Several weeks ago I realized that I had lost my tuning fork. I turned the house upside down looking for it. I play guitar almost every day and I am helpless without it. I can tune the guitar fine without a tuning fork I just can't get it into correct pitch. So I can tune all the strings easy enough and the guitar sounds great but it isn't in pitch with the rest of the world.
Earlier this week I was listening to a cd of spanish guitar music and I realized that my guitar had slipped quite a bit out of perfect pitch so I decided to go get a tuning fork.
My quest took my in an ever expanding circle further and further from my home. I finally found a tuning fork at the fourth music store. At each place the walls were adorned with hundreds of beautiful guitars and the associates always offered me an array of inexpensive electronic tuning alternatives but all I wanted was a tuning fork.
When I asked the associate at the fourth store he furrowed his brows in thought and said "Yeah I think we have some". He went behind the counter and pulled out a plastic jug. Simiilar to the ones that would hold one hundred gumballs. He rummaged around inside -there was an assortment of items in there. Eventually he gave up and poured the contents out on the glass countertop. Several tuning forks were in the pile.
"What note are you looking for?"
"Well I would really like middle C. That's the one I have been using for years. But if you don't have one then I will take an E."
We went through the half dozed tuning forks. Each one was in an individual plastic bag,and each bag was literally covered in dust. There was no C note so I decided on an E. I rapped it gently on the counter top and the associate looked at me. I placed the ball of it near my ear and savored the purity of the note.The associate continued to look at me like I had lost my mind.
I rapped the fork again and placed the ball against the glass of the countertop and as the beauty of the note rang out through the glass the associates face changed. In a minute the two of us were trying out all the forks and just having a good time listening to the notes against the glass.
It was just a shame that I got an E note. I really felt like I wanted a C note.
The electronic tuning machines are great mind you, they make it very easy for you to tune all the strings on your guitar exactly to pitch. But is that what playing guitar is all about? Does the world make it too easy? Do we ever listen anymore? That's what a tuning fork does for me. It makes me stop, be in the moment, and listen. There are no worries about getting it tuned up fast so I can play. There is only the joy of being in the moment.
I believe that a tuning fork helps you to hear and the electronic devices don't. They help you to do less. Don't listen, just get it tuned. How long will it be before you place your guitar in a box and it comes out tuned? How long before you place your guitar in a box and it is played for you?
But this isn't the real point of my essay.The real point lies in the tuning fork itself. this quest I embarked on to find a tuning fork runs exactly parallel to my quest for the meaning of life.
In my quest for the meaning of life I am looking for a tuning fork. Something that will set me on the right path. A guidance. Something that will say to me this is the beginning. This is the pure note that you can start from. From here the whole symphony of life will become apparent -if you just listen.
It's just so damn hard to find a tuning fork in this world. Everywhere you go you are bombarded by a cacophany of electronic tuning instruments that claim to make it easier, faster, better.But are they really? And if they do make it easier, faster, better are they right? I don't mean are they correct. I mean are they truly right? Are they tuning forks of real truth? Are they something that I can set my internal note to and say "Now I can unveil the whole symphony?" Or are they all just the wrong note?
Addendum- (added several weeks later)
A couple of weeks after I wrote the tuning for essay I rearranged the furniture in my creativity room. I was moving a second computer in there so I could do my website work in the same room. The website deserves to be in my creativity room because it too is a creative pursuit.
Anyway, in order to make room for a computer table I moved my music stand away from one corner of the room and over near the door of the room. After hours of computer cables, software loading and the like it was late at night so I went to bed. The following morning when I walked into my creativity room I found the tuning fork I thought I had lost forever. It was resting quietly on a string on the backside of the music stand. All this time it had been out of sight with the music stand against the wall. But there it was in plain sight.
It made me wonder. The whole oint of the tuning fork was my quest to find a "note" in this life that I could resonate with. A clear message that would guide me. the lost tuning fork was a metaphor for the loss of this note.
It just seems funny that the tuning fork was right there in the same room with me all the while; even when I searched for another.
It makes you think. Is the tuning fork right there? All the While? Maybe you just have to move a few things around to see it?