The first time I heard him play… snow-puff clouds studded the skyline, mirroring the distant sails out skimming the small neighborhood lake that late spring afternoon. Quickly I scanned the shore. Students lounging with their books. Laughter from a young couple and two toddlers having a blanket picnic on the lawn. A curly-headed child chirping delight as she warily edged closer to some ducks, timidly holding out her bread offering, looking to her mom for approval.
“It’s okay, honey, go ahead,” her mom coaxed, meeting my smile.
Ah, there…a vacant bench, under some trees bending gracefully over the water’s edge. Perfect.
Sitting, I closed my eyes for a moment, inhaling the breezes. Enjoying the soft lapping of the water at my feet…and, mmm…half a day’s respite away from the confines of my job. A good place to relax…read…pray…
Then…almost magically, with a swoop out of nowhere… came the sudden lilting sounds of an accordion, joyous as a carillon, rising up and around me and out over the water… Transforming the feel of the scene as if I’d suddenly been transported into a live impressionist painting – somewhere along the waters of Southern France…or maybe to a gondola in Italy…
On and on it came, each piece rolling into another… Moon River… Bella Notte…Strangers in the Night…Spanish Eyes…O Sole Mio… La vie en rose…Windmills of Your Mind… One classic love theme after another – all with that French-Italian flavor so uniquely accordion, and somehow…so perfect for this day. I watched in awe as romance took a whirl all ’round….
Even the sweet breezes – moving like a paintbrush making broad-stroked ripples across the blue, blue waters, gently bobbing the distant sails, rocking the moored boats at the pier beside me and riding the closer ducks atop the waves, two by two…
Then…as the music strains began to fade away… a clapping erupted, with sounds of people clamoring for their own personal favorites. “Can you play...?” “Oh, how about…?” and the older couple softly murmuring, “Mmm…You take us back to our courting days…”
Looking around, I finally spotted him – behind me and up on the side-walked hill overlooking the park. A middle-aged man, smiling broadly over his fold-out instrument and doing his best to keep up with requests. Taking a break, he delighted almost as much in conversing, explaining how he had retired early, just enjoyed giving of his music – especially on glorious days like this one… No, no – not for money, he said – just for the love of it.
He had stepped away a moment as I made my way back, and I talked with his wife, telling her how much I was enjoying his music.
“Oh, that one –” she laughed, “he’s in his element! It’s in the winter, when he wants to play incessantly indoors, that I go a little crazy!” I thought, “Hmm…yes, I can imagine that. Still…” The twinkle in her eye told me that days like this one made up for the others.
I returned to my bench, willing him to continue… And on and on he played… two hours of a free concert by the lake… making my half-day off feel more of a holiday getaway than I’d ever imagined. Like a soundtrack blessing. Divine appointment? Mmmm… Yes…I think so…
Smiles of thankful joy shone all around…for the man who gave and received a gift by writing refreshing glory on the hearts of strangers… and uniting us…as only music can do.
No telling when he’d be there next…but I hoped I would be too. And I thought – somehow, this man understands living letters…
Have you “come upon” such an unexpected gift lately? Sometimes…like angels unaware…they’re all around us. 🙂
© Pam Depoyan
I’m linking this with Michelle today for Graceful Summer… for this spring into summer day of days.