Enlightenment

photoGetting smarter is a lifelong thing, in and out of school–for the fortunate and attentive.

Me, I’m sad at the end of every school year. Those students and colleagues of my husband’s who have become such a big part of our lives and are now graduating or moving on to other jobs or retirement are about to disappear from immediate view. Even the ones who remain close with us after relocating are now to be infrequent contacts rather than the people we happily run into in the hall on a casual basis. I get lonesome for them even before anyone leaves.

The lovely inverse of this, happily, is the ingathering of ongoing and new compatriots as the school year is once more underway. New faces, new voices and new personalities are integrated into the weave of the community and once again it becomes the rich underlay of the year, the pleasant buzz of the bass line, the light up ahead growing ever so slightly brighter as the weeks and months pass and we travel through them.

It’s funny that I sort of forget this changing of the guard between times. Between my years as a student myself, the nearly two decades of my own teaching, and the time spent observing my husband and his colleagues at work, you’d think I would be so irrevocably inculcated with the cycles of the academic and concert seasonal years that I would have a sort of song of it playing internally at all times. In real life, though, I am not so consistently observant.

It’s only when I am right in the moment of it that I recognize what is such a piquant part of my emotional life and I mark these transitions. It’s in these times, in fact, that I most benefit from my spouse’s longtime practice of getting his choirs and groups to sing or play through transitions. In music, this helps performers to internalize a multi-movement piece as a whole and not be stuck performing it as a disjointed, choppy conglomeration so that it loses its sense as a unified entity. It helps a song avoid sounding horribly like a bunch of unrelated anecdotal verses interrupted by further disconnected refrains that act more like speed bumps than gateways between the events of the expedition.

In life, I’m working to find the balance between living and operating while fully engaged in the present, letting that part always be led by the best of the past, and moving toward the best of what is yet to come. I know I’m enjoying the present verse immensely even though some of the singers, players, conductors and teachers of the last semester have moved on to other places and joined in other songs, and I expect that the current moment will lead to yet more marvels of music and camaraderie. I just need to pay attention, follow the score, and be ready whenever a bit part is offered, because I keep humming along in the background and every passage tends to be more illuminating than the last.photo

6 thoughts on “Enlightenment

  1. Lovely thoughts around the changes in life. Because it is always changing. People come and go in our lives – and if we only are able to enjoy the moments together – as you say, it will always be good and interesting.

    • That’s one of the things I love about photos as well, the way they freeze time–one very tiny, infinitesimal speck of time–and allow us to revisit some moments, people and places long after they are out of our reach, sometimes even seeing and learning new things in the process. At the same time, a million photos can’t capture all of what we savor in our memories, in our hearts. And that’s good, too.

    • I suspect more than a little that even now, when our communication systems and mobile lifestyles are revealing so many previously unseen connections, there are zillions more than we can imagine, just waiting. It’s like we’re sitting at the ends of any number of spiderweb threads, waiting for the expected-yet-unexpected tugs at the other ends of them telling us, once again, that we are not alone. Every such revelation is cause for further amazement for me.

      Such a joy that you pulled a thread over there and said Hello! Have a grand week, dear Mandy.
      xoxo
      Kathryn

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