Last year at this time I wrote a bit about the history of Lupercalia in this Drunk and Naked and Running Wild post, which, given the title, I later realized might bring in more creepy keyword hits than I'd prefer. But it wasn't the case at all. Nope. Turns out that nothing ropes in blog traffic here at SS more than a man caves search. I almost wish I'd never written that post.
Yesterday, I researched the origins of the heart shape as a symbol of the human heart, love and Valentine's Day and pulled up several anecdotes, but I scrapped the idea. I thought about posting this poem by Gaius Valerius Catullus, but scrapped that too.
What I really needed was a walk.
So, I marched down the slope of our backyard, through the woods, and along the stream in hopes of finding a naturally occurring heart somewhere in the water-washed stones or the brush or the tangled branches. It was no easy task in February, when we're long past (or presently looking forward to) blooming catalpas and bleeding hearts. I'd nearly given up when I turned to head back toward the house and noticed the shape of a heart six or seven feet up in an odd looking four pronged tree. Although it may appear, from the above photo, that the heart was carved into the tree, it was not. It's completely organic, formed naturally in the tree's bark. That's my Valentine's Day gift, I thought.
When I got back to the house, I heard Max (for any new readers who haven't been introduced, Max is my 14 year old son) playing his guitar but I didn't recognize the tune. Max, who's highly resistant to lessons of any kind, had been teaching himself a couple of Aerosmith songs (ouch) on the electric guitar (ouch) he got for Christmas, but what I heard was acoustic. I went up to his room, phone in hand, and listened as he played his old classical guitar. He'd composed the melody himself, he said, it was a work in progress, but he wasn't sure if he might have stolen it, he'd heard something similar, he thought.
So I recorded it on my phone. And after hours of trying to figure out how the heck to embed audio on my blog, this is your Valentine's Day gift:
Later, I checked the tune with SoundHound, a music recognition app for phones. The results: There were no close matches. What do you know, Max's first organic piece of music, formed naturally in his heart.
Happy Valentine's Day.
oh jayne i just love this!!! simple valentines are the best, and i've always been mad about acoustic guitar. they keep one around the office and whenever someone picks it up and plays i get goosebumps. :) and of course it's so sappy sentimental to read this and your pride in him and big love just bursting through. thank you for sharing the sweetness. now: if he hasn't already been introduced, have him google john fahey, one of the greatest acoustic guitarists ever, and an oregon boy (RIP).ReplyDelete
Max hasn't been introduced to Fahey, so thank your for that suggestion! Fahey's right up there with Doc Watson and Chet Atkins and other greats I listened to as a child. And he has a terrific website--great music, tabs and tuning, sheet music--a whole lesson! As I mentioned, Max isn't too interested in lessons, but if he sees something on the internet, he'll follow along on his little Yamaha.Delete
Glad you enjoyed this. I sure did when I first heard it. :)
Happy Valentines Day! Loved Max's song, and the tree heart. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Loree, I think Max may blush too much, but he'll be happy to know you loved his tune. :)Delete
The nicest forms of love are the ones that happen naturally- like your tree bark and Max's song. I'm inspired to watch and listen a little closer today for signs like these.ReplyDelete
Absolutely. I always tell the kids to never think of buying me anything. I'd much rather have something from their hearts--which, thankfully, comes easily for them, little artists they are.Delete
what a nice little treat to wake up to this valentine's day. i'm so glad you went for that walk and gave us something from YOUR heart ;)ReplyDelete
Me too, m. Nothing like a walk to clear your head and open the mind to new possibilities, looking at the world from a different perspective. That tree heart was a nice surprise. ;)Delete
Dear Jayne, the sweetest of posts. Lovely to find both an organic tree heart and a genuine musical heart from your son, as natural for him to have made as the construction paper Valentines he used to bring home for you and its pride of place on the refrigerator. Lucky woman! xoReplyDelete
Oh, Melissa- so true! He's (actually, both children now) graduated from the paper hearts, but still knows how to give from the heart. Since I'd spent so much time finally putting together all the pieces necessary to embed audio, I couldn't possibly not post Max's music. :)Delete
Your search for love was rewarded both in nature and nurture. I can see you listening at your son's door, grinning with pride and joy... your son conversing with his muse, music! And what a sweet song it is Jayne.ReplyDelete
Happy Valentine's Day!
