“I remember the sound of the piano as my mothers ‘too-small-hands’ worked up and down the ivories. She was practising for her grade eight piano exam, the top grade. But it always struck me as strange how she would be practising, to be a great pianist, even though her hands were too small. The span of her hands, from the tip of her small finger to the tip of her thumb was, in her opinion, not wide enough. So why seek to be great if you don’t have the tools?
“I spent a lot of time being confused by events as a child. The fear I felt at the mental illness is the most memorable. And of course there is the sound of the piano. It’s not necessarily a pleasant sound when the pianist is only playing up and down the scales of a piano, over and over, again.
“Unlike the scales of a snake, alligator or crocodile, evenly distributed and beautiful. And the thing is, it’s all about the sound, isn’t it? Not how it looks. The hands might look too small, and yet, there must have been a way around this, for the music to sound right in the end. Repetition I suppose. Even if it sounded maddening at the time, we must cover old tracks and smooth out the mistakes, if we’re to do it right, eventually.
“Like the fear of mental illness. If we look at what frightens us, by retracing our steps, we get to understand which particular part of the illness frightened us. And seeing it now I see it’s the lack of control. The mind running off where it wants with no governor. Nothing to stop us taking our clothes off and running out into the night.
“And yet if we look closely at this, we see that it’s not the naked runner that’s frightened; in that moment, she is free of fear. So no, it’s us that’s frightened and we’re frightened for them; for their future without the governor in charge. The way to put their governor back in charge, is to become the supervisor. Supervisor only and only for a while.
“We go out into the night and wrap her up in a warm blanket of love to protect her from the cold of night. Shedding our clothes is no doubt a symbol of wanting to shed ourselves of burden. The burden of guilt. The lies cover our guilt. Stop lying now!
“And back to not wanting to cover old ground reminds me of the repetitive sound of the piano. On and on into meaningless scales, unlike the scales of the snake, moving, beautiful and flexible. And when the scales are right the music comes easier and easier. So you see, the repetition is necessary for us to correct and smooth out the errors, of the past.”