Sunday, September 19, 2010

Harp Surgery

I saw it coming.

Since the first day I tuned up my harp here in Hawaii, I knew it wouldn't last. My harp, born in the desert of Henderson, Nevada, did not take well to the humidity of being two blocks from the ocean on the rainy side of a tropical island. The only question was, how long did I have? Each day the soundboard bent more and more until finally... POP!

The right side of the board ripped out of the box.

So I took all the tension off the strings and went to the hardware store for some epoxy. After I glued everything back together I waited a week to let the epoxy set. And then I began to tune up. Very slowly.

I couldn't bring myself to take it up to true pitch. If the soundboard comes out of the box, that's one thing, but with the way the wood was warping, I worried that a crack right up the middle would come next. That can't be repaired.

So I left it a third interval low. And just to see what would happen, I tried playing it.

Not bad!

It's different, but it still sounds good. Instead of crisp and bell-like, the sound is mellow, older, more soothing. I like it. And I know that, tuned to a lower pitch, there's less tension on the soundboard and my harp will last longer.

So I got to thinking about my life. Back on the mainland my life was tuned to a high pitch. I ran around, involved in this hobby and that volunteer effort. But here, I don't have so many things I'm involved in. I have time to go sit by the sea and watch the waves.

It's different, but still good. In fact, I think I'll last a little longer this way.


PSPatterson said...

Hi Rebecca! Tia showed me how to follow this blog as well. I love reading your little "excerpts of life"! I loved this analogy. We all need to lower the pitch and last longer! I thought about you the other night as I sat drawing and listening to beautiful harp music. I hope you all are well and happy!

Rachel Hoffman-Bayles said...

We had a fine art print custom framed while we were in Seattle. It did not like moving to Utah. It looked like someone grabbed two opposing corners and twisted it. It's a little better here in NJ, but still not quite flat to the wall. Oh well.

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Yes, the harps I build here in Hawaii are going to have to stay. They'll die if I ever take them to the desert.

LeishaMaw said...

Loved the analogy. You amaze me.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

First, you've got some cool looking tools there.

Second, I love how you always find connections in life.


RVBarnhurst said...

Adapting to change is what life is all about. Harps and hearts learn to live in new environments and thrive. The lower tones bring more peace to the heart, a quieting to the soul.

And the fact that you knew just what to do is totally awesome!

You sing the song where you are planted, no matter near and ocean or in the middle of the dry desert.

Miss you!

Kathy said...

Ah, well you have captured the heart of things! I am glad to know the old harp will still sing on, as will I.