Who fed the chickens?
Who stacked the hay?
Who milked the cow?
On this fine day.
— Ella Jenkins song
It’s Sunday and I’m trying to honor it by listening to Bach’s Mass in B Minor while I sit at the old computer. Make a little church of the work room and imagine that I’m beginning a day of rest where I can reflect on the glories of creation. “Imagine” is the key word here. Instead of exulting with the gospel choir or sharing the profound silence of the Zen Center, I’m sentenced to a morning at the screen trying to catch up on business.
It has been a full, rich and hard-working week. I’m back at school full time teaching kids from 3 years old to 14 years old and am relieved to discover that it still fits. Each class was a pleasure, each child was a pleasure and a few— like the twenty 4th graders learning a new swingin’ tune I arranged in a mere 20 minutes—were over-the-top fantastic. At the end of the day, I still had enough energy to visit my Mom and play piano and even go out to a meeting one night and a party another. After seven months marching to my own drummer, I was nervous about being tied to a demanding schedule working with the little beings half-a-century and more younger than me. But it all felt good and right and they seemed happy to be with me and what more can you ask for?
While climbing Machu Picchu, I had a moment when I set a retirement date for myself, perhaps subconsciously equating the arduous climb to the summit with my long 38-year career. There may be wisdom in consciously choosing such a moment, but now that I’m back with the kids, it feels a little contrived, like setting the time for a C-section birth. I think I’ll just wait until nature speaks to me, the moment when the waters metaphorically break and the contractions announcing a post SF School life begin.
But for now, it’s Sunday and when I should be resting from my labors, the chickens are squawking, the cows are mooing and the bales of hay are strewn all over the yard waiting to be stacked. I have to close out and file away the workshop I taught yesterday, send out the invoices for my books that have been ordered, update my Website, get the materials ready for the summer Orff program ad in the magazine, create an application form for the SF School Orff Intern Program I’m trying to birth, attend to the details of the local Orff chapter Miniconference I’m chairing and on and on. Unlike the satisfaction of good hard work with bundles of hay, a moment of bovine intimacy squirting milk in a pail and earning the love of the chickens as I toss out their feed in the bright sunshine or misty rain, I’m sitting at a screen dealing with abstractions. The words “Personal Assistant" come to mind here. Anyone looking for a job?
Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy Bach while slogging through the black lines on the glowing screen throwing out corn to the demanding tasks pecking at my feet, stacking my papers and milking my imagination to plan next week’s classes. Happy Sunday!