This morning I broke free from one of those odd dream worlds that can appear when crossing over from sleeping to waking. The dream was about the violin – not about playing the violin, but just a strange little scene with the instrument itself. It was unsettling – I generally don’t remember dreams.
Upon returning to my violin, which I had left in its case and which I kept housed at my desk at work, I found that the case had been opened and the shoulder rest attached to the violin. A second bow had also been added to the case. While my case can hold two, I knew that I only had one. But the second bow was in the case at an odd configuration, arranged at a perpendicular angle. While the dream-case supported such a configuration, it was out of the ordinary for me. I observed that everything else had been taken out of the case too.
Then I suddenly noticed that it was not just the one bow that had been added, but about twenty bows. They were arranged in a fan-like pattern. The bows seemed thin and string-like, but they were definitely bows – the array had a sculptural feel. It was an eerie moment – as if there were a mystical explanation to which I was not privy.
But the mystical bow arrangement did not hold my interest – instead, I picked up my instrument, which was indeed my own violin. It was, however, strangely adorned with unvarnished wood blocks. The blocks formed a scaffolding-like structure that supported the neck and fingerboard. The violin was the size and shape that it’s supposed to be, so there is no logical space into which these blocks fit, but there they were, nonetheless.
Turning toward the case, I wanted to put the violin back, but I found that the design of the case was funky – the violin dropped into a slot lengthwise. While surprised, in the dream world the difference seemed within the realm of acceptable. The shoulder rest was supposed to go into a cavernously huge compartment on the back, but the case also still had the regular interior slot for it, so I chose to put it there. Somehow making that choice felt a bit defiant and satisfying.
I then inserted the violin lengthwise into its slot in the case, but quickly felt compelled to pull it back out again. When I did, the scroll was loose. As I manipulated it gingerly, it came off in my hands, so I tried to re-attach it. Upon examination, I found that the scroll was designed to attach to the neck via a slide that I could basically make work, but after doing my best it was still loose.
So of course I walked the violin over to the repair guy, who was right around the corner from my desk – just a few steps away in the same building. The repair guy was my regular, real-life luthier, but he was leaving for the day. Quite uncharacteristically, he was gregariously friendly. He told me that he supervises his staff working to re-attach scrolls, but he does not do the work himself. He said it would take about 20 minutes of paid labor. The process would involve a piece of nylon strapping, about half-inch wide and three inches long, which he showed me.
It was somehow comforting that the process was so straightforward and routine.
And then I woke up.
Thanks for reading.