This morning, before dawn, we woke to the most wondrous singing I have ever heard in my life. I don’t know what kind of bird it was, but it sat very close to our open window, with many other singers chanting in the background, and gave a virtuoso performance that went on for several minutes. Moira clicked on her iPhone to record – and the diva gave not another note. It’s song took the form of a kind of theme and variations, beginning each phrase with something a bit familiar and then launching into long, spontaneous choruses, each new – a huge range of pitches and sonorities: singing, whistling, clucking, chirping in figures that could almost be notated in conventional musical symbols, they were so melodic, tuneful and tonal.

It’s the day after chemo, I’m hung over, bloated, tired, lacking in appetite, achey, fussy – but really very fortunate. Not sick. A little web-logging will cheer me up. And I’ve received warm and meaningful notes and responses, for which I’m very grateful. The internet is such an example of immediacy and interconnectedness.

Saturday was the best day. We got a free ride, door to door from the clinic to Frankfurt where the huge music fair was in it’s last day – the only day open to the public. It would take five or ten of Toronto’s Convention Centers to house this event. The hall just for the makers of violins, violas, cellos and basses (along with some mandolins, tars, and a few special guitars) was acres. The hall for electric guitars was more than twice as big. I spent a lot of time in Strings and in Brass. It felt so good to touch and hold these instruments and talk to people from Russia and Italy and everywhere who make them. It felt good to walk, people-watch, do something different, share another unique experience with Moira.

The sound and atmosphere in each hall was as different as the characters we tend to associate with the players of the different instruments. The elegant scales and muted arpeggios echoing around quiet, serious musicians sipping the best espresso in the String hall. Trumpeters noodling and screaming high notes in the Brass. Of course, the din of a thousand would-be Hendrixes, mixed with someone performing solo or with a whole band every fifty feet or so in the guitar building. Not to mention the endless accordions, drums, percussion, harmonicas, woodwinds, DJ gear, microphones, music stands, guitar straps, t-shirts, sound systems, church organs, ancient instruments and – oh yes, travel guitars.

only 3 lbs, 28" long

No gifts, please.

I really miss having a guitar around to write, play, pick at. I was talking to the rock and roll doctor after having looked at this cool little Travelers Guitar and he said to be sure to look at the American-made Martin Back-packer. Two seconds on line, got the comparison, all the details. I’ll try the Martin in a store first, but it looks the better deal. Maybe I’ll find one in Amsterdam. (No gifts, please – I sound like I’m fishing here. No, just telling a story.)

On the other hand, I’m hoping this is the final visit to Europe for treatments – who’ll need a back-packer? Sunday was a rest day and the last day of the night-time chemo. Yesterday was the second half of the strong stuff; a couple of days to detox, and we leave on Thursday for Holland where we gratefully look forward to seeing Michel and Ellen, visiting with Joanna, and generally continuing our education.

“Now is the season to know that everything you do is sacred.” Hafiz