Wilted flowers sit in a plastic water bottle at the grave of a young soldier killed in the first Gulf War
I’m traveling this weekend, up in rainy Connecticut. I brought my pipes with me in hopes of finding some out of the way place where I could practice and not bother too many people. As I arrived at the hotel I noticed that the building sat right next to a cemetery… perfect!
I play piobaireachd on the highland bagpipes; sort of very old, “lamenty”, stuff meant to be played by a solo piper on a misty moor or an ancient castle abutment. The tune I’m currently working on is MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart’s Lament, which is an emotional piece that I often struggle to find the right depth of feeling.
Walking through the cemetery I discovered the emotion that the tune required. Stones marked with veterans of all of the 20th century’s wars, others stood over generations of entire families, stone angels kept vigil over the graves of lost children. The music flowed from the pipes, singing out over the garden of stone as people watched and listened from a distance. It was a good moment.