There were shoes. A lot of them strewn across the oak wooden entryway floor ten feet ahead from my vantage point sitting behind the slightly out of tune piano. I only began noticing the mass of footwear well into my second half-hour of jazzy Christmas tunes ringing through the expansive room filled with a beautiful tree to my left and an early evening sunset through the bay window to my right.
There were guests. A lot of them standing around the marble island fifteen feet extending beyond my sight line over middle-C. All angles of human form – very pleasant and engaging as evidenced by their holiday smiles and lean-in body languages. Pretty dresses. Handsome shirts. Prosciutto, olives of different colors, turkey, decorative china, delectable delicacies of all shapes, wafting aromas mixing the air, and spirits stirring in the clear glass vessels of elixirs only began the feast of festivities.
There was sincere Joy. A lot of it. Beautifying the entryway were big welcoming doors where guests entered over a threshold of unending grace, joy, and wonder. This, of course, was a provider of merriment. A host of hugs. He was there, bowing to their admittance, and welcoming their special arrival.
There were words. A lot of them. Mumbles, appellations of happiness, blurbs, yipes, yips, teehees, kindnesses, woohoos, full sentences, hey-you’s, buddies, waz-ups, and tons more. The echos in the jovial, quite lusty atmosphere didn’t allow me to pick up on specific words, so pardon my lack of detail in this matter. Besides, matters of a pianistic nature occupied my time.
There were notes. A lot of them with me at the piano among the mass of shoes.
I have to figure some of the little buggers got out, though. After all, I wasn’t there to practice. Notes everywhere. I do know some of them ended up on the floor. C-sharps that should have been C-naturals, whacked keys, missed chords … all the notey-notey, cutesy stuff the universe drops in on us piano performers. Oh, and the occasional “music falling off the music rack stunt” … priceless, especially when the music does the slinky routine off the keyboard on the way down to the floor. So as those notes settled in for the night?… I hope you slept well, my pretties!…the duster probably got you the next morning!
So what about the other notes? The joyful ones, from my feelers, bouncing off the shoes, touching the words, through the guests, riding on the wings of wonder?
I have to image they had a purpose on that night. The survivors rose above to live a dream. Imagine coming to life as a note on that night. A sound never before until that moment.
From the vibration of a wire, a b-flat came alive to rebound off an gold angel ornament. The birth of an F immediately resulted in the prosciutto feeling a breeze of freshness over it’s face. A subtle turn of a head toward her partner was the destiny of a newly born trinity of crotchets as a revered combination of three notes passed through the lover’s closely shared space. Many notes, many dreams.
As I sat airing my grateful life ten fingers at a time, I realized the night belonged to the shoes after all. They were the stars of the night. Quietly assuming their role as deliverers of guests, these soles of the people rested until called upon, once again, to reprise a very personal responsibility: guide the steps, maintain safe the way, and hold true the stable gait of the trusting guest.
Shoes have the ability to give of themselves. Peeling off the leather heels liberated the guest from all daily pressures built up through grinding gravity. I could see relief eminate on faces as each shoe found its way to the pile. Each pair gave what it had to get to that moment …. and now it rested.
My time soon coming to a close, the party was nowhere near that end. Thousands of notes born, many guests, unending joy, and plenty of kind words about my piano playing. I observed many things. Chief among them, the shoes. Exiting with a lot of music in hand, I crossed over the threshold – passing by many styles, shapes, and sizes of fabulous footwear… wondering if I changed inside just a little.
For isn’t it true people of all kinds, shapes, and sizes carry us through all our paths and help lighten our steps along the way?
I played notes which I’ve done for years. I saw guests arrive and have extreme joy. I experienced an overwhelmingly gracious host. I heard some very kind words. All came together as movements of a shoe symphony I am so glad to have experienced.
My gratitude and thanks to shoes eveywhere.