Monday, November 24, 2008

OUT OF HARWICH


Yesterday I found an interesting article from the AP. Someone left a Baldwin piano in some rather remote woods near Harwich, Massachusetts (the Bells Neck woods to be exact, if you know the area). The piano, complete with matching bench, appeared to be in working condition when it was discovered and reported by a hiker in the conservation area. I wonder if she sat down and tried it first.

The police are perplexed. They wonder why someone would go to the trouble of doing such a thing, since it took six men to get the heavy instrument onto a truck to remove it. I’m fairly certain there is a law of some kind against leaving a piano in the woods like that. An object as huge as a piano might easily qualify for felony littering. And, in a final statement (which I can't help but hear Jay Leno reading as a Headline) the police said they have notified other local departments to see if any missing pianos have been reported – !

There are several explanations for the piano in the woods, perhaps the most likely being that someone had a hidden camera trained on it, and the video of the ‘punked’ hiker and police officers will soon be appearing on YouTube. Well, hopeless romantic that I am, I’ll tell you why I think someone did it. It was done by someone who truly wanted to play it out in the woods, who wanted to feel the wind against their face as they played, to let the music drift up into the branches of trees, and gently come to rest over the wildflowers. This was someone who wanted to hear the music echo in the trees instead of an enclosed room, someone who wanted to repay the birds for all their songs. This was someone who wanted to give something wonderful and mysterious to the raccoons and squirrels and toads, and then just walk away. I think of that scene between Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen and Robert Redford as Denys Finch-Hatton, in “Out of Africa.” They are on safari, and Finch Hatton has brought along a wind-up Victrola, which he rigs up to play remotely by pulling a string. They both hide, pull the string and wait. As music fills the still African air, a monkey comes to investigate. Finch-Hatton says, “Think of it, never a man-made sound…and then Mozart!” I don’t know what the mysterious Harwich pianist might have played in the woods. Maybe Mozart, maybe Oscar Peterson – I don’t think it really matters. And if that piano was left there for some other reason, something weird or mundane, then I hope I never find out.


Photo is of my old place in the foothills

18 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I love it! And that scene from Out of Africa came to me, too. One of my favorite movies. And I like your explanation as well -- I was thinking the same thing! Guess we must have known each other in a previous life, we seem to frequently be on the same wave length!

Kallen305 said...

HA! I was thinking the same thing too. Why else would someone leave a beautiful working piano out there in the wild?

My coworker has a daughter who lives in Harwich, I am going to have to ask if she heard about it.

Kathiesbirds said...

Oh I LIKe the way you think! As I first started to read this, the same thought went through my mind, including the reference to Out of Africa! I'm almost sorry they took the piano away, though it wouldn't be of much use after one winter storm in New England!

bobbie said...

I like your explanation, and I hope as you do that we never hear anything to the contrary.

Dianne said...

I was wondering if perhaps someone knew that really, truly - when alone in the woods - animals can talk and sing and play the piano :)

Lin said...

interesting thoughts, but i couldn't get my mind off the piano rotting in the rain...i do enjoy soothing music in nature.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I like you explanation ... both of them actually. My bet is that has something to do with a foreclosure. Somebody didn't want the bank getting the piano. But that is just a guess, and more than likely there are a couple of reasons behind it.

magiceye said...

love your explanation... only hope the piano player was not taken away by the wild animals..!

me ann my camera said...

I like your explanation too; so romantic and obviously someone had a dedication of some sort to arrange such a feat. If you ever find a follow up story on this of the reality of it I would love to hear about it.

hitch writer said...

Hopefully the real reason is never found out... because reality can be so boring... fantasies are great.... i remember that movie lovely comparison...

SandyCarlson said...

You mentioned a favorite movie there! That is a delightful story. I hope the person playing my piano out in the woods enjoyed his Mozart! (Just kidding...Though I would go up for a concert. If they can do it at Tanglewood, why not in Bells Neck?)

Kelly said...

What a lovely story! It makes me wonder if some writer was having a "writers block" and had a piano delivered to the woods to find inspiration through the outdoors and nature? Maybe a song for an upcoming movie? This is such a wonderful story and I sure wish we did know what was behind the story! Fantasies are great to ponder over but I wish whoever did it would let us know! If you ever hear, let us know!!! Great Post!

Quiet Paths said...

I of course cringe when I think of a grand sitting out in the elements getting rained on, etc. Someone cover it up! I DO love your interpretation however; someone's dream of the moment; performance art done just for nature. If you can find Liz Story's "church of trees" hear it and this will all make sense.

Sue said...

I am reminded of a scene from a movie, I cannot remember what movie now -- in which a harp is hauled agonizingly up a very long and windy hill, and then just before the top is reached the cart with the harp breaks loose and the harp flies through the air, with the wind striking the strings making a beautiful noise.

Indrani said...

So sweet Deborah!
How you think about such incidents! But then I too think that may be the actual reason and the person must have thoroughly enjoyed it. And out of sheer happiness and satisfaction may have rushed home to record his/her lyrics forgetting the piano behind.

Do update in case you know if the police found the real owner. :)

Heather said...

Your explanation is the best, the happiest the most soothing...if I was walking by i would have hidden behind a tree, and listened all day long ...

Michael from Las Vegas said...

Having grown up in Harwich and spending many hours exploring these woods, the reservoir, Herring Run & River and remembering the townsfolk this story does not surprise me at all. Cape Codders, especially Harwichians, are not really eccentric just very unique in the ways they go about baffling the rest of the world.

Deborah Godin said...

@ MICHAEL FROM L.V.
How nice to hear from an actual Harwichian on the subject! It's my personal opinion that such merry bafflement adds weight to the positive side on the Scale of Life!