SHORELINE, Wash. -- The local parks program that puts real pianos in public parks is pleasantly surprising a lot of people.
But what really surprised the organizers behind that "Piano In The Parks" program is a new, mystery piano that has turned up in the forest in Shoreview park, north of Seattle. This piano is not part of their program.
Scott Parker and his dog walk through the park all the time, but on Sunday morning he noticed something different.
"And we kind of came this direction more," Parker said of his walk through the forest. "And it was just like this. And the sun was on it. I caught it out the corner of my eye. Wow. There it was. Ha!"
There in the forest sits a mystery piano.
Parker could hardly believe it. Not just the piano, but the idea.
"I just think it's beautiful," he said. "And someone's act of putting it here was a beautiful thing to do."
It's impossible to resist plinking the keys a little, even though it is very, very out of tune. But it is so in tune with its magnificent surroundings that you can imagine grand piano music.
There's only a fine line between music and nature, they say. Rising skyward, the two massive Douglas firs form nature's cathedral sitting on either side of the mystery piano. A creek below only adds to the harmony.
But let's take a reality check. The Shoreline Parks Department says the piano is not authorized to be there, even though one person in the office seemed charmed by the idea of the mystery piano. Unlike the sanctioned pianos in the parks, this one has no weather protection. So the next heavy rain will damage the piano and eventually it will become litter.
While no one is sure where the piano came from, Parker did find a clue inside.
"There is a card. A clue," he said.
Taped to the underside of the lid is an aged business card from a piano tuner. We contacted him and he helped us contact the person who owned the piano - at least as of the tuning job in February 2012. We left word with that person. But, alas, no response from whoever hauled the mystery piano to its verdant altar. So for now it remains a mystery ready to play off-tune music for anyone with an imagination.