Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 30: Death

Considering the amount of stress and fear I feel around things like insect extermination and replacement windows, it occurs to me that dying, for which there are no Yelp reviews, must require more fortitude than any of us really possesses. 

I'm probably not going to die today, though, so in the meantime I'll take a breath or three for my childhood neighbor, who recently passed.  RIP Alice.  You were fierce and brave and I hope you had to marshall none of that for the end. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 30: Adulthood

Adulthood has many penalties and few perks, but among the glitzier of its spoils is lowered expectations.  A slightly cooler morning, toddler splayed across your chest, the hitch and stumble of a train. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

July 29: Dregs

Wasting those last few hours of summer, as summer begs to be wasted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26: Flicker

Life is best lived in snatches between sameness, stations flaring up out of the subway's dark.

I go to list what I've done today and come up short.  Blamed myself for eating too much goat cheese. Unloaded the dishwasher. Fretted over topics one through twelve.  Lain in indecision.  Hurried.  Hugged.  Tried to clean the counter.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24: Catholics

The Catholics are 100 times more prescriptive than other denominations.  Your hands should be empty. Please do not treat the host like a pair of keys.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

July 23: Music

Church this afternoon for evensong.  It may take a two-year-old for me to enjoy music.  Instead of the review I'm going to write, or the difference in the way I would have played that phrase, or the undeservedness of X's career, or the ways in which Y outclasses me, or my fears and hopes for Z, or even how to jam this particular sound into a sloppy container of words- all I've got left is listening with one ear while the other stays alert for insurrection.  Take Me Out to the Ballgame overlapping the anthem; Elmo's World inserted in the prayers. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22: Teaching

I love its layering, the way, in each hour, in each interaction, I must listen while shaping, analyze while remaining genuine, think ahead while giving my full attention to the moment.  I love that I'm helping people to feel empowered to make music, no matter their level.  I love when a student takes pleasure in her progress or is able to appreciate the beauty of a tune or the challenge of inching forward.  I love the thrill of figuring out what a student needs and helping them identify and achieve their goals.  Not much more exciting. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21: Shopping

I went to World Market today.  And Trader Joes.  And Target.  I could have bought a rug.  Or Pocky. Or a secretary.   The sheer panoply made me numb.  What is the point of bridling words, or chaining a few sounds together on a metal disc?  What's art but scrabbling at the infinite.... and the infinite is already on offer.   There are more things in Target and Lowes, Anne, then are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20: Heat Advisory

The fact that I have been advised, officially and sternly, using the self-important graphics of the National Weather Service, makes me cautious.  The National Weather Service is an enigmatic agency, and that opacity forces me, despite myself, to pay attention.   I can't see the man behind the curtain so there may not be a man at all.

The heat advisory will last for seven days.  Cautious is the wrong word.  It makes me craven.  I doubt the hot weather skills I know I possess: to throw on a white dress, drink a full glass of water, slip out the sliding glass door and pick my way from shadow to shadow.  I used to walk this way every day of summer, paddling against the hot-tub air, monitoring the sweat that pooled behind my neck and knees before it outgrew its surface tension, dribbled to slick my calves and my back.  I like the way hot weather walking feels like both succor and masochism, the air laid across your face like a warm washcloth, a mild punishment.

Now, advised, I'm indoors.  Sweatless.  Tapping out other hot weeks, other hot worlds. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18: Rabbits

I know the saying speaks directly to their multiplicity, but still, the number of rabbits in my new neighborhood verges on disturbing. How is there sufficient grass?  How are there enough places to hide, enough spots to go and be rabbity in the dark?  On my neighborhood walks I see so many rabbits, rabbit after rabbit after rabbit, that the whole enterprise takes on a rabbit-hole, mad-hatter flavor.  Is there nothing to do in this place but hop and munch and flee?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17

There is too much organ music in the house.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

July 16

Sometimes there's not much more to life than the one bright day among many. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15

I honestly believe my brain is disintegrating.  I'm forgetting more things with more frequency and more consequences.   Words don't come as easily or as entrancingly.  My capacity to sustain attention seems to be waning.

I try to tell myself it doesn't matter.  Being smart was never that much fun in any case.  Now I can simply be extant.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13

Went back in the hole for a while.  Tentatively sniffing my way out.

I've come to one of the emptiest stretches of my year.  Most of my jobs are on hiatus, including my steadiest, 20-hour-a-week gig, and so I've happened upon three weeks of weekdays in which I have few fixed obligations.  It will be short-lived: Come August first, all jobs crank up full-force and my free time slams shut.

I should fill these days.  What working mother has this opportunity?   Three weeks of only a few lessons, practicing, whatever I decide to do?  I should start projects,  pull things off the back burner,  work ahead...I should save the world or hell, at least organize the house.

I'm doing some of this.  I'm outlining workshops for the year and making doctor's appointments and trying to learn pieces by ear.  But I'm also  struggling, as I always struggle, with the waste I make of my time when I can.  I'm working maybe five to six hours a day, wasting two or three. There is slack time, uselessness, breath to no end.

The feeling is familiar, but distantly, a recollection of those never-ending stretches of time I had when I was a child.  Now, as an adult, my default state is busy.  Very busy.  Jam-packed, bumper to bumper busy such a large portion of the year.  I work multiple jobs, adding up to over full time.  I have a kid.  I'm on a working non-profit board.  I still read.  And on and on.

And, to tell the truth, I enjoy it.

I know that's not fashionable at the moment. We are supposed to spurn busyness.  It is supposed to be a cover for our  inherent loneliness or spiritual discomfort or general soullessness.  We keep busy to escape from our true selves, or so the meditators and self-help gurus would have us believe.

I call crap.  I know so many busy, happy people.  I am a busy, happy person.  I enjoy having miles to go and promises to keep.  I like having my time taut, not flaccid.  I like the rush of moving from one arena of my life to the next, the way the texture of my world changes depending on where I am and what I'm doing.  Being busy is eye-opening, friction-generating, electric.

So what to do when things are slow?

Like back and take it, I guess.  Because I can't deny there's also something valuable in these fallow times.  There's space to watch, to read, to learn.  Space to walk five miles a day and listen to the hum of the highway a mile down the road and the scurry-plot of rabbits and the grass being cut and cut and cut.

I write when I have more space.  When I'm going full-tilt, I don't seem to have room for words.

And come August, I'll want to get back to busy.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 3

We are emerging from a difficult time.  Every goddamn bite tastes amazing.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July 2

There's something to rolling over every damn inch of the dirt between here and there.

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 1

There's nothing in my life I like more than teaching recorder.  This sense of wholeheartedness, of -yes, I have to say it- vocation, is both exhilarating and sobering.  I didn't believe in Nessie.  Then she rose up from the loch and whipped me across the face.