Poly, my muse, has become rather enamored with the Wordles on “The Sunday Whirl.” She seems to take over on Tuesdays, and today is no exception. This week’s Wordle, #61 is:
Through the stage door, the players arrive.
Instrument cases in one hand, they use the other
to pull their winter coats tighter, to hold in some warmth –
some last-minute protection from the draft of
cold air that chases them through the old, creaking door,
too slowly closing behind them. Each one rushes ahead inside
to find some warmth; some quiet place to be alone,
to prepare for this concert, the last of the winter season.
Cases are unzipped, unlatched; the sound an undercurrent
to the shuffling of feet across the old wooden stage floor,
worn and grooved in places by other instruments,
other musicians, each floor board bearing the trace of the
thousands who had walked upon it through the decades.
The jangling racket of chairs and music stands being moved,
chairs being shifted, dwindles to the muffled refrain of
instruments being tuned, bows tightened and rosined.
Spare strings are stashed beneath the string players’ chairs
in case of random breaks. Fingers are warmed and
exercised by the artists of brass and woodwinds, ceasing
only when the concert master taps lightly on his stand,
drawing the attention of the musicians to the need for silence
drawing his bow across the “A” string of his own perfectly tuned instrument.
The odd refrain begins again, each instrument being tuned around
the magic tone, the note around which all tune together, matching
the sounds with one another, through years of practice and their
ears for music, for hearing, knowing, and remembering – all are used
to create the perfect blend. No sooner are they readied than
the choral singers tramp in, climbing to their places on the risers
elevated behind the orchestra. They carry with them their folders
of music, shuffling through the pages within to find their place,
chattering among themselves, some vocalizing lightly, nervously.
The choir master enters quickly, issuing last-minute instructions,
“Breathe deeply, exhale slowly, relax your jaws. Stand erect,
shoulders down, expand your diaphragm to control the breath
that fills your lungs, and puffs out your chest. Listen to one another.
Remember to stay alert, sing through your hearts – and
watch the maestro. All will go well. You are well prepared.”
He confidently strides off the stage, and waits for
the curtain to be raised, for the Maestro to enter and take
his bows before the concert begins.
The Maestro is known for his often unpredictable temper. The
choir and orchestra wait to see how he will be tonight.
He lifts his baton, strikes it against his podium, a sign for musicians
and audience alike to be silent. Giving to his instrumentalists just
one sweeping upbeat, he lifts his head to the orchestra’s back row.
In perfect time, the jolting crack of the timpani, the crash of cymbals,
Maestro relaxes. No sign of volatility, he leans into the music, and as the
choir begins, he no longer needs a score. The music has its own
will to carry everyone along in the wake of the composer’s voice and vision.
And when the last vibration of every note is lost in the air,
there remains, still, the music, implanted in the heart,
rooted in the mind, to be recalled as needed, for a while,
before the music becomes, once more, mere dots and lines,
and awaits another time, another Maestro, other musicians,
perhaps a newer stage. It will keep within it, as long as needed,
its own unique resonance until the next cold wind
hurries other musicians through another stage door.
My Gentle Readers, I wish you all enough. . .