It’s February. The time of hearts, flowers, proposals, diamonds, gold… and my birthday! Technically, I love February, month of Aquarius the water-bearer, with its hint of spring, daffodils, earlier sunrise (7:36 here in Oxford, England), and of course the lavender gemstone amethyst. But with my birthday so close to Valentine’s Day, like those who have birthdays close to Christmas, every year I feel jilted! I want a separate birthday gift and a distinct Valentine’s Day present, not two rolled into one. Saying that, the advantage is that everything comes love-cut, heart-shaped and dripping in tenderness. Who could want for anything more?
What else indeed? I venture this: a secret something, deep, dark and rich, supremely delicious and never before disclosed. Something extraordinarily special, a real mystery, like the Valentine in grade school that just showed up on your desk along with a sticky Necco Sweetheart with the dodgy food-dye letters that spelled out TRUE LOVE, KISS ME or ALL MINE. Who knew? Could be John or Greg (fingers crossed), but you would never know. Probably it was Tim. The big deal was that it was a surprise: scary, special, hopeful and terribly personal. Okay, so I will let you in on my secret, undisclosed Valentine’s wish: music. (Iffy food-dye lettering and all.)
Recently I started reading concert pianist James Rhodes’ book How to Play the Piano. In it he claims I will learn to play Bach’s exquisite Prelude No. 1 in C Major in six weeks, even if I know nothing about music and have never touched the piano before. Okay, I agreed. Game on. I’ve been meaning to do this for years, and if it takes twelve weeks, or sixteen, I will take it one note at a time. I love music. Sound. Plain and simple. That’s my secret, the love of sound, of one single note, one solitary key pressed down. A, B♭, C. It doesn’t matter which. I fancy music. I like playing, making, it.