Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Lion's Paws

A rare weekend with nothing scheduled. Nothing! The house to myself, the days to myself, somewhat caught up with the constant list. A good time to wash the sheets, clean out the closet, straighten my desk, finish my book (writing it, that is), replenish the refrigerator and don’t forget a nice long bike ride to get the body humming again. 

So all was looking promising and then I checked in on Facebook and saw that on August 31, 2012, I joined Facebook and they were “celebrating” our 7thyear anniversary. Seven years?! Wasn’t that just yesterday? And then read that Mary Tyler Moore, my childhood crush, passed away at 80 years old. By all standards, 80 years is a good run, but then it struck me—that’s only 12 years from now for me. Suddenly, I was feeling the lion’s paw of devouring time scratching away and it was not the happiest of feelings.

As so many elders will tell you, we’re constantly astonished by the face that appears in our mirror and baffled by the mathematics of the years. Inside we mostly feel 25 or 40 or one of my favorite ages, 52. Or 3 or 8 or less happily, 13. I was thinking yesterday that I’m one of the few Orff teachers I know—and I know a lot—and perhaps the only male Orff teacher I know that stills sits in a circle with 3-year-olds playing Old King Glory. In fact, I believe that all of the “famous” male music-teacher in the generation above—my own teacher Avon Gillespie, Jos Wuytack, Richard Gill, Bob Abramson, Herman Regner and more never worked with preschool children. And likewise my colleagues in my generation—Steve Calantropio, Wolfgang Hartman, Rick Layton, Jim Solomon, Bob DeFrece and more—didn’t consistently teach this age. And certainly didn’t for 45 years! That doesn’t make me special, but it’s interesting to note and I believe it is a large part of what I have to offer that’s unique.

And how I love it. Within two classes with 5-year-olds, they’re already greeting me in the halls with the mixed feeling of rock star and old friend. They see the 5-year old in me still alive and vibrant in an old body and know that we understand each other very well. And we do. 

So to close with Shakespeare’s plea to swift-footed Time in his 19thSonnet, I believe I could change the last line to “My love shall in my preschool teaching ever live young.” Not so poetic, but you get the idea. On to the next 48 hours of the rest of my life.

    Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
    And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
   Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
   And burn the long-liv'd Phoenix in her blood;
   Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
   And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
   To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
   But I forbid thee one more heinous crime:
   O, carve not with the hours my love's fair brow,
   Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen!
   Him in thy course untainted do allow
   For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
   Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong
   My love shall in my verse ever live young.

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