One of the pleasures of growing older is the possibility of finally coming to peace with the way you’re pieced together. In my case, I have a tangential mind. I start down the straight and narrow path of a single focused idea, but a few steps down, I see a side road that connects to a related idea. And so I follow it, confident that the side-trip will help illuminate the main road with an enlarged perspective. And mostly I believe it does.
That’s why in my Level III Orff Course, I have one student each class scribe for the lesson instead of participate. This is their chance to observe the details of how the lesson unfolds from an objective perspective impossible when you are participating. But it’s also the chance to jot down the comments that rise up in the midst of the trip, those unexpected treasures that lie on the side of the lesson plan’s main road.
In the midst of the recent Orff course, one person at dinner remarked that she noticed all the little phrases that each faculty member tends to say over and over again, those quirky little personal clichés that become our trademark. Turns out mine was “by the way…” at the beginning of the sentence and suddenly I noticed that I say this all the time! Once I became aware of it, I started to drive myself crazy!
But then I realized that this was the signal that I noticed an intriguing little side trip, a little treasure lying “by the wayside” that tripped the brain into thinking yet harder and deeper about the main topic at hand. Or invited the listener to go back to that side road and go further down that path, read the book I mentioned or follow that idea further. So maybe I don’t need to apologize for it.
And by the way, many others… oops! There it is again. Oh well.