Soothing Sounds of Childhood
When I was 5, my dad gave me a full sized classical guitar. I grew up listening to him play and wanted to make my own music. The guitar felt enormous for my small frame but I loved plunking the soft strings and enjoyed experimenting with the sounds I could make by strumming and picking. I never learned how to play and eventually the guitar made way for piano. But, whenever I heard a classical guitar, my heart filled with joy. It was the sound of childhood and an instant connection with my dad. I knew one day I would learn to play the guitar.
When I was 38, I picked up that same classical guitar. Somehow it had stayed in the family and made its way into my brother’s hands. I took the guitar home and began teaching myself basic chords for songs I loved. I didn’t enjoy strumming, so I made up my own picking and fingering patterns to accompany my singing. At the time, I was living alone and working through layers of trauma. As part of my healing process, I wrote everyday. Everything I hadn’t spoken or allowed myself to feel flowed onto the page as poetry and lyrics. Over the course of a summer, I filled a binder with lyrics and dabbled with adding music. I was fulfilling a dream one song at time.
At some point I decided I needed an acoustic guitar to go with my singer-songwriter vibe. So, I gave the old classical to my niece and purchased an acoustic guitar. I played until my fingertips hurt and eventually formed callouses. I took lessons and learned how to change keys with a capo. But I didn’t love the sound of the steel strings. I missed the soft warmth of my classical guitar. Over time, I played less and less, opting to pluck out tunes on my ukulele.
A few weeks ago, I took my guitar in to see what options I had for strings. I learned that if I wanted nylon strings, I would need a nylon string guitar. So, I traded in my acoustic guitar and ordered a travel sized classical.
Today, my sweet little guitar arrived and I am over the moon! I’m in love with the rich warm tones of mahogany. I feel at home with the soft silky strings against my fingertips. The petit size feels easy— my hands and arms don’t have to reach or wrap to make music.
I pick up my guitar and play with the sounds, plucking and strumming and singing my way back to the beginning. I have come full circle and the child in me is beaming.