I got a guitar for Christmas. A few cigars and bottle of cologne would have been fine, but I will have to admit I was pretty surprised.
Three days later I have acquired a matched set of sore fingertips, attained a certain level of appreciation for the art of tuning a stringed instrument, and discovered a complete inability to contort the fingers of my left hand into any chord position other than the G Major.
Maybe, I mused while cracking my fingers yesterday before giving it another try, this was really a gift that had more metaphorical intent. Maybe it was like that symbolic broom people give each other to "sweep clean" before the new year. "Start the new year on a new note" might be the message. Or maybe it was a way to subtly suggest that I try to spend a little less time on the internet.
So I asked S. – “why a guitar?"
"Well," she said, "you seem pretty introspective – I just figured it would be something good for you to do. You did talk about getting one years ago, remember? And, if you get good enough, we can play together."
S. plays the piano. S. reads music. S. was on the band in high school.
Brown Man has done none of those things, and can often be found dancing at a tempo that is slightly off from the beat.
It is amazing, though, once I’ve gotten the thing tuned, to pluck the bottom string and hear the deep, rich "ooohhhmmm" reverberate through the whole body of the guitar. And I can now slide my sore index finger up and down the frets on the bottom string and the top string quick enough to establish a kind of rhythm with a constant tempo.
In the same vein, I hope the fine-tuning this blog has gone through over the last couple of weeks will allow my posts to have a deeper resonance with my regular readers and the larger community in the coming year.
So take these last few days of 2008 to call up the memories of those events and accomplishments that have resounded positively in your life over the last twelve months. Let your mind run up and down these recent high points the way I let my fingers crawl up and down the neck of my guitar, and you might just begin a cadence that will take you into 2009 on a high note.