Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Value of Downtime


We had absolutely nothing planned today except church, which is my goal for at least one day every weekend. Rhubarb played her violin for the prelude, a lovely Ave Maria. How she does it, at 11, with such poise and grace, nary a hint of nerves, I cannot say. It might be her superpower, that and lulling babies to sleep. And yelling really loudly. And running super fast. But mostly it's her lack of nerves.

But that's not why I am here.

I am here because the kids all had different ideas about what they wanted to do after church: go swimming, go for a bike ride, go to the library, etc. These were all fine ideas, ones we would normally choose. We were tired, though (Blueberry, at one point during church, whispered that she thought she might take a "kitty nap".). We sort of dragged our heels getting ready to go anywhere until our plans just organically flew out the window.

Then the magic happened.

Inspired by the show HotNerd and I saw for our anniversary date last night, "Keep a Song in Your Soul: the Black Roots of Vaudeville", we downloaded the music of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. We also sat together and watched several of their performances on YouTube. The next thing we knew, instruments were flying and music was flowing.

Eggplant, who has been around the block with a few instruments in his lifetime, appreciating them all, but never fully committing, sat with HotNerd's banjo and watched some instructional videos to learn to finger pick. While he was doing this, the girls watched musical numbers from "Wicked" on YouTube. Then Rhubarb, with Rhiannon Giddens, a multi-talented vocalist and instrumentalist, her new hero, tried her hand at it. Not surprisingly, she picked it up quickly.

After a few hours of this, HotNerd joining in as well, we all took an unplanned break to do the wii. We took turns on the ski jump and slalom, cheering each other on (and maybe navigating a few arguments).

Then the instruments came out again. This time Blueberry decided she'd like to write a few of her own fiddle pieces. She wrote down the notes, played them on her fiddle (I use "play" loosely here), and improvised several sung verses (fantastic ones with made-up lyrics like "High in the Buttermilk /High in the Row /High in the Buttermilk with old St. Paul") with Eggplant joining her on the banjo. It was loud, to be sure, but the gregariousness of it all made the decibels tolerable.

Had we done any one of the activities from the proposed list, we probably would have had a fine time. Given the space to relax and just be, though, every one of us took some time to work our creative muscles. In the end, we had more than a fine day; we had a rather special, passionate day together.

And we came up with a name for our little band to boot: The little Island Folk. Opening soon.





1 comment:

TerryEdlin said...

Wow!! Sorry to have missed it. Being the great mom that you are, and dad that Peter is, empowers your children to bestow their gifts on a world that needs every morsel of them.

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