Downstairs, the piano tuner is beating on keys, torturing each note with a wrench that tightens strings until they give in and ring true. It takes a special person to be able not only to hear this — this tuner does all this “be ear” — but to be able to know what direction to twist, by how much, and with some degree of patience. I suppose it’s satisfying to be able to take the multiple strings on each of the 100 plus keys and make all the tensions perfectly align, all the frequencies exactly match with one another.

This is the first of several tunings. The piano requires this tightening, torturous process. The car, having just turned 90,000 miles, needs a refresh of fluids and belts and springs, a whole different kind of tuning that sounds more refreshing. And, my own physical self is scheduled for a massage on Friday, cashing in on a Christmas gift certificate that is meant to loosen, relax, and, in an opposite manner to the piano, retune the strings inside that hold everything together.

But the best recent tuning I’ve experienced lately has been one of the senses and psyche. The pictures never tell the complete story. They leave out the sheep sounds that turned out to be mating frogs; they don’t include the feel of the ground underfoot; they remove depth and motion and the change of perspective as you turn a corner. But, they’re something. They remind me of my own tuning, the chance to sense color and improbable angles:



There was this 800 foot plunge of a waterfall that I’d hoped we’d get closer to:


And then the surprise of finding that the trail actually walked its way on the side of the cliff backing that same waterfall:



And then finding that our camp was right at the top of that improbable plunge of water:




And then there were subsequent days where we found ourselves not above or below, but inside:



In all, there were 1600 photos taken by 4 cameras, and I’m just barely starting to sort through them. Mostly, though, they represent an anchor to a memory. Yes, that was all real, even if none of these are adequate images. They represent my own tuning, different than the car’s or the piano’s, but significant nonetheless.

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