Monday, March 23, 2009

"...let nothing you dismay..."

For some reason I was dragging through work today. Actually, to tell the truth, I was tired before I even got to work.

I was so exhausted I could barely tolerate the idea of walking all the way to one of the farthest cottages (in a very cold New Jersey "Spring" wind, mind you) to pick up (and walk back with) a very bouncy 20-year-old young man with whom I recently began doing music therapy. 

I managed to temporarily get over myself though, and I'm glad I did. 

As soon as he saw me (and his vision isn't all that great), he leaped up (leaped, I tell you- I have witnesses) and bounded over to his box of stuff to drop off the little wrestler action figure he was holding. (He has a small collection of muscle-bound action figures, which: 1) I think are so darn cute, and 2) I find interesting, because he himself is tall and quite slender as yet.) 

Within seconds he was by my side, waiting for me to fish out his flimsy Spring jacket from the closet. (Someone needs to remind the people in his cottage that Spring only happens in name in these parts at this time of year- it's still March, for crying out loud!)

We hummed little rhythms on our way to the Music Room, and he was all chipper and cheery. When we got there, he quickly tossed aside his jacket (after neatly putting his hat in the sleeve) and sat at the piano with the flourish of Liberace. He began playing a dramatic series of clustered notes on the piano (using some of the rhythms he'd been humming as we walked). 

He decided my role for today was to play the guitar, and he waited patiently until I had assembled myself and handed me the instrument. After some dramatic piano music (he had to keep reminding me to keep my hands on the guitar, not the piano), and a couple of quick treks to the window and back, he turned his attention to the guitar. 

He pushed my hands away from the neck and strings, and he gave it a solid strum. As the notes quieted he listened thoughtfully, and he began to sing (he uses a half hum and half "uh" sound to sing) the notes of the open strings on the guitar. He kept repeating them in various patterns (it was very cool), and the pattern he settled on sounded so much like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" that I had to hum it to him.

And there we were, both of us with the tune completely stuck in our heads, humming away. What particularly intrigued me was that he listened to me carefully and kept adding the different sections as we went along. In other words, he kept humming, over and over, the part he'd learned, and as I added the different sections he added them gradually too.  

I think it was difficult for both of us when it was time to leave. 

I gave up on the usual singing of "goodbye" and improvised some "I'll see you next Monday" sorts of lyrics to the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" instead. He seemed okay with that mercifully. 

After that we scrambled back into our respective outer gear and headed back to the cottage, still humming the song as we walked. It was very sweet to see how excited he was. 

Admittedly, it's a rare treat to spend time with someone who so bubbles over with music, seemingly from his very soul (!).  Many of the folks I work with love music, but here is someone who just seems positively enchanted with sound!

It was definitely worth the long, chilly walk, and even in my tired state, I was glad to share in his enthusiasm for a time.