Music 101

I’ve finally started watching Outlander, thanks to the not-so-gentle prodding of a friend. As one does when binging a series, I skip the recaps and intros. I just started season 5, and was a bit slow on grabbing the remote, so I heard the theme song, and I am so glad I did. Each season comes with a new version of the theme song; this version is sung a cappella by a choir. The accents, the crescendos, the fermatas, the harmonies…it is ethereal, it is stirring, and it is haunting.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been raised in a town that supported its school music programs. We all sang to Mrs. Clark’s direction from 1st to 5th grade. We learned the recorder. Band was optional, but it began in 5th grade. Band and Choir continued through middle and high school with options to join the jazz and marching bands, and the chamber choir. I chose all three. Part of the reason was because we had enthusiastic and talented leaders, Mrs. Imse and Mr. Pearson, especially. They loved what they did, and it showed, and it was their love that inspired and enabled us to be as good as we were. We made great music together, and it felt so good to be a part of an arts program that could bring many different people together to create something beautiful. I especially loved singing in the chamber choir, being a part of the six part harmonies, and knowing that we all wanted to blend together, not single ourselves out.

Hearing the choir on Outlander sing The Skye Boat Song is magical in the way only music can be; it transports and reawakens the soul to a past life, and stirs the desire to want to live it again.

Totally AWE-full!

I like living a life in awe. I seek out things that will make me stop in my tracks and say, “Whoa! That’s amazing! How wonderful!” Living with my daughter gives me a reason to be in awe; she amazes me daily. And living with her and working with children enables me to live vicariously through their awe.

This past Independence Day, my daughter and I went to watch the town’s fireworks display. There were children sitting two spots over who, you’d guess, had never seen fireworks before. Had I closed my eyes, I’d’ve known everything that was going on, thanks to their commentating. “Wow! Did you see that?! Gold balls! Look at that! Whoa! That’s purple! *Gasp* A heart! Wow!” I got a bigger kick out of listening to their exclaims than seeing the fireworks themselves!

The words awesome and awful create another English language conundrum for me. If something, someplace, or someone is truly awe inspiring, couldn’t you say it’s awful? And if it’s cool, but not the best, then you’d say awesome? And how can the one word, awe, mean to produce feelings of fear and pleasure? I’m guessing something got lost in translation on its way from Greece to the Americas.

Maybe my understanding of things will catch on. In that case, I hope you all live Awe-full lives!

Keep Your Head in the Clouds

My first post was written just over a year ago. The pandemic had just begun, and people were starting to wonder how long it would actually last. “When will life be normal again?” “What is the new normal?” “When can I do the things I miss again?”

As we pick up speed, build up our endurance, and decrease our social distancing, I implore you to remember what you loved about this past year. I know that at some point you thought to yourself, “I’m so glad I have time to do this again,” or “Gosh, I haven’t done this since I was a kid!” Yes, it will be fantastic to attend concerts and festivals, Broadway shows and indoor sporting events, but it will also be wonderful to continue making time for hobbies, playing, finding beauty in nature, and pondering life’s greatest questions.

This evening, as my daughter and I headed home from one of my work events, and I was in my own world processing how the day went and creating a mental to-do list, she says, “It’s a lamp, and the Genie is coming out of it.” It took me a few seconds to connect the dots, but I got there. Up in the clouds was a genie and his lamp. And then the genie became a dragon. And the lamp morphed into a witch’s hat. And with the clouds, my work hangover floated away.

Get out and do the things you missed this past year, but not in exchange for the things you loved about this past year. Find a new way to balance your life. Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds.