Sunday, March 21, 2021

Pecking with a Purpose

Like everyone, I live two lives. A day life where I am mostly in charge. I choose which piano pieces to play and for how long, where to go for my daily walk or bike ride, what to cook, what evening TV to watch (last night the classic film Laura – it holds up) and so forth. 


And then a night life where I descend into dreams and someone else is in charge. Still many dreams about teaching at school (sometimes in my underwear), giving Orff workshops hither, thither and yon, missing flights at airports.  


Last night’s was sitting next to the extraordinary jazz pianist Art Tatum and watching as he served up  Tea for Two up and down every note of the piano at his usual lightning speed.  But there was one curious moment when all but one octave of the keys simply disappeared and he pecked around with his right hand only trying to get to some essence of the tune with limited choices while shouting “Knowledge! I need knowledge!!” It was musically interesting and philosophically intriguing and then the dream switched to a small town where I was walking back to my hotel with a dog, cat and two chickens. At some point, the night muse dictated the title phrase “pecking with a purpose,” I dutifully wrote it down at 3:30 am and here I am the next day. It seemed so profound at the moment and now it just seems odd. 


But you take what you’re given and just as chickens peck around all day for any available food to sustain their life, so does the pianist on the keyboard look for spiritual sustenance. With intent and purpose. 


As my daughter used to say, for better or worse, that’s my DTOD—"deep thought of the day.” And may I recommend listening to Art Tatum if you never have? 


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