Greetings, Friends, Family and Fans…
In my mind, I’ve written this newsletter umpteen times. To talk or not to talk about coronavirus? And if so, how? To be uplifting and positive? Or to confess how social distancing has shone a bright light on my foibles, faults and flaws?
Zetetic though I may be, the answer is still unclear. Here’s what kept coming up for me: Stop me if you’ve heard this quote before: ‘’True happiness comes, not from having what we want, but from wanting what we have.” So, what do we have here that we always say we want? Well, thanks to sheltering in place, the greater majority of us have more time than we used to, and we have more space – at least 6 ft. and then some! Speaking for myself, within a span of 10 days, I watched months of carefully planned and executed engagements on the calendar suddenly melt away, like cotton candy on a hot day at the fair. Just pfffttt! Gone.
B.C. (before coronavirus), I seemed to spend nearly every day running from one thing to the next; packing for a gig, traveling, checking into hotel, lobby call, workshop/outreach, rehearsal, soundcheck, playing, hanging, sleeping, lobby call for the next destination, wash, rinse, repeat until exhausted. THEN…go home, unpack, check in and do for mom, husband, sons, siblings. Cook, laundry, bills, compose, grocers, plant flowers, water plants, and a hundred additional things that require attention. Basically shutting out all the internally needling little thing-lings that I’d become so adept at ignoring or shuffling to the ‘Do This Later’ file in my mind.
Ordinarily, this newsletter would be filled with talk of upcoming gigs. And, yes, there are new engagements listed on my brand new website – and cancelled ones, too. Along with the still-listed engagements is the tacet caveat that they, too, may disappear. The lesson? Life is transient – like a box of chocolates. As my father loved to say, atheist though he was, “The plans are man’s, but the odds are God’s.” Even as children, we all knew what that meant and we’d say to one another even on into adulthood, “Hope for the best; expect the worst.”
I hope to see us all again coming out of our hidey-holes, embracing, supporting and tending to each other. I see us playing live music together again, forgetting our shyness about dancing or singing or crying in public. I see us supporting the arts more than ever: galleries, recitals, concerts, poetry readings, talent shows. I see us volunteering at our favorite charities, remembering how recently we or some loved one may have been recipients of it. I see this shared experience binding us emotionally to each other, forcing us to look past our own reflections in the windows on the now-empty streets, speaking to our neighbors (and, perhaps, strangers) and actually stopping long enough to hear the answer to the question “How are you?”
All said and done, I can honestly say yes, I’m happy. Honestly, deep-down-inside happy wanting what I have right now.
What do I have right now?
Time to be still, to enjoy the strangely peaceful mind-rest that comes from having, through no fault of my own, an empty calendar.
Time to be with and talk to my husband, whether unhurried at home or hand-in-hand during neighborhood sing-alongs and walks.
Time to try out recipes in those Mark Bittman, Joy of Cooking and NY Times Cookbooks.
Time to actually call friends and family; to talk to and listen to them.
Time to clean out closets and basements.
Time to think.
Time to finish those songs…and write new ones.
And time to write this final newsletter to you. Yes, this will be my last newsletter. But don’t worry…I’m not going anywhere! Instead, along with the new website, I’m switching over from a newsletter to a blog. This way I can write about anything and everything, at anytime I want without it having to be “newsy”. More on this later…
In the meantime, take good care. Be extra gentle with yourselves – and others.