Recently my family, I, and some good friends went to Emerald Isle, North Carolina for a beach vacation. Toward the end of our stay we decided to explore Shackleford Banks, a barrier island off the coast of Morehead City. We hoped to find some good shells and see the wild horses that live there. We took a 1:30 pm ferry to the island and asked the man driving the boat where we could find the trail to the other side of the island to get better shells. He responded, “Oh, y’all can just cut straight across.”
So, off we headed. Our spirits were high. About halfway through our journey we found the horses. We continued along the beach until our shelling bags were full. Then we took a snack break and re-applied sunscreen. My dad realized that if we didn’t hurry up, we would miss the last boat, which left at 4:30. We hustled back. Somewhere, someone ( I don’t know who) decided that we should cut across the island instead of following the beach back around the way we had come. So we did.
After a half hour or so, we suddenly realized that we were (whoops…) following one of the horse paths. By now we were all pretty much miserable. There were whippy beach grasses all over the place that were making our legs itch, along with cacti poking through our shoes. Climbing to one of the tall dunes, My dad got his bearings, and we started off in the general direction of the ferry landing. The littler kids started making up stories about how we would be stranded, and become the fabled ‘Wild People of Shackleford Banks.’ Trudging along, the knee-deep lagoons blocked our path. Taking off our shoes, we waded into the water. It felt so good that the whole group of 11 people waded back to the ferry, which was waiting for us.
Feeling the cold, cool water running over our bare feet was the best part of our little excursion. It lifted our spirits, especially my little brother and his friends (Ewww! this sand feels GROSS!). We were so happy on the ride back! We rested and feasted on the M&Ms my mom had brought.
I’ll relate this experience to playing music: Sometimes when we are playing a piece of music, we think it is easier than it really is. We rush toward the end, not relying on our guide (a teacher) but on ourselves. Eventually, we start realizing that our lazy practice method of “Go Through It Without Paying Attention To What We Are Doing” has paid off in a very bad way. We are left to try and stumble through the hard passages of our piece. We wish that we had paid better attention to our wise guide. Then, we go back to our teacher for help. Our teacher’s advice provides the relief of cool water running over sore, blistered feet.
Moral of this story: Make sure that you listen to your teacher and practice well even if your piece seems easy at the moment. It will pay off. Follow your guide and don’t end up getting lost on one of the horse paths 🙂