Monday, July 17, 2017

The Country Mouse

After working at The Arthur Morgan School nestled in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, I was convinced that the country life was for me. In the year 1973, the back-to-the-land movement was underway and my romantic notion of living the Walden dream, but in the company of like-minded teachers in a school, was starting to form. But a shake-up in the staff and the clear decision not to re-hire me and some fellow radical young hippy teachers led me to a city where I’ve spent the last 44 years. And happily so. Turns out that the city life was good to me and is good for me and I’ve never looked back since.

But having a passed a lovely week on the shores of Lake Michigan and now nestled in a somewhat rural region near Halifax, teaching the Jazz Course by day and then swimming in a beautiful lake at the end of the day, has been pretty sweet. The water temperature near perfect, the lake virtually to myself and my host, then sitting in his living room looking out over a Bay while trading favorite jazz tunes— well, one could get spoiled.

And this Jazz Course. The third this summer and one more next week and on paper it would seem I would get tired of it and start to teach a bit mechanically, just going through the motions. But not so! First off, the euphoria of teaching without coughing, with full energy and in fact, a bit more than usual from the swimming and biking exercise, the ease of teaching in English rather than Spanish (as I did in Brazil and Colombia), the amazement of being in full voice and actually getting to sing with the power the music demands all help to make this so darn fun and satisfying. But then there’s the material, the gift that just keeps on giving, the sequence that I’ve developed that moves seamlessly from one treat to another and accents a different facet of the human psyche, moving from the toes to the hands to the hips to the heart to the head and back again—well, I just never get tired of it. It’s a life that is hard to explain to others, but a glory to live.

So happy to be a country mouse for one more week and will be equally happy back in my city mouse San Francisco self, though perhaps longing for a lake to jump in. (I’m one block down from the UCSF pool, but it just ain’t the same.) Meanwhile, on to Day 2. I said a boom chick a boom, baby!

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