November 17, 2008 at 3:00 PM
There is 6 inches of fresh puffy white snow outside. Yesterday, as I looked out the big front window towards the trees in my forest yard, watching the giant snowflakes drift slowly to ground, it was like standing in the middle of a snow globe. This is the beginning, the real beginning....not like those false alarms earlier in the month. We won't likely see the ground again until April. It's time.
My students are all happily beginning their "Christmas Music" pieces. I've already listened to many renditions of Silent Night and the Little Drummer Boy.
All is calm...all is bright. I'm trying to make it so... This year, with my mother's death, and my brother's slide into alcoholic oblivion, I'm achingly aware of the blessings I am surrounded with. I need to simplify my life. I need to be free to rest and read a book for fun in the middle of the daytime, or to play a concert just because I want to. I need to try to take charge of my own health, and I need to rest.
I've decided in the last few days that if I were to draw my life into a giant Venn diagram of about 4 circles, I would see that my days are made up of either things that bring me income, things that bring me joy, things I have no control over and a fourth categoy...things that cause me stress, and do not produce either joy or income. That seems to be the area I need to address. As a result, I think that, for now, I'm dropping out of my grad school program. I'll probably 'go dormant' for a semester or two so that I'm still technically enrolled, but I need some breathing space.
One of my goals when starting a graduate program was to be employed at my local university in a couple of years. This is a realistic goal, I think, since there are professors who are just waiting for me to finish. I'd be working as an adjunct, but it's something I know I'd enjoy very much. On the other hand, that move would require me to cut down significantly on my large private studio/orchestra commitments.
And there's the rub...I love what I do. In fact, given the time and energy, I'd expand if I could. There are groups I wish to start, things I'd like to attempt...
So.... I need to step back, and gain some perspective. I want my days to count for something, and not let myself live in a self-imposed and unnecessary frenzy. I want to continue walking forward though a difficult patch with peace. I'm tired.
I just looked out my window again, and see giant snowflakes being blown off the trees by a gentle breeze. I suddenly thought of the ground, resting and recovering after its season of creativity and production. That's what I need to do, too. Recover, and restrengthen for the next season.
One winter a few years ago, I remember we read Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese" in church, and ever since then I've associated it with this kind of feeling: of waiting and resting and regrowing and rebirth. Rather than doing all those stressful things that don't bring you anything, letting the soft animal of your body love what it loves . . .
by Mary OliverYou do not have to be good.
Karen, thank you for this. I'll think on it...
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