Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Wind at My Back


There are times when you hit a stride and everything works. You’re pedaling as you always do, but there are some mysterious forces at work, some wind at your back that propels you faster and further without any apparent additional effort on your part. The rhythm hits its groove, the chords fall tunefully into each other, the melody soars like it never has before. You’re in “the zone” and you can do nothing wrong.

If you’re Steph Curry, each three-pointer swishes through the net and you can win the championship. If you’re Yo Yo Ma, the concert hall will come to a hush and then erupt into a thunderous standing ovation. If you’re Martin Luther King, your dream finds it voice and you secure your place in history for years to come.

But sometimes that sense of flow can happen in matters less earth-shaking and dramatic. Like me yesterday. My task was to take care of business, to unpack and close out the intense and intensive two-weeks Levels training and to pack and prepare for the next week of teaching in Toronto. 24 hours to turn it all around. And so my day began with taking my colleagues to the airport and then step onto the battlefield of the 42 e-mails that needed answering, to arise a couple of hours later with a mere 4 left standing. Booked two flights for the Fall, filled out the school Room Request Form for September’s workshop, things were working! Out the door to the bank, post office, library, buy a new book at the bookstore (appropriately, Canada by Richard Ford), get air in the bike tires, take the car to the car wash. Yeah!

Came home to a FedEx box on my front stoop, addressed to the wrong name and the wrong address a block and a half away. “Oh well, I’ll just walk in over,” I decided in my Good Samaritan way. But I underestimated the weight of the box and realized the address was halfway up one of San Francisco’s steeper hills. Arrived worried about my back, rang the bell and the person who answered assured me that the person’s name on the box did not live there. I hid the box in a little alley, came back with the car and went to take it to Fed Ex. On the way, changed lanes and underestimated the willingness of the car in the next lane to let me in and we almost crashed. Continued on to Fed Ex with some angry honks behind me. Lifted my hand to try to give a silent “sorry” and realized that we actually have no gesture for that and the driver might have misinterpreted this as flicking her off. My perfect day was getting edgy.

But then the wind got behind my back again, dropped off the package, bought some props I needed for the next course, came home to do the watering and the laundry and cleaning out the refrigerator and all those little necessary tasks that strangely can bring so much satisfaction. No championships were won, no novels completed or songs written, no classes taught to happy children or adults, just life’s little chores completed, but with a kung-fu in-the-zone energy that felt great.

And now in the SF Airport winging to Toronto for my last Orff Course of the summer. With the wind at my back.

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