From where I’m standing, time is everything. We’ve lost a lot of people during this unprecedented time in our lives. Since I retired a few years ago, time has gone from a luxury ("The sixties are the youth of old age") to an increasingly mystical epoch in my life.
If I’ve learned anything from this kerfuffle of messing with nature, it is never make assumptions and take the moment for granted, don’t get all bent out of shape regarding little things, and let people be themselves. I’ve had it with this dualistic, early-adolescent culture of right/wrong, my-way-or-the-highway thinking. It’s forgivable in 13-year-old kids who have yet to develop the mental capacity to see the grey areas in life, but flat out silly in adults.
Lighten up, because this entire journey is short and sacred. Taking it for granted, and taking ourselves as some sort of authority on life, is a waste of time and energy. We’ve lost a lot of people since early in 2020, and we’re going to lose even more before this pandemic is over. At my age, 72, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that this entire experience is finite. I’m lucky to still have my best friends around to enjoy the ride, but who knows how long the ride will last?
We lost a good friend two months ago to cancer from the effects of Agent Orange from the time he was a soldier in Viet Nam, and yesterday we lost a friend to an unsuccessful operation to remove a brain tumor.
It’s sad, but facts are facts, and just because the world is grappling with Covid-19 doesn’t mean other things aren’t happening. Like it or not, the ranks are getting thinner the older I get.
Frankly, that’s just the way it is, and the sooner all of us learn to appreciate what we have, the better.
This pandemic has taught me a lot.
Once the pandemic shut everything down, life changed. I had 55 online lessons. Like you and everyone else, I spent months in my home. I wore masks in public. I frequently forgot to get masks and had to go back home to get one. I saw my family on Skype, or Zoom, or FaceTime. I watched too much television. I ate too much popcorn. I worried about our country. I saw how people chose to respond to this crisis. I worried. Then one day, I stopped worrying. Life got a whole lot lighter. I just started to live my life as well as I could under the circumstances.
I stopped wondering about the future, and started to accept the present. I appreciated a good cup of coffee. I enjoyed exercising with online programs. I stepped back and decided to just live and enjoy life within whatever parameters I was given at the moment. I realized the future was a dream, and I hoped it would come true, but I had too much living within the present moment to experience without waiting for things to improve.
I got my shots. I exercised. I ate well. I practiced my violin. I just went with it.
Then last week, the electronics were turned off, and after 14 months of online lessons, I attended my first face-to-face lesson with my teacher, Mirabai Peart. It felt like the start of a brand new day.
Yesterday, I had my second post-pandemic-in-the-same-room lesson. Just being in the same room, playing and hearing our violins, was wonderfully reassuring that there is hope in this world.
This past Sunday, we had an in-person, violin/fiddle jam for two hours. Everyone had two shots, we stood apart, no masks, and had a great time.
Plus, last Saturday I hit the four-year mark in playing a violin. As I approach my 72nd birthday in two weeks, I’m proud to say when it comes to playing a violin, I can hold my own with any halfway decent 8- or 9-year-old kid.
The ice is cracking and the river of music is beginning to flow again. (It’s early in the morning - I have yet to drink my first cup of coffee – that’s the best metaphor I can think of right now.) I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to explode with playing music all summer long.
I know most of you who read this website, lean toward the classical side of the musical paradigm, and that’s great. For me, it’s all about dipping into everything I can find. I’ll play classical music, but I also love Bluegrass jams, Old Time Fiddle jams, Scandinavian music, Russian and Eastern European songs, the Blues, and delightful cheesy tunes. If I like it, it’s good enough for me.
Let’s work on getting out there. Orchestras, chamber ensembles, solo recitals, informal jams, open mic shows, campfire songs, church choirs, singing in the car as loud as you can with the radio, it’s all wonderful.
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