by Tirzah Marie Lewis
Accordion music is the parent of Polka. Of this, I am convinced. How am I so sure? Because no one in their middle ages with the onset of geriatric knees would purposefully bounce around for an entire evening with a grin on their face if not compelled by an irresistible force. I can tell you after watching a PBS documentary about the Concertina Accordion (twice)… Polka is mesmerizing music. In the mid-to-late nineties, Ska came back in a big way allowing skater kids with no perceivable rhythm to jump around with wild abandon and delight. Watching my children during a parade listen to the bagpipes of a local union band - having never been to the Irish moors, they were nevertheless transported to a place where mournful sweet music bathes the soul in nourishing melodies. I, myself, have let the visceral wave of congregational singing rush through me as a room full of voices carried the hopes and dreams of its collective to an altar in prayer. It happens when we are alone and in groups. We tap our toes or grab a spoon in the kitchen and perform with abandon the pots and pans in the sink. It takes hold of us in the car. It calls to us when we are sitting around a fire or side-by-side with a friend. Music. Moves. Us. It compels us to respond. And as far as I can tell, it is universal to the human soul.
When I think about my life and what I've wanted it to be, I realize it's already been many genres of music. I've experienced sweeping overtures and have gotten stuck in the bassoon section (for far too long). I've made quick life-altering changes catching a cell phone jingle like a taxi and riding it to 'anywhere but here. I have always wanted to be in a musical with all the coordinated dancing and perfectly timed high notes. But as I think about it, I realize my life right now is banjo music – Louisiana Bluegrass and Cajun Zydeco. It's too fast for me because I'm new to banjo, and I haven't caught the offbeat yet. I keep trying to move with every note that's being played. I am out of breath. I feel like, at any moment, my feet are going to trip all over themselves. I find myself wanting to excuse myself from the party and stand on the wall with a glass of punch. But I know if I do, I'll never learn these steps, and even worse, I may never jump back in and dance.
It is with that confession that I now invite you, dear reader, to consider the questions, "What music is playing in your life? Do you feel your hips swaying or your toes tapping? What is the music telling you is the rhythm of life at this moment? How do you want to respond?"
Why do I ask?
Because no matter how we try to justify it – we are tired of flat lemonade, and the walls can hold themselves up without you needing to lean on them.
C'mon, my friend, it's time to dance!