Teaching Phoenix to Climb
It has been a few days since I last wrote to you, but something amazing has happened. I am in Alta, Wyoming attending the wedding of a good friend of mine. She wanted my shadow songs to accompany her wedding on the top of a mountain facing Grand Teton. It is beautiful.
To arrive at ceremony spot, I have to ride a ski lift to the top. This is a new experience for me, and you seemed to be upset with me pushing you for this new experience. I know it is you, Phoenix, that makes possible the shadow songs I play, but it is also you that makes my body not want to seek adventure. Knowing I would have to push you, I rode the ski lift twice yesterday, each time helping us regulate the experience together.
The first ride up the lift, my body was tingly and my stomach vibrating. The experience of travel the day before already had me reaching for the tummy meds, but this was pushing you over the edge. You began to burn, blurring my vision with bright shades of yellow, white, orange, and red. The ground moved far away, and the texture on the trees pulsated. You wanted to cry and run away, but I wouldn’t let you.
I counted the ticks of time in my head, an echo in my mind’s ear of the grandfather clock at my parent’s house. I pushed you hard to take in the views of the mountains, and bow to the Aspen trees that applauded us with their leaves. By the end of the first ride up, I knew you were ready to burn down the house we live in. You got brighter and louder, almost obscuring my vision totally as we left the landing pad and headed down the mountain. It was a friend on the lift with us that added deep compression to my shoulders, saving me from displays of rocking and hand rubbing.
I knew I needed to do it again, so we headed up for the rehearsal, this time with Giuseppe (my violin) in tow. With a violin on one shoulder, and deep compression from a friend on the other, this time the ride was more pleasant. Anxiety turned to excitement. Now it was an adventure and you were on board.
After the lift arrived at the landing pad atop the mountain. I walked with the wedding party to the edge of the mountain, with a clear view of Grand Teton just behind us. The shadow songs began to dance and once again Phoenix and me were one. I played for the bride, and I think she was happy. After, I walked Giuseppe to a pointy edge, and stood upon a rock. I started to play but the wind pushed my bow off the strings. I knew the wind wanted me to sing to the snow filled creavases of Grand Tenton, so I turned 10 degrees east and played out loud.
Just then, the wind reached out with its soft hands and cradled the music that Guiseppe sent to her. The notes bounced and scattered upon her back until they spread like waves of light upon the mountain face. The mountain was so happy, she kept the notes, never sending them back to my ear.
We rode down the mountain, and Phoenix was at peace. My tummy calmed, and my mind was content. You see, adventure is the hinge-pin of human growth. I can now say, “Phoenix and I played the shadows to Grand Tenton, and the mountain gave us her peace in return.”
The wedding is today and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.