There are 34 strings on a Dusty String Folk Harp. Each one is different. Starting at the top, the tiny translucent strings ping like the sound of rain falling on a crystal globe. Their tension cuts into my fingers like the fizz off the top of a glass of cherry cola.
My left hand reaches down to the pluck the lowest string. Its voice blooms slowly, growing louder and louder like the heavy beat of a stereo.
Grains of energy pelt the air, one by one as I pluck out a story, note by note, the sound of the universe.
They resonate together in a steady rhythm, certain parts growing to the loud crescendo of a waterfall just to fall soft like an echo of the past.
I reach for a chord, knowing its potential harmony but something doesn’t sound right. The strings twang and grumble against each other. They are too different!
Their wounded prides sting as they complain that the other is to blame for the poor quality of sound that they emit. Neither, however, realize that they are both missing something.
They are out of tune but they cannot hear themselves because they are too concerned with the faults and limitations of the other. The vibrations stop, and my hand hovers in the air. With the flick of my wrist the strings are stretched and pulled: looser and then tighter.
I check them each time I adjust their tension listening to the wails as they resist. Change is hard, and tomorrow I will have to care for the harp again.
If I do not tune the sound of the harp like I do for the song of my own life, the wood begins to warp and the strings, my connections, will snap with a final burst of disparity, falling silent forever.
This week is about standing against racism. Each of us has a song, a quality, a culture, and a physical feature that marks our lives.
Although facing these differences is hard, the sound of understanding that is made from attending the problem or conflict on a daily basis is entirely new, unique, and beautiful.
So stand up for yourself.
Your voice is strong because it is unlike any other. Stand up for others, making sure that their voices are heard too, because they are just as important.
Take time to be silent and at peace, listening to the character of culture forming and un-forming. Look for prejudice, fears, and dissonance and thus, be a diplomat reflecting life, love, and harmony.
From one end of the earth to the other, like a perfect cadence, we begin and will end together.