Amazing what happens when we search for love, eh Leah? I was really happy when I heard his acoustic piece, but I felt happier for him, that he'd discovered how to work the a few chords, ordering them in such a pleasing, pretty sound. I just hope he keeps up with it. (And maybe write some lyrics!) :)Delete
See what happens, Max starts with Aerosmith and suddenly starts creating works on his own that sound nothing like Aerosmith, how do i know his momma was standing outside that door beaming? and related to the last post: you might want to check out a guy named Willis Earl Beal, a good article and a couple of songs over at Pitchfork.com, his song Evening's Kiss is a new favorite of mine.ReplyDelete
Well, beaming a bit, yeah. It's pretty cool to see him composing his own music. And happy to hear anything other than Dude and, oh, RUN DMC's Walk This Way, AND AC/DC's Thunderstruck (the opening of which, I have to say, he's gotten pretty good at!).Delete
Checked out Beal. Wow-he is a powerhouse. Good to hear the kid on the South Side, the outsider, the black Tom Waits (to which he aspires), in moving on up and out. I'll be he doesn't forget his grandma, though. Thanks for that, Kono. I've got listen to more... ;)
waaaayyyyy cool j....and of course young max....throw in a 3/4 drum track, some bass lines (easy peasy) and you have yerself a hit!ReplyDelete
have yerself a good valentines! ;)
Yeah, cool! Should I introduce him to music theory? Ha! That would probably kill it for him. He's got musician friends, Dan... I have this vision that our basement may soon be overtaken by instruments and wild parties. Dang, we're going to have to rethink weekends away w/out the kids. ;)ReplyDelete
very nice song and i'm very impressed with your ability to record it and work some magic to share it with us.ReplyDelete
Billy, yep, I'm impressed too! ;) I've been trying to do this--the audio embedding--for months. I couldn't find the right archive and audio format for Blogger. I think part of it was that I gave up too soon. This time I really stuck it out. I was hell bent on getting to the bottom of this riddle! That said, I don't think SoundCloud's the answer. But it worked, dammit! ;)Delete
Thanks, Laoch. :)Delete
That heart you found on the tree's a bit special. A lovely surprise. I too am impressed with the audio embedding - how great to have your son's wonderful first piece on your blog Jayne. You must feel proud!ReplyDelete
Lucy, I braved bitter cold for that heart, but the rewards were sweet. ;)Delete
I hope Max keeps making music-- I mean that was his first stab at it, and a rather off-the-cuff one at that, so I'm waiting to see what might develop. I've got the embedding down, but I won't post his every note! Egads, I'd turn into one of those bragging Facebook moms. Ha!
Such a sweet valentine. I am sitting here on a rooftop deck watching the sunset in LA, listening to Max's song. Do you understand how special your hours of work are?ReplyDelete
Oh, Bill, you dawg. You bum! Why do you keep taunting me with this LA news? I mean if I can't have snow, then I want the polar opposite! But so glad to know that my work hours have not fully gone to waste. ;)Delete
You got at least two more wonderful gifts than me for Valentine's Day, and I'm absolutely okay with that. (sniffsniff) really. I'm fine.ReplyDelete
Oh, wait, no, I lied. I did get a gift. My son David is on his way home from Iowa, after two long months of being away. Yippee!ReplyDelete
Happy Valentine's Day, Jayne.
