thunderclaps . . .

by mulberryshoots


Last night, lightning flashed and thunderclaps woke us up around four in the morning. I was grateful for the rain that the garden needed so badly. As the lightning continued with the thunder elapsing at longer intervals, I lay on my back in bed and thought about how lucky we were that lightning did not strike the house and that a large tree did not fall on our roof. I noticed headlights from a vehicle which came into our driveway and then drove slowly out again, delivering our morning newspaper. A few minutes later, it came back again, perhaps to deliver a missed paper since we usually take two, the Telegram and Gazette and the New York Times.

By this time, I was awake and ruminating about an idea to consolidate all my piano scores into a cabinet arranged by composer. Preoccupied with other things this year, I could feel myself wanting to practice and play the piano again, more so every day. But boxes of things had been stored underneath it, we removed a chest that went to an antiques shop in New Hampshire and the area around my cherished Steinway grand piano had served as a kind of way station for things on there way to somewhere else. After getting out of bed around five a.m. and looking on Craigslist in four states, I found a couple of candidates for music storage, sent a few emails to inquire about them and went back to bed.

As often happens during these mid-night excursions, I fell asleep again right before the time that I usually get up for the day. Feeling slightly groggy and out of sorts mid-morning, I straightened up the living room, putting away books, periodicals, magazines and decluttered the kitchen counter. I can’t seem to feel free to begin things unless there is a modicum of order in our living space. Maybe I am mildly OCD but it’s more of a help than a hindrance in an endless housekeeping cycle which I don’t mind most of the time.

Following up the idea that came to me while thunder was clapping, I received some responses mid-morning from the Craigslist options but there was nothing that felt right. When G. returned with the car around noon, I took a drive down to an old office furniture warehouse where we had found G.’s rosewood office desk and my three walnut bookcases almost twenty years ago. The third floor of treasures at the warehouse was closed off and now rented out to tenants said the cantankerous owner, telling me he didn’t have anything with glass doors as his eyes never left the I-phone in his hand.

I took my time looking around the meager goods on the floor and saw only one possibility: a light toned bookcase that I knew to be curly maple but thought was laminate because the figured grain looked too good to be true. He said, yes, it was for sale without the two drawer base that it sat on and named a price that was okay if it was laminate. I asked him if he had a dolly because I didn’t think the two of us could carry it all the way to my car. Somehow, that question made him smile for the first time. Long story short, I paid, moved my car to the loading dock meeting him just as he arrived with the bookcase on a dolly. Together we lowered it into the trunk and I returned home, picking up lunch on the way.

I could tell from G.’s tone of voice on my cellphone that he was braced for what I might be coming home with after such a short trip. By the time he and one of his men carried it upstairs, I could tell he was impressed. The last thing the warehouse owner said to me as he closed the trunk of my car was, “it’s wood,” smiling at me for the second time. G. measured the shelves and found some piano pins that would serve as extra supports to add four more shelves to the three that are already filled with dusty blue Henle editions.

While G. was out making the rounds tonight, I sat down and played the Allemande from Bach’s Goldberg Variations and the Prelude from the A-minor English Suite listening to the harmonies at half tempo. Sounded good. Felt even better.