or years. or days. there's nothing worse than some pretentious writer going way hogwild overboard on hyperbole while discussing their garden as a metaphor for life itself. i'm sorry. but my tomatoes are so awesome. i've been told, and i've told others, that what you're practicing on your instrument now will begin to come out in your playing in about six months. taking classes, studying, working on a piece for a performance; it's all a little like shopping. (wait, what happened to the garden metaphor...). we gather and collect and take things away and come back to our home base and start to sort through our bags. or maybe we move and go through things we haven't seen in awhile and make the tough decisions about what stays, what goes, what finds a new home, what takes on a new role. once we have the gift of time to look it all over, think about the contexts, the textures, the shapes, then we can really make it work in ways that make sense to us. i've paid good money for things while shopping and listened to someone schpeil on about how it works or what it does, but it's not until i get it home and work with it in my own way that i really get at what it's all about. and it might be very different from what the experts say or from what the next person in line says. so if you feel like you can't play today, it's because you didn't practice six months ago. if you are having a great time playing and interacting musically and making sense of things that you collected six months ago, congratulations. it's working. it's time to pick the tomatoes. it's time to clear out the closets. it's time to rearrange that bookcase or move that cd collection. or listen to that music you had forgotten all about and really hear what's going on for the first time ever. and then play play play and hear and feel what happens. it doesn't happen every day. it takes months. years. minutes. days. lifetimes. four bars. entire choruses. paragraphs. all seven harry potter books. one sentence. one small workable phrase at a time.