A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault. ~John Henry Newman, English theologian and poet
Because of the pandemic, I haven’t had a flute lesson in months, and I’ve missed it.
It’s bad enough practicing the same pieces assigned to me back in early March; but knowing that I might have slipped into bad form/habits without somebody to supervise me is worrisome.
So we remedied the situation, being extra-cautious with safety guidelines.
No, you can’t wear a mask and blow a flute.
But we were able to maintain a six-foot distance, and we opted to do our lesson outdoors.
In the park.
‘There’s a pavilion for shade,’ my teacher told me when we were making plans.
‘I’ll bring some clothespins to hold the music down,’ I said.
Lesson Day arrived, and I was there first. But so was a large gathering, and they were ensconced at the pavilion.
Maybe it was a family reunion. Maybe a graduation party.
Certainly not a wedding, for the participants weren’t formally dressed.
Regardless, my heart started pounding.
Strangers were going to listen to me practice?
Well, my teacher arrived and suggested we hike through the park to a grove of oak trees to set up.
‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Can I put out a tin cup so somebody can toss in a few coins? I don’t like playing for free.’
She laughed and reminded me how beautiful a flute sounds, especially outdoors.
‘And I’ll bet there’s not a one of them that can play,’ she added.
I’d just started long tones when several men arrived for batting practice on the diamond behind me.
At every crack! I felt like a baseball was going to smash through my head.
‘Relax,’ my teacher said. ‘I’m watching to make sure we’re safe.’
Eventually, I succumbed to the music, tuning out thoughts of perfection.
There I was, a gentle breeze at my face and the sun at my back, playing a duet (Pachelbel’s Canon in D) with my teacher and a Handel Sonata solo.
Nobody clapped, but then, nobody tossed rotten tomatoes either!