Today is the last day of my 60’s and thought I should scroll back to see what I wrote 10 years ago on the cusp of leaving the 50’s. It was the first year of this Blog and thanks to this technology for still storing it and keeping it in easy reach. No surprise that I was teaching an Orff course on that day, as I am today. No surprise that I was loving it then as I do now and though the people and setting are different, the spirit is exactly the same. The people I played for at the Jewish Home for the Aged are all gone, every single one, but I played there last week to a new group and so happy to do so. I mention an upcoming party on Saturday with poetry and jazz and another one will happen again this Saturday with much of the same. In short, nothing has changed that much and I pretty much have the same hopes and ambitions for the 70’s that I had for the 60’s, with one difference. The 60’s did not turn out be a scaling down in size and joyfully so. As I turn to the 70’s, I’m looking to reach further and grow larger, for ways to move boulders and make yet bigger splashes. So here is my entry from a decade ago, ending with one of the better poems I’ve written.
70, I greet you with open arms!
July 27, 2011: 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. Tossing pebbles into small ponds.
PEBBLE IN A POND
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
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.