White oak leaves

We were two songs in to his piano lesson when he told me, matter-of-fact, that today was Halloween.

It is, I agreed. What was he going to be?

“A Northern White Oak leaf,” he answered.

Not just any leaf; a very particular Northern White Oak leaf.

His sister was dressing as a very particular fish whose name I forgot about 5 seconds after he told me.

Oh, and his mother, of course, made the costumes.

He’s my newest piano student, just barely 8 years old and struggling still to tell his left from his right hand. But he comes with his books in brand-new condition in a bright green folder, his name and phone number on the inside cover of each one in black marker. There’s a practice calendar in the back, a check mark for each day he practices.

Last week, in his mother’s handwriting, it said “no practice” on nearly every day. (At least they’re honest?)

I can’t ever tell if he’s listening to me. He get’s busy playing some pattern on the piano, keeps playing when I talk, and I’m sure he’s not hearing anything I say; but then I only ever have to explain something once.

He’s been coming for a month, now. I haven’t come close to figuring him out.

He brings my students up to 5; one’s younger sister joined us, so eager she could hardly contain herself that first day. “I LOVE piano lessons,” she called when she ran down the sidewalk after her mother had come to the door and it made me laugh.

Now she comes with songs perfect, thrilled that her sister has to watch the baby at home so she can practice now, instead of other way around. Both of them play with my baby during the other’s lesson (only my baby isn’t much of one any more, a tiny toddler in her place).

I just hope the enthusiasm stays as the songs get harder. She’s just 8 too, and struggles with telling her left from her right as well.


Time to write has been in short supply lately, if you haven’t noticed (or if you’re still around!). But we’re starting to find our stride here, and the words are building up again, waiting to be let out. We need to start making the time again.



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