Sunday, September 14, 2008

These sandals were made for walkin'

"And someone raised the question 'twixt the coffee and the cakes:

'Does the Piper walk to get away from all the noise he makes?'"

--From "The Ballad of How MacPherson Held the Floor" by Robert W. Service

Pipers are noted for their ambulatory habits. Robert Service is not the only one who has commented on it. There is also the old supposition that they walk (or march) because moving targets are harder to hit. Competing pipers in Grade 3 and higher march, even among their own kind, because the judges expect them to.

I did some accidental research on the subject this afternoon and discovered that, even if you do not have a neighbor with a rifle trained on you, moving while you play is very beneficial. It is the time of year when you try to eke the last dregs of summer's benefit and wear sandals. Unfortunately, it is also the time of year when the big, black ants are whispering to each other that the weather is about to change and that they had better store up every edible they possibly can. It would appear that novice pipers are considered edible. I have been disturbed in mid-birl many a time by a very ambitious ant which attaches itself to my toe and will not let go. I have never been dragged by one more than a few feet, but it always pays to be cautious, so I have taken to strolling, even while I tune.

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