I’m drinking beer in the solarium of a pub my band used to play in 35 years ago. More nachos than I can eat, hanging baskets full of boston-themed plastic plants, my old cello safe and warm beside me. A guy with humperdink-voice just started to play a three chord song – now I get why, when I asked if there was a table I could write at, they put me in here the quiet room.
Change, like a subtle draft of air.
I’ve just finished the second of two intriguing community music classes, which came right after my excellent cello lesson with body-mapper and fine cellist Amber Ghent. If any of those three experiences had happened separately they would have been the highlight of my month – but I get them all stacked into my Wednesday this week. Workshop with Gary Diggins, who has used music as medicine all around the world and runs a very cool space in Guelph called Silence. In the interdisciplinary arts Masters class my fellow students and I pull together dance, pottery, video, theatre, psychology, music education, history, anthropology and more to explore a more holistic approach to facilitation of music and arts gatherings. Brave new world, this field, with humans such as these.
Change, like the lifting of one veil.
I’m home now, packed inside pillows and blankets on the couch, nursing flu. Reading about Power versus Force; Leadership and storytelling (Howard Gardner); introversion (Susan Cain) who debunks the largely American myth that those with sparkling personalities are naturally also good at running businesses, countries, projects, programs; From Dictatorship to Democracy (Gene Sharp, 1993, 2012, many translations). This is information therapy, to address my bewilderment and anger at behaviours exhibited these past six months and more. It’s working.
Change, like the practical, forward-pointed shape of canada geese.
Bow arm injury as a result of old rotator cuff damage I sustained nine years ago. For the first time in many many years I need to not play cello, until I can get myself into the hands of a good physiotherapist next week (I read that as not play as much, since I can’t imagine not teaching, gigging or rehearsing with Cello Choir). It’s the deep practises I miss – two or three hours of rotated 20-minute intense sessions – great incentive to dedicate myself to physio work.
Change. An involuntary lift of the eyebrows.
I did my taxes yesterday and three years worth of my daughter’s. Every year for 23 years now I’ve taken my added-up receipts in to a gifted accountant and listened to his tales about life, human beings, and money. He is a philosopher who is quite at home with his need to keep things clear and in proper order. I left well-informed after he quietly and respectfully applied his philosophy to my particular situation and then to my daughter’s. It’s quite a thing, to look forward thirty years with a wise and practical human and answer, as best you can, the question “Who will you be?”.
Change, like my body does.
In class this past week we were given fifteen minutes to write a memory (with a pen, onto paper), five minutes to edit, and another fifteen to trade written memories with a classmate. The one read to me brought tears to my eyes. Here’s my offering:
A snuffling in the trees wakes me – raccoon. By the distance the moon has traveled it looks like two a.m.. I ran around to this side of the hit at sunset, just in time to catch the first star, then moonrise over the sighing filed. I read myself towards sleep then, pausing between paragraphs to chart her course across the sky. Soon, resentful of the candle’s glare I pinched it out, laid back on the deck pillows to gaze up, and in.
Awoke without knowing I’d slipped into sleep. I think the moon called from her new place in the sky, “look. look…”. I saw that the milky way had risen out of the northeast, an old road of ancient dust. And there – Orion’s belt. There Cassiopeia, there Mars, low and hot on the horizon.
Wonder took me back into dreaming until the now silent raccoon. I look up; all has changed again. I’m dizzy with it. In my belly I can feel the planet turn and spin, the moon dance around the earth, the earth around the sun, the galaxy through the dark along with millions of other galaxies…
This is the dizziness of knowing how small – how very small I am.
We make effort in answer to things we value. Go to watch the sunset; lean in to smell the flower; greet one another with positive news; wear smiles and show kindness whenever possible, as we hunt our future selves and befriend our demons. Effort, my wise accountant might say, is a kind of currency which requires good investment. The return is enrichment that equals the effort, or, if we’re savvy, far surpasses it. If that’s not the return, then you’ve invested in the wrong place – working against your own efforts and so promoting injury (which is what my arm and shoulder muscles are doing, as it turns out).
Change, like the soft closing of a very good book, one long moment after you’ve finished the last sentence.