There they are.
Lined up, one by one.
Standing tall, perfectly ordered, not a hair's width out of line.
They're strong, still. They're the strongest in the world, refusing to abandon their formation with a finality I just can't argue with.
They seem unmovable, so certain in their stance;
and so gentle.
Not even a whisper of tension controls them;
they stand with ease,
and the reassuring practice of time.
Then I look at mine.
They can't seem to find their place, scrambling from spot to spot with desperation.
They seem like they can't stand still, slouching and fidgeting, and certainly not getting along with each other.
I can't seem to find even a hint of confidence when I see their hunched shoulders.
But they're not ashamed, and neither am I.
I look back at those weathered masters.
Like little soldiers, lined up and ready,
watching my band of new recruits struggle to find their place.
They're so calm, and so experienced, and I believe that some day, mine will be just like theirs.
So I take up my instrument again, watching my teacher.
My fingers are hopeful, and so am I.