancy and then.  They remind the man of a music box that used to sit on the shelf in other babies’ rooms in days and nights of a past that is thin and fleeting.  Cars and cars pass and the furnace clicks on and a smell of warm dust and human dander swirls against the cold walls as another tune steps from the stereo and moves him further along and into the night.  The muted lights from something moving on the quiet television that glow through his closed eyelids make him wonder for a second why it’s on, but then it doesn’t matter…as the notes keep rising and falling like a tiny heartbeat.  A tiny heartbeat that is just below the other notes and endures with its tender strength and doesn’t go away even when the music ends, that one little note that lay underneath and within and kept on with its steady, un-fading ping ping ping ping, and then, that heartbeat.  There is an Indian running swiftly in tinkling notes of raindrops and teardrops of gentle cadence, a rushing of golden tango-notes like freckles falling on a fair and tender face, and a person dining alone in a happy sadness that isn’t sad, with a movement and sway that comforts and soothes in its quietude. They are notes in their touching caress and the passing of the minutes and hours of a night that lure the man into a wakeful sleep where his heart beats slow and calm and there is nothing else, just the song.

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8 responses

  1. Nut Balls

    Wow, Dad, I can’t even describe how that makes me feel. I feel so honored that you find such peace listening to my music. I don’t know if it was your intent, but where you say “as the notes keep rising and falling like a tiny heartbeat. A tiny heartbeat that is just below the other notes and endures with its tender strength and doesn’t go away even when the music ends, that one little note that lay underneath and within and kept on with its steady, un-fading ping ping ping ping, and then, that heartbeat”, all I can think of is my sweet boys inaudible heartbeat that never actually left us…and it nearly brings me to tears.

    Thank you so much for your words. They deeply gratify my soul 🙂

    November 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    • Yes, Nate, that’s what your music does…always has. Thank you. And yes, your Little One’s heartbeat…still there, and there. 🙂 You are welcome for my words…always.

      November 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm

  2. Mom

    No one can say it like you – no one. And no one can put it to music like our Nut…little, left-handed Nutballs.

    And that baby…there through the whole thing. How beautiful is that?

    November 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    • Yes, our little left-handed Nutballs and his incredible music…and his baby’s heartbeat through it all. It’s righteous, even. 🙂 Thank you, Lori Kim.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:14 am

  3. what an amazing combination of words – you truly have a gift, dad. not knowing the details of what inspired you to write this wonderful post i figured it to be something totally different. the comments from others have filled in those details for me..

    i wish at times my life & family were more interesting… when i read posts like this and their comments, it is how it makes me feel – sorry.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:41 am

    • Thank you for your nice words, Josh…very touching. And you do have a very busy and interesting life as you’re pursuing your goals. You are very much loved, and missed when you can’t be with us. 🙂

      November 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm

  4. jason

    Exceptional piece you have here…

    December 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

    • Thank you, Jason. 🙂

      December 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

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