Thursday, April 3, 2014

Palms to Pines

Five days ago I was on the beach in Ipanema. Now I’m in the woods outside Bend, Oregon. From palms to pines, sand to snow, 42 Celsius in mid-day heat, 34 Fahrenheit at midnight cold. Then lovely days hanging out with musicians and music teachers and now lovely days with wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. I’m writing a lot these days about a musical life filled with life-giving rhythmic grooves and comforting cycles mixed with the excitement of variation and novelty. Too much of one turns dynamic rhythm to dull routine, too much of the other unsettles us and we feel untethered, at loose ends. It’s the conversation between the two that keeps us on our toes—or dancing heel and toe—and it has been a rich two months for yours truly.

Happy to be here to witness and participate in the next stage of my granddaughter’s development. At two years and four months, she’s toilet-trained, counting to 20 and beyond, putting in and naming geometric shapes in her puzzle and telling hilarious stream-of-consciousness stories at every meal. We can hold genuine little conversations and the other day, had a great xylophone session trading phrases. Young life starting to bloom— there’s nothing like it.

Usually, I talk about 2-year old Zadie in the same breath as my 92-year old mother Florence and that’s about to change. As mentioned last blog, I got a call from my sister and after agonizing about flying home early, I opted to finish this visit in hopes that my Mom will still be there for one final goodbye on Sunday. Apparently, she’s not recognizing anyone, is restless and agitated, clearly on the way out, but not in a coma. She’s on her long and winding road toward the exit sign and though I have my fantasies about the perfect ending (back to the musical metaphors of my current writing), Death has its own timetable and each person has their own way to navigate that painful path.

Many more tears on the way, but for now, working on being here where I’ve chosen to be for the moment. Palms to pines, sand to snow, life to death, this world of constant change and transformation. 

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