At the half century mark (or close to it) in so many parts of my life, continuity is on my mind. Moving to San Francisco, my marriage, Zen practice, Orff practice, jazz piano practice, The San Francisco School— all these essential pillars that have held up my life and held up during my life.
And amongst them, almost 50 years since I first came to this cottage on Lake Michigan. A place, alongside the nearby town of Frankfort, that has barely changed in the best of ways. The land untouched by constant new development, nearby Watervale and Camp Lookout carrying on, the library, the corner drug store, various restaurants continuing on in Frankfort and most miraculously, the Garden Movie Theater still intact.
And so it was a special pleasure to have the movie made about The SF School and my life in Orff that included my wife and house and a little bit of jazz showing at the Garden Theater last night. And an extra pleasure to share it with my in-laws and wife’s old family friends who know me from hanging out at the beach and playing games at night and now got a peek into that other life I lived— and continue to live.
As my daughter testifies in the movie, I’m not a fan of rapid change, especially imposed from without for the wrong reasons. As I say in the movie, when you’ve got a good groove going on the bandstand, you don’t suddenly switch it up because the band next door has a different one. When something is working, you stick with it and dive down deeper and let its echoes ripple out further. “Working” meaning that it is true, authentic, life-giving, filled with the dynamic energy of beauty and refreshment. That’s what the best traditions offer and yes, they need to stay open to changes with circumstance and people and place, but the best changes are incremental adjustments.
Of course, continuity as a value in itself means nothing. There is nothing whatsoever to celebrate in the continuity of 400 years of slavery. That’s a horror that “worked” for some and not for others and even those who benefitted and profited did so at great loss to their own soul. Working as defined above must include everyone.
So hooray for the Garden Theater and hooray for the SF School still carrying on beyond my presence (though it looks like I may be subbing there this month!) and hooray for not trying to fix what ain’t broke. (He says close to the end of the 12th year of this blog.)