Through french doors of the great room, assisted by a few strong men, she comes in spring. I hover near, dust cloth in hand. Does she welcome this rescue from the tiny room where she was trapped, collecting dust, quilt patches, and stowed away canine treasures? Regardless, I intend to discover her potential. Closer inspection behind a removed front panel convinces me this is a vacuum job, a haven for dirt. Had it become the same for her? When neglected, did she take comfort in the bitter filth; disillusion herself with pride in the appearance of purpose, unused books on her rack? Did she despair in the bondage of a storage surface? Or did she hope, expect a revival?
Head in the dark depths I see the repairs. She was broken once. I wonder about her history, search for a name, then recruit a second set of eyes. We search her inside out. She’s lost her name in a refinishing. The only label she bears is for a used music shop, a barn no less, where she was restored and sold to the lovely vivacious woman who gave her to me. Hope for new life, given in a barn, on its second chance in spring. She belongs here with me, in my home where her previous name is irrelevant to her acceptance.
Receiving a piano at no charge other than the effort of removal allows no selection. However, she is more valuable to me than any prestigious pedigree, or elaborate style. Nostalgia for companionship of a musical instrument marks six months every time I inhabit a new home. And I am feeling the absence long enough. Seeing her here feels like a dream. Amazingly, she is the image of my imaginations.
A simple structure of straight lines and walnut hue, no elaborate moldings or deep cherry stain, she is the exact size, shape, colour, and price I desired for my home. I conclude I am the purpose for which she was originally designed. How many years has it taken her to arrive here? I think she is old. Is she grateful to be here? Our match is redemptive; a revival for us both. Though I rarely made use of previous cohabitation with a piano, I have the undeserved gift of her offering to join me to make music. And she, once restored, now has another occasion to sing. Is she as eager as I to do what she has always been intended? Is she fearful? Change is risky, sure to expose.
I reveal her keys, test her. Her response to my touch is clear sound complete to reverberations and jolting twangs, definitely, desperately out of tune. I recoil, should have expected as much. Her owner confessed she was too busy to play and her children never desired interaction. Ring of song goes sour when dust collects, unattended. I vow not to acclimatize to her discordance. But I soften with the pleasure of immersing myself in song. And she mellows with use.
I play more freely than I ever have, with an abandon I dreamed of when young, enrolled in piano lessons, and not motivated enough to practice, wasting away my potential, and parent’s financial contribution. We are not glorious. I stumble, loose my way, confuse the tempo, push down too hard upon her keys, overuse the pedal, vary my style very little, a decidedly underdeveloped pianist. My ability to play is as flawed as her tune, but we do not condemn each other. We know renewal will take time after wandering years. Together we rejoice, dare to sing imperfect praises for salvation. With abandon we do what we have not done for so very long, she make sound, I play regularly, affirming her presence and the decision to adopt her.
I will never excel at her keys, but I anticipate more from her. Though the name of her brand is still a mystery, she apparently resembles a Bell. If she is one, she will sound like the ring of hand bells. Or is it church bells? I can't remember. Sometimes she hints a ring beneath my touch. But it is lost in the receding twang of numerous dissenting strings. A retired piano teaching neighbor advised not tuning her until after the autumn house heat is started to extend the retention of her sound. Until then I use her to camouflage my unrefined mastery. But some day her response will be my revealing. Her sound will be the witness of my interaction, whether my fingers on her keys or my finances buying tunings.
For now we dream, anticipating the next steps of this revival from a broken new life to renewed living, offering the music of heaven to the maestro of souls, together testifying of a permanent tuning to come, that never deteriorates in air of our Designer’s presence. One look at Him will produce the gospel song of His glorious goodness. Sigh.