Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Marvelous Memorable May


Morning has broken. The earth has spun yet once more on its axis and continued its loop around the sun (a fact that apparently some 20% of our ignorant American population doesn’t understand.) For this tiny speck of a living creature, it has been a most memorable month.

It began on a beautiful day in Mexico City. Following a lovely three-day workshop, I spent International Workers Day not working, but wandering around the neighborhood of Coyoacan. I sat in Frida Kahlo Park writing a handwritten letter to an old friend (that apparently she never received—boo Post Office!). I returned to San Francisco and my work in The San Francisco School, just five weeks away from completing my 43rd year in that mostly remarkable, but still flawed and working-on-it, community. A week or so later, my first recorded CD, one thousand of them, to be exact, arrived (yay Post Office!) two days before Doug Goodkin & the Pentatonics fulfilled a dream by performing to a sold-out audience at The SF Jazz Center, much to the delight of the children and adults attending. There was a spirited post-concert lunch on a sunny windless day with my wife, daughter, sister and  husband, son-in-law and two nephews.

No time to rest on any laurels, dove into the next week with an Elementary Spring Concert one night and a Middle School one two nights later and still the sense that “this was the best one yet!” after some 22 years of this work with my two brilliant colleagues, James and Sofia. Two days later, I hosted a stirring workshop with my new Colombian friend Adrian teaching xylophone music from the Pacific Coast. And then the next week, off to two workshops in my home state of New Jersey, one at the prestigious New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark some 20 minutes from my childhood home.

Meanwhile, some trouble in paradise with some graduating-8th-grade disrespectful behavior and a too-boisterous elementary singing time. The former prompted deep and necessary reflection on our school culture’s shadow and things turned around somewhat. The latter moved me to create a strict absolute silence rule as 100 kids enter Singing Time each day, a practice that continued into the next week and made me think, “Why haven’t I done this before?” So lovely to begin from a calm and attentive place and so important to train the kids to these skills. One of the reasons I can’t retire—need to keep coming back to get it one-inch better. Now we’re deep into Samba Contest rehearsal, a celebration I initiated some 35 years ago and watching the elementary kids work out their dance routines, that feeling that “it doesn’t’ get any better than this.”

Thrown into the mix was a perfect two-day visit from the grandchildren, my retired wife’s departure for a bike ride with friends in Germany, following by a South African safari, my Ghana visa arriving in the mail and the glory of the Golden State Warriors‘ victories that have them facing Cleveland Cavaliers yet again in the final round of the NBA Basketball Championships. If all goes well, May will end with their victory tonight to bring them just three games away from another championship. A game I will miss because I’ll be camping with my daughter and her 5th grade class. It would be a fitting ending to this most marvelous month.

Tomorrow, June will be busting out all over. My hopes are to be done with the frenzied cold winds of San Francisco’s Spring, to ride out the school year with all its ceremonies in grand style, to join the cheering throngs as Yancey’s Saloon celebrating our team’s victories, to arrive for the third Orff-Afrique Course in Ghana in good health and begin yet another summer of transformation, celebration, good weather and at least a few moments off the spinning wheel of meaningful activity to just sit and breathe in the perfection of each moment. Much lies ahead that I joyfully anticipate, much lies behind that I am grateful for, much lies within each moment that I would do well to savor and attend to.

So thank you to May and on we go.

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