Friday, June 17, 2016

To and Fro

This blog is earning it’s title again. At the airport, this traveling music teacher poised to fly off into the arms of summer, Orff teacher style. First stop, Orff-Afrique in Ghana, same course as two years ago, but like the proverbial step in the river, it will be unique. From there to a course in Spain, a conference in Salzburg, a vacation in Sicily and home in time for the Jazz Course follwed by the Levels Training in Carmel Valley.

There’s more, but really, who’s interested? You’re probably more interested in where the word “fro” came from. And a shortened version of ‘from” is the answer. My ‘from’ is San Francisco, a week of trip preparation punctuated by moments of leisure. A long walk along the waterfront and up the stairs to Coit Tower and down through North Beach and buying some T-shirts for gifts in Chinatown. The mix of music on the streets, the bustle of tourists, the charm of this beautiful city alongside streets stewn with garbage and the epidemic of homeless folks filling the halls of the Muni underground. Another day a 32-mile bike ride with my wife and friends into new—even for this veteran SF wanderer— neighborhoods. A movie here, a dinner out there, baby steps toward celebrating summer.

And then the Warrior’s NBA Playoff games, alternately jubilant and painful—especially last night’s loss. I’ll be in Ghana for the final, which given what happened in the last two games, might be for the best. I’m a fair-weather fan, but once I’m in, it’s 150%. It would do me in to follow a team a whole year. And some folks follow multiple teams in multiple sports. Well, I’d rather live my own life than hang on the coattails of others. But fun for awhile.

As for the “to,” grateful to combine all my passions in the courses coming up—arriving for the third time at one of the root sources of the rich African diaspora, all the joy and extraordinary talent (see NBA Finals and the entire history of jazz) that came from West African soil alongside all the pain and suffering we European/American whites folks inflicted—and continue to inflict. Then Spain, a place I taught almost every summer for some 20 plus years and haven’t been to in a few. Salzburg, source of another river of joy, the Orff approach to music. And looking forward to a genuine vacation in Sicily, source of another cultural institution that was less happy for the world, but coming to terms with its own mixed history and beautiful land.

I had a moment in my back yard yesterday reading a book mid-afternoon where I dismounted from the horse of ambition and summer nuzzled my cheek. The moment was something to savor rather than get through or fill in with busyness and that’s what deep summer has always meant to me. Not always easy to capture in these scheduled courses, but just a moment of attention can bring it back instantly. We shall see.

Finally, not clear whether wi-fi will be available at our hotel these next two weeks. It wasn’t last time and though they promised it this time, we all remain skeptical until we arrive. So if this blog is mysteriously silent for a while, that’s why. See you on the other side and happy summer!

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