Our hearts do in dark forests dwell.
Each feeling, choosing, kernel core
lives in a roughly-tangled dell,
a wilderness of soul and spore.

Each forest lives, each forest grows,
unfurls through time our destinies.
Alive with buzzing thoughts, each glows,
cohesive-seeming unities.

— Andrew Hamilton, “Akrasia Forest”

I've always wondered — sometimes more, sometimes less — what my life might become. Nine years ago those wonderings led me to the house and grave of my favorite composer. The past few months of leisurely introspection have encouraged me again to wonder more. When the past week found me within walking distance, I went for a return visit.

The tree where I sat, and Medtner's grave

I brought my changed self. Since Medtner's resting place last observed me, I had not merely learned to play some and analyze some of his music, I'd finally composed some I was proud to call mine. On the off chance that wouldn't suffice, I also brought flowers. Then I cued up my recorded performance of his Sonata-Reminiscenza, sat at the foot of an immense tree, and marveled at the life Medtner lived while making the music he made. Was the former a necessary precondition for the latter, or merely incidental? Are my preconditions likely similar to his? If I'm to write my music, what kind of life must I live? How can I be sure? How can I find out? The clouds parted. The birds resumed their song. I rose to my feet in appreciation.

No amount of wondering suffices to show me what my life will be. There's only one way to find out. I hope, on my next visit, to play Medtner something wonderful and new. In the meanwhile, I know that my life is far better for his music, that it's precious, and that it's mine.

Никола́й Ме́тнер ('Nicolas Medtner'), 1880-1951