“I intend to live forever. So far so good.”
To paraphrase that joke, I think 2022 is going to be a GREAT year!! So far, so good! Personally, in my little ritual ways, I sat a longer meditation this morning, had a healthy mochi breakfast and rice and beans lunch and soup and salad dinner, played piano for over two hours, walked 8 miles through the city and looked back over my journals to see what happened last year.
The blend of work and play, new things and old things, milestone moments and Groundhog Day repetitions, was fun to look back at. In my extended family, there were significant 10th and 70th birthdays, a 50th wedding anniversary, a fifth year in retirement. My daughter Talia and I made a new paddleball record (802!), my granddaughter Zadie went on her first backpacking trip and I went on (probably) my last. My friend Debby sent me a Mary Oliver poem by text every day of the year, my friend Yana finally came from Toronto to San Francisco after some 30 years of promising “someday,” and I had a psychic reading from someone in touch with the West African orishas. I published two books through my Pentatonic Press, wrote one that got accepted by another publisher (in process) and began another book about a trip around the world my wife and I took in 1978-79. I taught various Jazz History courses on Zoom and three live Orff courses in Carmel Valley, Oklahoma and Charleston, South Carolina. I celebrated 10 years with my Pentatonics Jazz Band with a sparsely attended but potent concert, played at Flower Piano in the Arboretum, as SIP Tea House and at the Jewish Home. Kept up the SF School Alumni Zoom sings and the neighborhood live sings. I got to be with the grandkids six different times, ranging from four days to three weeks each visit, in Portland, San Francisco, Palm Springs and northern Michigan. It was a busy, fruitful and satisfying year, in spite of all that conspired to make it a miserable one.
Today, I also looked back at the cultural losses in terms of people who have passed on and the list was so much larger than I knew. Authors like Robert Bly, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Norton Juster (of Phantom Tollbooth fame), Beverly Cleary, Eric Carle and more. Musicians like Chick Corea, Dave Frishberg, Charlie Watts, Stephen Sondheim, Paddy Moloney (from the Chieftains) and more. Political figureheads like Desmond Tutu, Prince Phillip, Colin Powell. Also people who could have been good but chose to do bad things— Bernie Madoff, Rush Limbaugh, Gordon Liddy, Donald Rumsfield, Phil Spector, Larry Flynt and more. And then the actors like Ed Asner, Cicely Tyson, Betty White, Christopher Plummer, Hal Holbrook and comedian Mort Sahl. Many had lived into their 90’s (Ferlinghetti and Beverly Cleary over 100!) and though I named their passing as cultural losses, in fact, their cultural contributions will continue to echo on far beyond their mortal bodies. We should all be so lucky.
Personally and collectively, a thousand more things to say looking back over the year, but this is what rose to the top for me today. And you?