I hold my breath, excited that much warm sun is coming to town. I understand after this past week of freezing temperatures that there can be such a thing as cold sun. Cold sun has nothing to do with what goes on at the surface of our beloved fire ball above, but with what our planet down here is doing in moving air about its surface. A large bubble of cold morphed in all directions over most of the country for days. Even in Phoenix, where a friend moved this past year, people have had to cover the tops of the cacti in their yards. My friend set out colorful cowboy hats that he had made in his shop on top of several of his. He reports that his neighbors placed styrofoam cups and bowls atop their saguaros, and are envious of his more thoughtful decor.

My vintage ukulele, a mahogany Martin with Brazilian rosewood fret board, has come out of the repair shop in fine condition. I am learning how to properly strum and pick a few chords, which actually seems to help drive away the lingering cold air mass. I would strum with even greater diligence if I could verify that this is working. Too late, however, for my banana palms, that were badly damaged while I lay on tropical beaches the past few weeks. The leaves on one palm had grown to about twelve foot in length and stood straight up from the trunk. They looked like a cluster of surfboards standing on end while hugging each other.

The desire to learn to play some musical instrument has haunted me, well, most of my life. I have internalized all reasons why I cannot or should not learn to embrace something. Now that I have more idle hours than ever realized, picking up this uke and fingering the strings to make it sing a little, clumsy as the sound may be, fills a few hours with some measure of rhythmic delight. I like to read, but I read too much. Others have told me that. My brain, when weary, sends me similar signals. I may have found a deadened part of me that could spring back to life. Just the other day I read that Einstein played the violin for pleasure and for inspiration. The vibration yielded some of his greatest thoughts.

By toe tapping and knee slapping, hand clapping and finger snapping, I just may be able to drum some analog rhythm and beat into this aging consciousness of mine that tends to want to retreat into a silent dumbness. I am much like these couple of big, brown, dead palm trees close to my back door that look so ugly and alien to me. At the root, they may still be thriving. Hmmm, maybe I need a cowboy hat…

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