Friday, July 15, 2005

du calm

DSCN3326.JPG

Today was the yearly trip over the shoulder of the Ventoux to inspire purple smells and to exhale; to be in the burr of the bees' industry whilst they make our royally scented jelly. Today was lavender day. Whilst fortunes are being made selling 'du calm' in bottles of essential oil and eau de linge I got to thinking about how, short of droplets of oil on the fingerboard, we can attain a sense of inner calm in performance:

In a recent concert I was observing the continuo cellist. It was a hairy aria - one in which there are frequent exposed soli, mostly which arise from silence. I noticed that for my colleague these silences were not part of the music but rather a hellish public preparation for each ordeal to come. Uncharacteristically for her, none of her preparatory movements were in rhythm or character; her hands, frozen in a vast span, gripped the fingerboard; her thumb was white with tension; her elbows were locked, her wrists rigid and fingers sweaty. Most critically, her lungs were on hold and every cell of her was holding on till it was all over.

We've all been there.

Everyone's journey with stage-fright is a different one, I'm sure. For me the clue to recovery lay in hatha yoga - a philosophy of breath and movement, in which I learned to inhale air (inspiration) and then let go of movement (expression).

I used to hyper- ventilate when I played. This, I now see, was probably symbolic of my general control freak nature. I learned, through yoga, to let go physically of that which I had taken in and my breathing problems stopped, as did my nerves. When I think about that young insecure cellist, I conjure up the image of a tennis player making a finely-tuned preparatory back swing but, rather than hitting the ball and allowing it to follow through freely, she takes the ball and places it where she wants it to be.

As instrumentalists, the paradox of trying to hold on to movement is just as extreme. However, unlike the tennis player on the wrong side of the court, we usually succeed in playing the notes anyway, with bow shakes and intonation problems the only indications of our resistence.

Yoga taught me, essentially that all expressive movement happens by letting go, on the release, and it's a joy....

...on the cello that is. Life is another matter, and as I walked in-between the combed mounds of two-tone blues, inhaling nature's very own 'du calm', I wondered how long before I learn to feel this liberty elsewhere than on a fingerboard and a gut string!

It's time to train the mind.

DSCN3320.JPG

10 Comments:

Blogger Karen said...

I'm mostly happy to stay at home these days, but I admit I would love to see and smell all that lavender. Oh, my.

Thanks for the yoga thought, too.

3:01 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Sara Genn has done some lovely pastel drawings of the "lavender roads" of Provence. They're very simple and strong. Take a peek:

http://www.saraphina.com/dynamic/artists/1999_paper_provence_lavendar_roads.asp

4:27 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Sorry about the URL. Try:

http://www.saraphina.com/dynamic/artists/1999_paper_provence__lavendar_roads.asp

If this doesn't work and you're still curious, click on the archives link on her "paintings" page.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Daisy Mae said...

The pictures of the lavender fields are absoutely beautiful! It looks like paradise on earth.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous seo said...

Bonjour!

Cela fait plaisir de voir de si belles photos. Si je rentre un jour en France, je retournerai en Provence a coup sur!

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Becca said...

such thoughtful writing and extraordinary photos ... I have always loved lavendar - the color and the scent.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous roger said...

Ruth - check out this story about Lavender in Carshalton (Surrey) of all places! I linked you in...

7:58 AM  
Blogger Tessa said...

Surrey Lavender Please have a look at
www.mayfieldlavender.com
www.carshaltonlavender.org

Thanks to these people a lovely bit of our local history and heritage has been reintroduced.

Lavender has been grown in Britain for centuries brought here by the Romans and grown extensively in the S. London/ Surrey area in the 18th and 19th centuries only to move to Norfolk when the land was needed for housing.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Curly Hair said...

black mold exposureblack mold symptoms of exposurewrought iron garden gatesiron garden gates find them herefine thin hair hairstylessearch hair styles for fine thin hairnight vision binocularsbuy night vision binocularslipitor reactionslipitor allergic reactionsluxury beach resort in the philippines

afordable beach resorts in the philippineshomeopathy for eczema.baby eczema.save big with great mineral makeup bargainsmineral makeup wholesalersprodam iphone Apple prodam iphone prahacect iphone manualmanual for P 168 iphonefero 52 binocularsnight vision Fero 52 binocularsThe best night vision binoculars here

night vision binoculars bargainsfree photo albums computer programsfree software to make photo albumsfree tax formsprintable tax forms for free craftmatic air bedcraftmatic air bed adjustable info hereboyd air bedboyd night air bed lowest pricefind air beds in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air beds

best cloud inflatable air bedssealy air beds portableportables air bedsrv luggage racksaluminum made rv luggage racksair bed raisedbest form raised air bedsaircraft support equipmentsbest support equipments for aircraftsbed air informercialsbest informercials bed airmattress sized air beds

bestair bed mattress antique doorknobsantique doorknob identification tipsdvd player troubleshootingtroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd vs plasmaflat panel lcd television versus plasma pic the bestThe causes of economic recessionwhat are the causes of economic recessionadjustable bed air foam The best bed air foam

hoof prints antique equestrian printsantique hoof prints equestrian printsBuy air bedadjustablebuy the best adjustable air bedsair beds canadian storesCanadian stores for air beds

migraine causemigraine treatments floridaflorida headache clinicdrying dessicantair drying dessicantdessicant air dryerpediatric asthmaasthma specialistasthma children specialistcarpet cleaning dallas txcarpet cleaners dallascarpet cleaning dallas

vero beach vacationvero beach vacationsbeach vacation homes veroms beach vacationsms beach vacationms beach condosmaui beach vacationmaui beach vacationsmaui beach clubbeach vacationsyour beach vacationscheap beach vacations

bob hairstylebob haircutsbob layeredpob hairstylebobbedclassic bobCare for Curly HairTips for Curly Haircurly hair12r 22.5 best pricetires truck bustires 12r 22.5

washington new housenew house houstonnew house san antonionew house venturanew houston house houston house txstains removal dyestains removal clothesstains removalteeth whiteningteeth whiteningbright teeth

1:31 PM  
Anonymous prague lodging said...

Wow very lovely lavender fields..Looks very relaxing..

4:54 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home