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Emily Grossman


January 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM

After getting up at 5:30 am in Tulsa on Monday, traveling 4 1/2 hours to Dallas to catch a flight to Seattle, then to Portland, then to Anchorage, and then randomly hitching a ride with a couple from Antarctica to take us to our car (very interesting conversational piece!), and then spending twenty minutes thawing the heater at 1:30 in the morning, George still had the fortitude to drive the last 150 miles through a blizzard to get us home. Little did we know, we barely missed the subsequent avalanches and highway closure. Total trip time: 26 hours.

I have never experienced a more hairy drive through that mountain pass. I think it had something to do with the extreme sleep deprivation that accompanied that final leg of the journey. George and I were both so tired that we took turns hitting one another to stay awake. If that didn't work, the sudden interjections of blinding whiteness woke us up in a hurry. I was so glad we finally made it home safe and sound. Except...

Except that I was so thoroughly disappointed upon my return to this state. It almost seemed as though it didn't want us anyway. I spent the week trying my best to pretend like I was glad to be there for my students, but mostly feeling like I'd returned to prison--a prison of phone calls and laundry and house chores, complete with empty fridge and shopping list, not to mention sub-zero temps and persistent snowfall.

My repaired bow was in transit, due to return on Friday the 13th. Considering my last freakish bow mishap happened on a similar date, I began to speculate my luck on its arrival. I couldn't believe it actually showed up in one piece, ready to go. Unwrapping it from its packaging, I gingerly swiped the noticeably beautiful rehair with rosin and took it to the strings for a spin.

Instantly, my furrowed brow smoothed into satisfaction, then into a smug happiness that only comes when something lost comes back home. I'd missed my bow. I didn't realise how lonely and aimless I'd felt until I came back to that point of reunion and felt its sweet affirmation.

Maybe I'll practice again. And maybe I'll find something to reconsider about life in Alaska, a cold state whose mummifying grip has no hold over the power of a good bow and its glorious sound.

Elizabeth Shaak, you are a healer to me. Thank you for setting things right and doing your best to undo my transgression. My bow was dead, but because of you, it sings again.

From julie Littleton
Posted on January 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM
So glad you and your bow made it home safely. I was wondering where you were. Missed reading your blogs. I was worried when I heard of all the snow on Alaska.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 14, 2012 at 9:43 PM
Glad to hear you got home safely to "Seward's Ice Box." There are advantages to living in certain parts of the lower 48. I hope as time goes on you will get back your usual positive state of mind.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on January 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Ha Tom, you're too kind!
From marjory lange
Posted on January 15, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Emily, looks like you sent some of your unwelcoming weather south; in Salem we are awaiting a storm from AK.

Curious about your route home--Seattle, PDX, then Anchorage???usually Sea-Tac comes after PDX.

Anyway, glad you are safe and sound. The post-vacation let-down comes wherever 'home' is, I've found, but blizzards do make it worse (in AZ it was buzzards--same feeling, though).

From Patrick Lengkong
Posted on January 15, 2012 at 3:18 AM
Did you get a new bow? I remember correctly a couple of months ago your bow caught on fire, and therefore we had a fundraiser to buy you a Musafia case. I know how it feels to not have your bow with you. It happens to me at every rehair, and when I got my violin in for a repair I felt like it died. How is that Musafia case holding up? I sure need one! I had a missing bow one rehearsal, and that was my worst day yet! I lost approximately $1,200 worth of music, and I found my bow dripping wet inside my sheet music compartment. I have no idea how it got there. I later upgraded my case into a lightweight, but RAINPROOF case this time. I decided on that day that I needed a better bow anyway. I forgot to turn that little bow spinner one day and for a whole day by bow was rattling inside my case so hard that part of the frog chipped off and marred my varnish. To this day I will NEVER forget to turn that bow spinner. I have a lot of accidents with bows. If you tell me to hold your bow for a few seconds don't ask me how it got all the way to the North Pole.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on January 15, 2012 at 4:17 AM
Oh my, you sound even more ill-fated than I! Yes, I bought this bow after my French bow caught fire, but the Musafia case was basically an unrelated event. Not a day goes by that I forget what a special gift that was. Every time I see it, I smile. It handled my travels this season very well, indeed.
From Peter Charles
Posted on January 16, 2012 at 4:30 PM
Emily - I'm going to be a bit controversial here and suggest that you sound like are not at all happy in Canada, so why don't you move somewhere a bit more condusive to muisical life? Here in London its warm and no snow so far this year and the musical scene is not too bad. And if you came here we could do the Bach double (if you let me play first fiddle [only joking]).

But seriously, you often sound a bit unhappy with your career, so why stay somewhere you don't like? Of course I realise it's not often as simple as that and maybe relationships and other work can prevent such a move.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on January 16, 2012 at 8:21 PM
Actually, I live in Alaska, which is not part of Canada, although it is attached to the Northwest corner. I've talked all week about moving away from here. I think it's time. The weather and lack of musical venues has been getting me down for a long time now.

But like you pointed out, relationships and job logistics make this not such an easy step. Moving out of Alaska is a big decision, involving a lot of planning. We have to find jobs for both of us in a location that both of us like. I also worry that if I move, I won't like it any better wherever I end up going. I think it would be nice to be closer to family, and some place with shorter winters could certainly help.

From Peter Charles
Posted on January 16, 2012 at 9:48 PM
Good luck with difficult decisions. Its always hard to make decisions about drastic moves. You might find though that any fear about something new not being any better might be just that. A fear.

Sorry I got Alaska and Canada mixed up, my geography is not very good.

I hope it all turns out well.

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