There is a baby grand piano in the lobby of Lemmen Holton Cancer Pavilion that resounds up six floors worth of cancer related offices and treatment suites. I’ve been treated on all but one of them. Usually, the automated player piano software drives the music. Unobjectionable except when it plays Sondheim (good) Send in the Clowns (seriously NOT good). But I can always, as in 100% accuracy over the last several months, tell when a real human being is playing instead of the pre-programed stuff.
Today, my favorite piano volunteer was playing a gorgeous arrangement of one of my favorite arias from Handel’s Messiah. City Chapel this fall is reading Isaiah together, the source material for this aria. “He shall feed His flock, like a shepherd. And he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in His bosom. And gently lead those that are with young.” You can look up the precise reference yourself. The
alto that sings it is rich, luscious, and the soprano soars over top of it with great hope and comfort. I’ve had a tender spot for it since cradling my baby son.
Tomorrow is treatment #30 of 30. Silver nitrate is already in my radiation kit bag.
Today, all this is difficult to bear.