Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pachelbel, my Grandmother, and Chaos

Pachelbel's Canon in D - Free Sheet Music for ...Image by Cantorion.org via Flickr
Let's start with the chaos.

My fifth grader was to play in an orchestra comprising 3 elementary schools, a large middle school, and an even larger high school. We arrived to chaos in the high school gym and made our way to the bleachers, while our son bravely asked for help tuning his violin and finding out where to go.

It was a long wait, getting 300 kids organized and into position with all of their string instruments, so I played tic-tac-toe with my kindergartner while my back misbehaved and whined because there was nothing to lean against. Chaos. It mirrored my feelings of discombobulation, returning from vacation and not fully being able to get back into the swing of things. I am always seeking serenity and balance, which is not always possible. If I could only feel grateful for chaos, then I wouldn't be so hard on myself.

Then, without any fanfare or warning, the kids started to play, and tears filled my eyes. It was Pachelbel's Canon, my grandmother's favorite. There's such unbearable beauty in those moments, when I am surprised by emotion.

And all of a sudden, my Gran was in the high school gym with me, standing behind me, hand on my shoulder. We were at Crosswicks, spaghetti sauce simmering, Pachelbel strings soaring, and dreaming about impossible things.

The concert was amazing.

Be grateful for the chaos, because there, you just might find the impossible.

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  1. What a sweet post--I could almost feel all of it with you, you described it so well.

    Meanwhile, because I cannot hear the name Pachelbel without thinking of this now, if you want a good laugh (and no disrespect to the beauty of the Canon in D--one of my faves, as well--is intended), check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM

  2. I played (I still play occasionally) violin from 5th grade through college. My home town also had what was called the "strings festival" with 2 high schools, 4 junior highs, and who knows how many elementary schools. It was definitely chaos, but I remember being in awe of those high school plays when I was young. So glad I stuck with it and wish I had more opportunities to play, I miss it so much. My husband and I were in orchestra together in high school, it's where we became best friends! My high school director is one of the most amazing women I know.

  3. I love this. Pachelbel's Cannon was the first piece I learned as a third grader. I was second violin. My teacher all those years ago has decided not to opt for a second round of chemo. She has a brain tumor. she knew something was wrong last October when she suddenly didn't know how to tune her violin. But I was able to see her not long ago and hug her and comment on her soft knitted beanie that covered the last few strands of her hair. She is my mom's age. 54. There are always miracles in the chaos. :)

  4. I loved this, finding the impossible in the chaos. So sweet. I love Pachelbel's Canon too - walked down the aisle to it at my wedding.

  5. I love this post! What a great way to start my day-thanks!

  6. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments! You have made my day! It makes last night even more special, that you share with me your own thoughts and experiences!

  7. So beautiful. What a lovely moment. Thanks so much for sharing and reminding me to look for beauty in the chaos.

  8. Great post. Especially last line.

    Pachelbel Canon always been my favorite as well.

  9. Thank you Alison!

    And sgchris, I'm glad you stopped by!

  10. Oh, Lena, this is beautiful. Having never met you, nor your grandmother really (seen but not met), I can still picture the scene at Crosswicks with the music, food, and dreams.

    Pachelbel's Canon used to be one of my faves, too. I had a cassette tape entitled "The Rage of 1710" that got heavy rotation in my tape deck.

    Beauty out of chaos is always the most amazing thing about going to an orchestra concert, I think, even a professional one. The tuning and hubbub, followed by a moment of silent expectancy, and then BAM -- the 'voices' and lines blend and music is born. And it truly is amazing. Music is the one thing that can reliably break me down.

    Thanks again for sharing this. Off to look for the impossible.

  11. Thanks again to everyone for adding such wonderful things to my short post! In the chaos of the internet, I am sure blessed to have you all!

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