You whisper my name and the slumber-mist clears; softly, quietly. A hushed breath gently strokes my hair. This nearness of you, mum, is enough, I tell myself. Half-murmuring this reassurance, my faith leaps in an ascending arpeggio, and I surrender to its gift. Yes, it really is enough. And now, in a perfect symphony, the sounds and sweet scents of dawn trickle through the blue sugar-spun clouds.
A smile strokes my face; caresses my shoulders. I soak it all in: the cicadas purring their welcome, and the spiders unravelling their glorious banners of glossy silk thread. Stepping on to the balcony, I take a deep breath and feel fully alive. That billowing beauty of your gossamer dress, it makes me weep: diffusing the early morning rays better than any cathedral window and shows me the way to heaven.
I’m luminous now, weightless as a fledgling’s feather on the rising breeze. Wrapped in its ebb, I float to and fro, drifting in nature’s perfect slow-waltz. There is no time here, there is no time now. But love and hope dance, eternal. And yet, time watches us here. Time waits for us, patiently, just over there.
I feel full and complete. At once vast and infinitesimally small; lost and found in the twinkle of your eye. I inhale deeply, slowly, over and over, cherishing the far reaches of the sky as your translucent robe wafts my soul ever higher. I’m radiant here, weightless now and wanting for nothing: no need for wings, no need for wishes.
The birds’ cradle-soft lullaby kisses my heart. Past tears merge and melt in this morning magic. Though you can’t be here with me, I sense you all around, and I continue upwards, and upwards, ever upwards: suspended yet safe. Your love infuses; it surrounds; it supports.
“It IS enough,” I reassure myself again; and the lift from this joyful, thankful, wakefulness holds me, weightless.
In loving memory of Pamela Dorothy Lowe.
THE PIPE ORGAN EMPEROR
“The King of Instruments”, its nickname, is most apt. Resplendent and imposing, it stands proud, higher, almost, than the four-storey castle-cultural-centre in which it resides. This unyielding musical monarch dominates; its mighty regiment of 8,000 trumpeters all steely, saluting and standing to attention.
Its musical manner was far from polite the day we clashed chords. It didn’t patronize with a folksy little one-on-one to build rapport. No ma’am! It instantly unleashed what felt like a full-arena experience with audience screaming, arms held high, stamping on seats. Only that day there was no audience, no reinforcements, just me trying to summon the courage to fight my ground.
It caught me off guard. Its magnificent, visceral, and violent explosions erupted and took all my senses hostage. Every bone, every nerve, every sinew quavered in its majestic aftershock. Its music breathed a fire that burned right through and beyond me: shattering the foundations, blasting the walls and decapitating the cathedral-like rooftop.
Was it nerves or excitement that propelled my trembling hands that day? I recall the race of my heartbeat: the pumping, thumping tempo of an adrenaline-charged metronome. BOOM, tick, tick, BOOM.
Thank goodness my brave and beautiful comrade stood valiantly by, weapon on hand. The two of us together, my tiny troopers in that cavernous great hall. And we had but one glorious hour to go forth and vanquish. We advanced to the frontier, charging forwards, our battle cries drowned by the cacophony as I pulled out A-L-L – 9-3 – S-T-O-P-S! The thunderous mountain of music stunned as the chromatic drill-sergeants kicked us. Yet, we soldiered boldly on: me navigating the highlands and foothills of multiple manuals and pedal boards, and my comrade rallying from the sidelines, documenting my hard-earned victory-of-sorts.
The preparation for this combat had been severe. A gruelling series of musical skirmishes lasting months; trekking daily to the deepest and dankest of dungeons with just a miniature-dragon of an instrument on which to practice my slay. Never before have I fought so intensely to polish my armour, prepare my ammunition and diminish a seventh. It wasn’t Bach but it wasn’t bad. And never will I forget my exuberance at having my comrade, my second, besides me as I duelled with this most splendid of foes, THE EMPEROR OF PIPE ORGANS.