Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Farewell to the 50's

Today was my last day as a 59-year old and I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend it. Most of it was in the music room, where 36 years of laughter, tears and miracles are stored in the walls and alive in the air. And more memories added—like watching my friend from Iran dance the Shim Sham so joyfully and later play a beautiful gem of a glockenspiel solo in our song Moonglow. Such a pleasure to spend the day making beautiful music with beautiful people, to have the campus alive with vibrant, buzzing adults from all corners of the globe alongside the children in summer school. A fabulous ending to a fabulous decade.

And tomorrow on my birthday, I’ll be back for more, as well as taking my class to play for and sing with my Mom and friends at the Jewish Home for the Aged. This will be the third year and I suspect it will be as extraordinary as the last two were.

This Saturday will be my party, mostly a poetry reading of my own and other’s poems about aging, elderhood and mortality, followed by a concert where I get to play jazz piano in a trio. Oh, joy of joys! So I’ll close this entry with one of the poems I hope to read that I wrote this summer. I suspect 60 will be the beginning of a scaling down in size, a companion piece to Wendell Berry’s poem about growing tall amongst the trees in his youth and growing small amongst the grasses in his elder years. Perhaps later I’ll include some of the lighter verse, including my infamous “Geezer Rap.” But first, this:


20 years old. Confident, cocky, sure that that boulder
I will heave into the mainstream
will make a big splash in the world.

Each decade, the stone
and the river
         got smaller.

At 60, that once-big splash a mere pebble
in a small pond.

But still it makes ripples, tiny rings
that circle outwards
and sometimes reach the shore
of someone’s life about to be changed.

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