Smooth as Buttercream

There’s Something About Texture


My boy’s tiny fingers twisted
Through silky dark threads
Knotted, bumpy woven into
Comforting texture.

Enormous flower heads
Delicate as Queen Anne’s lace,
Bobbing approval above narrow cattails
Or dancing radiant under evergreen boughs.

Round, smooth-as-silk berries
Coated intense red,
Tucked safe into thousands of tiny leaves,
And stretched over the rippling water.

Paint trailing under a brush
Light space and dark, starts and stops,
Hiccupping thick layers to mimic reality,

Leaves breathing like velvety buttercream atop
The cricket chirp lays down the ratcheting, rhythm
And a bird’s sharp call jive
Cutting through it all.

Beauty from Ashes: a Metaphor of Hope in a Time of Terror

There is a core of who I am that is tangled in music. I grew up going to symphonies, playing in some of the best bands and orchestras in the state. I was through and through a clarinet-playing, band geek.

My life has a nearly constant musical score running underneath.

There I am with the pep band. Apparently I have no pictures of me ACTUALLY playing. You'll just have to trust that I did.
There I am with the pep band. Apparently I have no pictures of me ACTUALLY playing. You’ll just have to trust that I did.

I write to music. Sing snippets of Broadway, Mother Goose, Louis Armstrong, Simon and Garfunkle, and even “Uptown Funk” to my kids.

Soaring melodies, growling tympani, rising arpeggios, staccato xylophone—they draw pictures, speak words I cannot always form coherently. You know what I mean?

This weekend I went with my mom and sister to our local symphony’s live presentation of Disney’s Fantasia. The overlap of the art of film and music reminded me of the fear and destruction happening in our world. In short, it undid me.

A little over halfway through the program came the music of one of my favorite ballets, Stravinsky’s Firebird. It isn’t a piece most modern Americans are familiar with, but I love the unexpected twists and the drama it sings.

In Disney’s take, a mighty elk, king of the forest, wakes Spring – Life personified, beautiful fluidity. Blue and green swirls. Life exalts in melting the snow and playing with the birth of flowers and butterflies, but is shocked when a mountain, an extinct volcano, resists her efforts to sprout in greenness.

In the center of the bowl is a form, dark and frozen. When she touches his misshapen face, the firebird comes crashing to life. Foaming fire. Slashing into the sky. Delighting in destroying everything Life has created. Reducing everything to ash . . . even Life herself. Continue reading “Beauty from Ashes: a Metaphor of Hope in a Time of Terror”