As much as I enjoy using nursery rhymes to speak my life experience, it’s quite a challenge to frame my recent trip as “buying a fat pig.” (Though I do have some rubber pigs that I’ve used as musical instruments! However , none were for sale at the recent Conference vendors’ booths.)
Nevertheless, I did come home to a lovely sunny day, a happy re-union with the food in my kitchen, ready to return to my daily walk through the park and ritual morning meditation and always, the piano. Of course, I could have sat zazen in my hotel room, but not easy sharing with two others and it would have been a pleasure to walk and explore Charleston had it not been unseasonably cold and rainy. So as one does in travel, I let go the comforts and familiar routines of home and gave myself over to a different sort of home, the annual gathering I’ve been enjoying the last 39 years. A nice contrast from my solitude to jump into the intense social mix of some 600 folks, at least half of whom I knew, and immerse myself in the joyful activities of my life’s work.—playing, singing, dancing. All of it needed, all of it enjoyed.
Also so happy that I’m still teaching myself at these Conferences and offering new things while checking out and enjoying the work of the younger folks on their way up. And was particularly pleased to note that 22 out of the 66 teachers presenting—literally 1/3— were associated one way or another with our summer Orff course— 7 out of our 9 teachers, 7 alum students, 3 apprentices, 2 guest teachers, 3 students from our jazz and Orff-Afrique courses. I’ve often felt like folks in the national Orff scene viewed us San Francisco folks as out on the fringe (and they’re partly right!), but our presence at this conference (on the East Coast!) points to the fact that we’re flowing into the mainstream, yet without giving up our identity, simply enlarging that stream with our contribution.
But back to the theme of returning home. It’s simply nice to come home to the routines I’ve established in the place I’ve chosen to be with the people and foods and activities I’ve chosen to accompany me. This place on the edge of the continent, also viewed as fringe by mainstream media and national discourse, yet leading the way in many crucial areas— Covid response, banning Styrofoam, protecting land, healthy lifestyles, prison reform and more. Naturally, much more to do in terms of homelessness, affordable housing, public education and beyond, but certainly heading in the right direction.
It’s the place I call home. And I’m happy to be here. (Minus the fat pig.)