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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Seasons (12/08/03)

TITLE: Seasons of strength
By Jane Karkada


I pull out my old violin from its case, tucked away in a corner of the cabinet. I gently tune the strings, rub on the resin and put bow to string. The violin surface seems dull and grainy, but its tone is as magnificent as ever. It slowly dawns on me and the rest of the household (as well as the rest of the neighborhood!) that Im not much of a player at the moment. I seem to be fumbling and wreaking havoc with the scales.

As I feel the violin's texture I remember my music teacher with his shock of white hair and equally shocking white clothes. He was a sturdy, vivacious and fun-loving 72 year old gentleman with the heart of a fifteen-year-old. He had never answered a formal music exam in his life but he could take on the best of violinists on any given day. He would regale us with stories of his travels around India playing at weddings, concerts, funerals and music festivals. He would tell us about all the interesting and curious people that hed met. Each time he began a story I would let my imagination run riot, weaving into my minds eye a personal exaggerated version of colors, noises, personalities and places.

My most favorite story was the one he told about the wood used to make the worlds best violins. He said that the oldest trees that grew in the worst and coldest winters and those that took the longest time to grow were considered ideal for the making of a violin of flawless tone and quality. The wood had to be seasoned for a minimum of 10-15 years in order for it to produce a tone worth listening to or for it to be able to withstand the tautness of the strings without getting distorted. If in fact unseasoned wood grown in purely nutritious surroundings was used to make a violin, it would buckle under the stress and tension of the strings and would have poor resonance.

My beautiful violin has been with me for 15 years now. It has seen seasons of revelry and seasons of pain. In its hey days it has been the life of the party and on other days it has been ignored. My teacher is long gone and I have a few stories of my own to tell! I have seasoned well along with this marvelous piece of wood. I still squeak but the tone gets deeper with each passing year! And surprisingly it has been the harshest and coldest seasons that God has used to make me more resonant, sturdy and reliable. During those moments time moved so slowly and a solution seemed a distant possibility. And yet here I am- stronger and more dependent on Him.

I realize that if God had allowed merely nutritious and rich seasons for me I would be as a lifeless non-resounding piece of wood that would crumble at the slightest hint of tension.

After an hour of practice I feel every muscle in my left arm screaming out in pain. I stop and pick up my piece of old deerskin and wipe away the resin dust from the surface of the violin. As I place it back in the case, I thank God for the seasons of joy and seasons of weeping. For the seasons of planting and seasons of uprooting. All equally placed in my life so that I may be a vibrant, strong and Christ-centered human being.

Member Comments
Member Date
Violet Nesdoly12/15/03
Jane, this piece about the violin and seasons, referrng to the violin's wood being seasoned and the seasons of one's life is a thoughtful read. Also, it's an interesting take on the 'Seasons' prompt. Thanks for sharing this. ~ Violet
Mary C Legg12/16/03
all seasons have music--you played it beautifully, pogo