Also known as the holiday shuffle…
I’ve been thinking a lot about Chopin lately. Not shoppin’, which I guess I should be thinking about.
Chopin’s Waltz No. 1, in particular, has been running around in my head. Running up and down stairs, big fat clumsy-but-precise fingers tripping over and skipping several stairs at a time.
I listened to the Waltz a lot when I was preggers with Little J. While I edited giant sheets of textbook pages at the kitchen table, my pencil kept time with the rain drumming its clumsy-but-precise fingers on the window of our tiny, dark apartment in Berkeley. Little J kicked at my tummy as I raced through the papers, chasing deadlines, the plinkety-plinking piano trailing up and down the stairs all around me.
Now Little J kicks, but it’s the back of my chair in the Jetta when the Waltz comes on the radio. I crank it and ask him for the hundredth time, “Do you recognize this piece, honey? I listened to it all the time when you were in my belly.”
“No. I still don’t remember it, mommy.” Kick.
When I hear the Waltz these days, I still see the stairs, the scene Escher-esque in my mind’s eye:
But these days, as the fingers race up and down the keys, I see glimpses of a lady, dashing through the rain to get her little one to school, or the same little one with his dad untangling Christmas lights decorating the tree licking frosting off the knife the sprinkles on the fingers the tape the ribbon and the floor… a jumble of glittering scenes of ritual holiday preparations.
Conspiring with Santa, and maybe waiting for something else.
Unlike the usual Christmas tunes, the Waltz is my little soundtrack for the hustling and the bustling and the getting-it-all-done and the making-sure-to-enjoy-it at the same time.