The Scratchy Violinyst: Camp Jam

17 July 02017 (1 week ago)3 minutes of your time

Day: 308
Practice Logged: 180 hours + 50 minutes
Feeling: Smoked

Over the weekend I passed the ten month mark of learning this silly instrument.

There was a chain of events that correlates with the last year of my life, and may or may not have some causal connections to why I took up the violin. Every year in July we go on a big group camping trip with some friends from (let’s say) University-ish. There are days at the beach, campfire treats, and ever-growing children to be entertained.

Last year we drove back from camp as usual, picked up the dog from the kennel (she was never a good camper so we boarded her instead) and promptly discovered that she was quite sick. What followed was a week of vet visits and big decisions and hectic family changes, and the last seven days of my pup’s life. I spent the following few months trying to redefine my own normal, and in that time (among other things) decided that the new normal included playing a musical instrument.

Sparkle passing was not the cause of it, but it may have correlated with some of the opportunity the cleared the weeds to a garden of musical re-education.

One year later, full circle, we packed up the truck and drove out to the campsite and…

Well, a year had gone by: bigger kids, but mostly the same: fire pits, and cast iron meals, and sandcastles on the gloppy-lakeside-beach. Except I had been playing the violin for ten months (the quality of that playing up for debate, but playing nonetheless) and (after a bit of online chatting and research) had opted to bring my instrument on the adventure.

Long story short, the annual camp happened anew and in the mix we played: Mr. C brought along his guitar (because I was bringing my violin) and a new camping tradition seems to have been hatched. We are long-yet to see if it survives into a multiple-year ordeal, but for three nights we welcomed the sunset with some jams around the campfire. The songs were mostly simple, singalong-type music, but we filled the evening air of our little campsite with something that could be called music.

It’s not much, but I guess that’s (maybe not the whole, but part of) the point of learning this thing: to play for others, and to bring a little light to dark places, even if those places are just the haunted gaps of heartbreaking anniversaries, lightly-noted but not ignored or unnoticed.


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