Monday, January 23, 2023

Catching Up

I wonder if this lifetime habit of living my life while simultaneously chronicling it in both handwritten journals and for the last 11 years, this blog, is a bit on the strange side. How many people do this? What compels me to try to remember what happened and even share it with others? To reflect, analyze, celebrate, complain and try to uncover what it all means? To feel like I’m “behind” if I just live it without writing about it?

Who knows? It is what it is. And now, at 5:58 on a summer morning in Sydney, trying to catch up on my unquiet week in Lake Wobegon. But when you miss the moment of writing yourself into the day, the news feels like— well, yesterday’s news. 

But for what it’s worth, the usual sense of being where I’m meant to be— in a circle of people playing, singing, dancing. This two-day course in Christchurch, New Zealand a dip back into the nursery rhyme material of my Intery Mintery book, re-visiting some old friends I’ve rarely brought into workshops with me. Doctor Foster, the man going to St. Ives, the mouse going up the clock alongside quotes by Dylan Thomas and poems by Yeats and Hopkins‚ good company all. The black American Mama Lama, Step Back, Boom Chick that led the group to the jazz blues Coming Home Babyand the jazz standard Moonglow. The opening “Why are we here?” and the answers of “material, process, enlarged understanding, affirmation, challenge, connection, inspiration” revisited at the end with testimonies that the time was well spent.

The music continued into the evenings— sitting in at a jazz club in Hobart with a great trio of bass, drums and guitar, a two-hour jazz jam at someone’s home in Christchurch with young musicians, a busker’s festival downtown, a blues singer/pianist at a club in Sydney. The long reach of American blues and jazz yet again impressive in its power. 

Quick impressions of Christchurch: A place that has suffered much with a devastating earthquake in 2011 so that my fantasy of an old English town replaced by almost all new buildings. A devastating mass shooting and the extraordinary response of a beloved, kind and intelligent prime minister Jacinda Arden (who just recently resigned feeling that she didn’t have the energy to give the job the work it deserved) as she immediately banned assault weapons. A lovely river snaking through the town, a large park and many promenades without cars. My last morning walked up into the hills surrounding and got an overview of the harbor, the distant mountains, some parallels with walking up in the Marin Hills outside San Francisco. 

Then the 3-hour flight to Sydney and this much larger, more cosmopolitan city alive with an urban energy, in company again with my wonderful hosts/ friends Paul and Margie. It was cold and rainy when I first was with them at the beginning of the trip and now it is the summer I expected and a walk through the Botanical Gardens awaits before heading home tomorrow.

And that’s the news, such as it is, where the women are strong, the men are good looking and of course, the children are all above average.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.