The Space Between the Notes

Quarter-Rest copyI’ve been listening to one of my all-time favorite pieces – Nimrod (or “August 9 Adagio) from the Enigma variations by Elgar, conducted by Daniel Barenboim (see video here).   Barenboim takes the tempo slow, producing the most brilliant rendition I’ve ever heard.  It is lush, sweeping, and the moment it begins, the hair on my arms raise and I have goose bumps, and then I begin to weep.  Why does music do that?

I have learned over the years that what you do with the space between the notes is as important as what you do with the notes themselves.  That “push and pull” creates tension, movement and anticipation, which makes the music itself compelling.  I have found it an extraordinary difficult lesson to learn, using that “space.”  I tend to rush the tempo, so I have to work extra hard to allow myself to fall into that space and use it wisely to make my music compelling.  It is in that space that my audience will have an opportunity to respond to that emotion.

I’ve been thinking about this concept for a few weeks now and how it relates to my current journey.  It’s sort of where I’m at in my recovery – that “space between” where one just lets oneself HEAL.  My surgery is over, the cast is off, I’m in a splint and I can actually take a shower on my own.  But it is still a difficult spot to be.  I am impatient, and sometimes angry, and most of the time pretending that I am quite well, thank you very much.  But I am reminded again and again how important it is to just LET MYSELF HEAL.  It’s being in that “space between the notes,” the space that provides tension and anticipation.  That it is a good thing to just “be.”

Because I have some previous experience with this, I know that there is a reason to be here, now.  It is my time to rest, to catch up with myself, to let people help me.  I know that it will renew my compassion and provide some freedom in my otherwise rush rush world.

So I’m living in this space.  Full of anticipation and hope that once physical therapy begins, I will actually be a full participant in my recovery, not just an observer.   And that this too, shall pass.

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