Monday, April 18, 2022

The Familiar Made New

How extraordinary! The absolute newness of resuming an old familiar life. My first passport stamp (Switzerland) in over two years, mixed languages from the pilot and the passengers, stumbling out from the overnight two flights to the archetypal European train station in Bari, Italy. The cobblestone streets, the churches, the narrow alleys, the hanging laundry, the pedestrian mall in the old Town, the charming restaurant for pizza and oh, the 10% tip! And of course, the gelato! The old-world hotel with the tiny elevator, real keys, a beautiful wood desk, cozy lighting, a bed in a loft that doesn’t have 600 pillows, a bidet, a wood floor. 


Remembering how much I love Europe. Its aesthetic, its fusion of past, present and future and the long strand of personal memory stretching all the way back to 1973 and weaving through so many towns, cities, countrysides in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland., England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland. All of which included multiple Orff workshops and people who I still keep in touch with.


Walking the night streets of Bari, I feel as if I awoke from a long, strange dream, having been locked down first in San Francisco, then California/Oregon, then the United States over two years. Yes, many (including me) are still wearing masks on the train and showing our vaccination card in the restaurant, but the warmth of the familiar is palpable and oh, so welcome.  And yes, I’m aware that such travel is a luxury and privilege, ecologically-speaking and culturally-speaking, but I refuse to negate the wonder and beauty of it, especially as my time was divided between learning so much of worth and giving back the blessings of humanistic music education. Both of which I hope to continue in my 4 weeks here. 


My body in canon with itself, night and day confused in its interior timeclock, keeping up with e-mails and text messages descending low on the list, I am alive on to this day, ready to merge anonymously into the stream of humanity and simply savor the privilege of being a joyful guest on a troubled and wondrous earth. 

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