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A Piano Room with a View

I thought of E.M. Forster’s novel as an inspiration for this blog, but “The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music” would have more aptly described what I was writing about.

Every week, a breathtaking view of the El Cerrito Hills streams into my piano room through an open, maple-paneled door. Depending on the time of day, clouds speckled with pink, gray, or a combination of the two decorate a rich, blue sky.

Terraced homes fill in the backdrop with their built-in crescendo to the top. It’s an easy distraction looking over the piano rack from time to time during lessons. My students know when I’m off somewhere, in the clouds.

Yesterday, I brought my Camcorder with me on Amtrak 713 from Fresno, to film 7 year old Fritz playing his newly composed piece, “Finding Gold,” but besides setting up the studio for a shoot, I took an opportunity to capture the hills, zooming in and out, with the Ken Burns effect.

Tomorrow, I’ll likely post all the footage, including a flock of domestically raised pigeons to the right that coo constantly and flap their wings in a dust up when their owner shoves his arm into the cage with a bundle of seeds. I’m so used to it now, but I was plagued by curiosity until I figured what was going on next door.

A parent who came to pick up her child one afternoon, remarked that “pigeons” were on the other side of the fence. I replied as if it wasn’t a big deal.

The avian brood reminded me of home bound birds that were sent off to deliver messages from rooftops in the South Bronx. When I visited my grandparents on Longfellow Avenue, I saw them take off into the horizon, letting my imagination run wild.

News traveled faster in the tenement from window to window, Molly Goldberg style. My bubbe got the latest gossip faster than a speeding bullet.

The view from her apartment was no match for the one in El Cerrito, though both shared one thing in common, a clothesline that brought everything back down to earth.

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