The strength of tenderness ...
I stole an hour from myself on this bright blue summer afternoon to practice the tenderest of things ... the first of the three Opus 117 Intermezzi by Brahms, and the warm ache of the second movement of Schubert's "little" A Major sonata.
And I was struck by the unique kind of strength required to sharpen the perfect limbs of those melodies ... to keep them focused and poignant, ringing, and singing, while the background blushes and sighs in a focused haze of color.
This is what the eyes do when they focus on little Samantha in this picture I just recently developed (after it languished for six sad years in a drawer). Her shapes, her fingers, the sun in her hair, all become sharp enough to melt the heart when the eyes admire her. That little body looks ready to turn and walk contentedly, heart-breakingly, away ... and with the eyes fixed on her, the lush greens of southern France blur into the sweetest and softest of hazes.
This effect I fought for in my stolen hour with Brahms and Schubert. And when I caught it, I was sure I'd come closer to knowing the meaning of tenderness.