Thursday, 24 November 2011

solace in a six string....

One of the peculiar (and also best) things about surfing is how all-consuming an activity it is, while you're out there i mean. There's the oft-used quote of the "church of the open sky" and hackneyed though it is, the sentiment behind it rings true. For me, and for lots of others too, no matter what's going on in our lives or how busy or stressed we feel, we can leave everything on the beach and let our minds be all consumed by the activity itself. The lines of whitewater serving as breaks to disconnect a busy mind as we wade out, the physical effort bringing peace through repetition of simple action. The rhythm of the sea, not the ticking of a clock dictating the pace of the activity. It becomes a touchstone, a constant in our lives, marking the passing of events, helping to deal with the peaks and troughs, a stillness we can come back to, a place of refuge in a sea of change.

Playing the guitar is a lot like that too. I've been playing a long time, counting up just how long makes me feel old, and though the desire to play waxes and wanes as the years pass, it never leaves. It's hard to explain to a non-player but, though your mind is partly focussed on making your fingers move, letting the notes flow through you and out of your fingers, especially while improvising, brings a kind of relaxing that makes minutes drift by and nothing else matter. Sounds cheesy typed out but some of you will know what i mean.

As an aside, i was well into music before i picked up a guitar. Not long afterwards, I remember one day looking across at my guitar in the corner of my bedroom and thinking how cool and amazing it was that pretty much all the music i'd ever heard or would ever hear could be coaxed out of those six strings. The breadth of the human condition and the full gamut of our emotions expressable for anyone with enough imagination. My tastes and views are more mature and broad and sophisticated now but its still true and its an idea that still fills me with wonder whenever it flits through my conciousness.

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