Reflections of a Crazed Musician: Winds of Change
There is a time and place for all things. Change: The inevitable force of nature that cannot be stopped, nor should it be stopped. Once in motion, the gears of the machine that is my reality continue to grind away as soulless as they come. How do you stop the machine of change? There is not a person among us who would not give up everything for one thing that changed in their lives. Despite that desire in us all, the machine keeps moving. Soulless, it will never sleep nor become satisfied with a single moment in time. Not for any one of us. We are not special in this life, so why do things happen that make us feel special? We do it to avoid the machine that grinds after us. There are many things that we do to avoid the grinding gears of progression. I played music, and it was played for my soul’s sake. To live for something was a great joy. Indeed, I didn’t find music. The music was always there in my face. I listened but didn’t hear it before. Not until I took it up myself as a child. I grew into a boy, though ignorant of my potential, I searched for purpose through the trumpet. I gathered the potential within me, and sacrificed my dignity. However, through doing that, I gained something much greater. By being admitted into the honor band, it was a sign of my gaining royal status once more. The nobles of the house of music called to me. I answered their call with my trumpet, and they welcomed me among them. I reached the wonderful honor band orchestra. My dream was at long last fulfilled. However, the gears of the machine of change stop for no single achievement. The scars on my heart would have no rest, as the nobles of this new court of royalty would test me. My journey wasn’t over.
As with all royalty, they were all eccentric in their own ways. The woodwinds were laid back, and had no qualms with anyone. They were the earth of the orchestra. The trees that leaned as they were blown from side to side in the swirling mist of music. Then there were the strings. They were graceful in their understanding of rhythm, and flawless in the sight of themselves. They were the peacocks of the court, tilting their head up at anyone who would be bold enough to compare them. The percussions were energy controlled, but could burst at any moment with perfectly timed noise. They were the most neutral of any in the court. Yet if a single mistake was made by them, it was known to all. They were water. We could not live in our musical land without them. Finally comes the brass. This was my home within the court. We were boisterous, competitive, and scheming. We were all best enemies. Those who could not take the heat of our glory were expelled from our midst with no honor, and their names were forgotten the very minute they left. Such was our creed; that any man who would join the brass were immediately under fire. They were fair game for our schemes, and fresh meat to be slaughtered and offered up to the director for humiliation. This was where I began when I entered honor band. I was fresh meat.
I found out quickly that this honor band was not full of many individuals who obtained pats on the back for trying. There were only three others who were apart of the brass. The first was one I named blue in my mind. For he always wore some manner of blue on him every week. There was no explanation, because no one asked. They could not have been wary of him though. His days were spent attempting to communicate to me. He failed utterly, as his language was not even one of royalty. It was crude, and it wasn’t long before I knew that I could oust him from his seat of nobility. He was no challenge. The second was a summer breeze who played the trombone. She stabilized us trumpets through her gentle demeanor and easy smile. I knew behind that smile laid a keen mind; else she would not be there. I made a note to not underestimate her. The last was a man who was rather exciteable, but behind his eyes there was great power. It wasn’t long before I discovered this power of his.
One day, I walk into the court to see him playing a string instrument. “What is this madness?” I thought to myself. Indeed, he played as if he had been a master his entire life. I was in awe, and suddenly he goes to his seat and picks up his trumpet and plays a catchy tune to bide his time until the director begins the practice. I was amazed, frightened, and my heart became envious. Here was I, thinking myself a prince among this court of royalty. Surely in this man, as he went from calmly playing a violin to righteously blasting smooth jazz on a trumpet, I had found the king of the court.
As I played among the court that was honor band, I succeeded in ousting Blue from the court. This left two volatile trumpeters with a neutral force that was the summer breeze. It became obvious that there was an unspoken fight between my fellow trumpeter and I. Whenever I came in early, we would play in jest light tunes with smooth rhythms and joke as good friends. Though when the director beckoned us to play, I raced against him feverishly, but time and time again I would fall behind him as if it were my normal place. Oh how I hated feeling as if he were my better. How I loathed feeling like I had fallen, when in reality I was more a prince than I ever was before. Before, when I had fallen from the grace of music all together, I was a street rat. Before I earned my right into the courts of honor band, I was nothing but a dreamer. My mind was naked in its ignorance of what true music could do for my soul. Yet there I was, questioning my royalty yet again. However, this time the self-doubt had no true case against me. There was just this man. I made it my mission to dethrone him. Not to oust him, for he was truly worthy of the court. Instead I simply wished to take his higher throne for myself.
