Wisdom from the Harp
“For the elements changed places with one another,
as on a harp the notes vary the nature of the rhythm,
while each note remains the same.”
A friend reminds me this was in the scripture in morning prayer today. I read the first part of the Wisdom reading this morning, but missed this last part. I hope I won’t miss it next time, for this ancient verse so well describes music, but especially the harp. I began a journey with this classical instrument over thirty years ago when my daughter begged for a year to get a harp. The strings are the white keys of the piano, so if you understand the piano, it is easy. You lean the body against your body so you can not only hear the vibrations but you feel the music within you as well. The harp has taught me so many lessons about life other than the discipline of trying to master a technique for following and plucking the notes. When one string breaks, it is difficult to continue playing. Part of playing is knowing the relationships of each string to the other. Now there is a gap, large or small which changes the entire road map. I learn I must take the time to replace the string as soon as possible. Then of course it takes, days, weeks for that new string to stretch and be in tune. It must be “mentored” so to speak.
Almost every atmospheric condition changes the harp strings. Constant tuning is mandatory. My husband loves the old joke about harpist. We spend half our time tuning and the other half playing out of tune!
On this musical journey, the harp has become for me an icon for living and working in community. Its constant need for tuning reminds me how much I must try to stay current, learning and staying and in relationship with what is going on in the world around me. If I don’t, I become “out of tune” either too sharp or too flat.
I would love to hear from others about life lessons they have learned from a musical instrument.