Dear Nessa- what better gift than your son returning after months away from the nest? If it makes you feel any better I didn't get a Valentine's card from either of my kids. I haven't even seen my son since he left for school this morning (he's still at his track meet), and my daughter is in deep doo doo (when is she not?) right now. It ain't a bed of roses here. That would explain the glass of red I'm working on right now. ;)Delete
Well, this is just great (and not only because you managed to figure out how to embed audio on your blog--perhaps one day you'll tell us your secret on that). May many more fine acoustic (OK, electric guitar can be pretty cool, too) songs follow from Max.ReplyDelete
Susan, if there were any way I could articulate what I did to get the audio embedded, I would. I can tell you not to bother with Internet Archive (and several other audio archive sites), but then again, I work on a Mac, so compatibility may depend on your operating system.Delete
All I know is that I spent a lot of time on all kinds of help forums, was eventually led to SoundCloud where I hit one button, then another, performed a little copy and paste sorcery, and voila. Tu comprends? No, neither do I. It will probably never happen again. (Unless I put aside another few hours.) Sheesh, I think I need another glass of wine! ;)
Oh, do I ever sympathize. But if you only succeed at this the one time, you certainly picked the right one!Delete
so cool...what a perfect valentine's gift..smiles...a beautiful melody it is..ReplyDelete
Smiles backatchya, Claudia. :)Delete
Very nice. Good for him! And the tree? Fantastic. Sounds like a great, organic Valentine's Day for your. Lovely.ReplyDelete
The tree, I know, but the tree, unfortunately does not look so healthy. Perhaps its heart aches! We've had to cut too many trees around here, would hate to lose another. Thanks for stopping by Karen. :)Delete
Some good old Aerosmith songs on an electric guitar sounds great to me >:)ReplyDelete
Cold As Heaven
No ouch faster there, eh, Cold? I'm dealing. ;)Delete
Good old Catullus. Excellent choice. For Valentine's Day '13 -- and boy, wouldn't THAT make a great day for take-that-you-stupid-Mayans revelry -- maybe you can delve into Ovid. Growl.ReplyDelete
In my expensive-analog-camera days, I was on a camping trip once on which I photographed a tree trunk which I thought just looked cool. When I showed the slide to a friend, he busted out laughing. It... how to put this?... well, let's just say if Georgia O'Keefe had been less desert-y and more dark-damp-forest-y, she could have done wonders with it. And I could never again look Dr. Freud square in the eyes. It could've been used as an illustration in certain textbooks having to do with Naughty Bits.
Anyway, this post illustrates exceptionally well not just the principles of fine writing, but the principles of finding a heart when and where you don't expect it. Always a pleasure to observe you sitting down at the piano bench and cracking your knuckles, so to speak.
Very proud of you for working out a solution to the embedded-audio problem. It gets easier the second or third time you do it, so don't stop here -- I suspect you've got some killer music in non-video form!
(Btw, does Max know you were wearing a wire, so to speak?)
LOL! I'll bet there are yet some undiscovered Georgia O'Keeffe's out there just waiting for the right auction house. After all, she did spend some time outside of the desert. Anyway, we don't need O'Keeffe, that photo of yours sounds priceless.Delete
Well, I sort of went looking for a heart, but didn't really expect to find it. But interestingly, it was only when I'd given up that it presented itself. Isn't that just like a heart?
Max did not know that I had taped his music, but when I told him I had he was ok with it (mother's very weird, you know, he almost expects to be surprised)--although he had made a couple of mistakes and wanted a redo, but I liked it as is.
And Ovid! Those Romans knew how to partake. Perhaps the Mayan prediction (would Ovid have known?) was the impetus for such epic romance. Honestly, I find Ovid and his friends tough to read, but I do like the challenge. Maybe it's the epicness of them.
Btw- thankful nod to you-- I don't think I would have ever figured out the audio issue w/out your initial help. ;)
Funny, my father is the one who just got an electric guitar and I'm the one cringing over the songs he's learning.ReplyDelete
Max is talented. Me, I tried picking up the guitar, but I couldn't take to it. Not like I take to writing, anyhow. That's a great little tune, and hopefully he can meld it into a song.
Beer- I know how your father feels, my kids cringe when I pick up the banjo. What we do to our children. You'll see.. the things we try (even again, when we've failed miserably in the early years) as we mature. I mean, you know, you've got to keep things interesting.Delete
Maybe we should get your dad and Max together. Could be quite entertaining. ;)
Jayne, I savored Max's piece! Filled my heart to bursting, this morning -- especially when the strumming got particularly earnest.ReplyDelete
I hope you and yours had a love-filled Valentine's Day.
Ah! I just heard the little laugh at the end!
Have just started the song for the third time.ReplyDelete
I LOVE IT.
So sweet Suze. The laugh sound--that was my little "Hmmm... quite nice, kid" kind utterance. *hearts*Delete
Max shows promise; perhaps you could pretend not to be interested to make him continue?ReplyDelete
Thank you for the Valentine.
Yes, Friko, if he keeps working at it. Pretending not to be too interesting is absolutely key! I do that a lot around here. Then again, sometimes I get a little too excited. ;)Delete