The work to dethrone him was a process that slowly began consuming me once more. Though I briefly stopped when the summer breeze, who played her trombone so boldly, faded away. There was sadness to the affair that struck me as slightly poetic. I gave her one final note to take away from the court to remember it. I should have been more thoughtful in that time, but I was a young man who was eager to dethrone a king.
In the many months that followed, the king retained his throne. However, as time passed, I noticed his skills beginning to falter ever so slightly with the trumpet. It was at a time before a concert, one where we rehearsed wildly for. I saw my chance when there was a certain solo that the king played. He was weak, and one day I took a chance, and instead of residing in my second chair, I rose to the first to stand beside him as he played his solo. As he faltered, I continued playing flawlessly. The director saw my dedication, and knew I was serious about my task. The concert went ahead as planned, and I had dethroned a king. All was well at the court, until I received the news.
I would be going away. I would no longer be able to attend to the court. As I played the music throughout the day, my heart was staved off from being heavy. However, as the entire court enjoyed cookies and chocolates at our director’s home after a successful semester, I grew solemn. I told myself that I would not stop playing the music. I could go on without the court. Though in truth, I knew it would be hard, nay, impossible for me to retain the same glory. As the shadows of the night grew longer in the light of the moonlit sky my time to leave the court approached quickly. I wished my band mates farewell, speaking blissful lies that I would see them around. The last goodbye was for my nemesis. We had grown to understand each other. He understood my passion, and I understood his genius. Together we were unstoppable, but we had been stopped by the machine of change. I shook his hand, and even he understood that I was losing the love of my life. My heart to be ripped out, and my soul would grow lonely without music to play. He said no words. I wished him well, but still he said nothing. He simply nodded, and withdrew dark shades from his right pants pocket. He walked to the director’s piano nearby, and began to play. It was the theme from Charlie Brown. It was familiar to me. I smiled as he played in such a manner of gusto and happiness. I too, grew happy, and left that lavish home with a smile on my face.
As the years went by, the passion slowly faded within me. Only on random odd days would I pick up my trumpet, but without the royal court, it seemed so soulless. Everytime I played, I remembered finer days of glory and said to myself a fine lie that I would become glorious again one day. My trumpet stayed in my closet until the days where inspiration would grip me and I felt I had to play. The machine of change continued to grind away at my heart. The fateful day came when my family needed me to help them. Bills were not going away, and funding was short. I looked around, what to sacrifice? What did I have left? Suddenly my heart skipped a beat, and I turned to my closet. I knew what had to be done. There was no task that I had wanted to do less in that moment, then to place my royal instrument upon the chopping block of that soulless machine of change. Tears of bitterness collected in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. My sadness struck deep like a chronic joint pain, but it afflicted my heart and soul. I told myself that I would play again. I said this to myself until the day my trumpet was sold. I didn’t want to be there to see who would receive my royal instrument. To look into the eyes of someone else and know that they would have my history? Yet my heart needed closure.
Indeed, I dragged myself to the meeting room. The buyers came in. My trumpet was there waiting for them. I saw it was an entire family. As the parents spoke to one another, I noticed a young child. He came to the trumpet case, his father opened it for him. There I saw a sight that lifted my heart from its despair. The boy’s eyes lit up, and there was a look of wonder on his face. I knew that look. So long ago, I saw the same look on my own face, in the reflections of that instrument. The boy’s smile was so bright. It lifted my soul from the pit it had been dwelling in. As they left with me and my brother’s instruments, I reflected to myself. I had sacrificed my history, and given a boy part of his very destiny. A faint smile formed on my lips and I closed my eyes. I could rest now, because my past was no longer my past. It had become that boy’s future. That passion still lives in me as a spark that causes me to dance. It causes me to love, and helps me to feel love from others. As my trumpet is passed from person to person, it creates a new spark that started with me. Each player will have part of my spark until the instrument is destroyed and not a note can be played from it. In this way, the spark will never die. It is immortal, and is destined to live through anyone who finds it.