Saturday, 17 May 2008

A Word about Mole

I should explain (a month or so after the event) what Mole is doing on this blog (see previous posting, 'Mole at Large'). Mole, aged thirteen and a half, has accompanied Cara and me on every trip we have made in Europe and the USA since 1997. That's not bad going for a knitted toy I bought for two pounds at a Truro Cathedral sale in December 1994, the month before Cara was born.  Mole has been thrown on the ground in the Parc de Versailles, where the three-year old Cara thought it funny to task my retired French step-parent's patience (a retired army colonel as well) by getting him to stoop in the dust and retrieve the little varmint. Mole has sampled Hungarian champagne in Budapest, courtesy of The Gellert Hotel on my 43rd birthday, and Guinness in the Isaac Butt pub in Dublin. Mole has slept in a gay men's guesthouse in Boston, Mass, (where I broke the shower - I have a tendency to break people's showers) and in the superdeluxe 5 star Hotel Real in Santander, a haunt of the Spanish royal family.

That's enough about Mole - for now.  I should wash his blue suit, I guess. We have darned him several times; but he still doesn't look any better!

When words fail, music speaks

In Redruth again this week to observe a music therapist in session: a humbling experience. Six children, all with cerebral palsy, some with few words in their repertoire, some none at all. Robin began by touring the room with an African percussion instrument, spending a moment by each child while he 'put the music into them'. They all responded on some level: one boy, who could not articulate a sound, by stretching out his arms. The silent little girl sitting next to me began to cry as the session drew to a close - an eloquent response indeed. It made me think - again - of music as the most universal of human exchanges. Words are territorial, fancy parcels of received meaning. But everyone understands music - perhaps it is innate. Robin told me of a child he works with who was born 'without eyes'. But she can dream. The way she articulates her dreams is by pursing her lips and singing in a high pitched, wonderful way - like a dolphin, maybe, or a whale: an otherworldly sound. We none of us know what we are until life challenges us in some way. We none of us know what we might become.