My spouse is still recovering from surgery and still can't drive. So last night, I drove him to his Chorale rehearsal over at the local community college. It was like visiting haunts from my past.
I walked with him to the rehearsal room, which took me back to my undergraduate days hanging out in the music building. I wish I could say that I was hanging out there because I have such musical skill, but that's not the case. I was often keeping more musical friends company while they practiced. And during my Sophomore year, I had a small office in the rehearsal rooms area. I had a workstudy job doing clerical work for a performance series hosted by the college. I remember working and hearing distant music. Very comforting.
After his rehearsal started, I decided to walk to the library. The map showed it as much closer than it was. I stopped in the student services building and asked. The woman said, "It's the only 4 story building on campus. You can't miss it."
Off I went again, heading towards a distant 4 story structure. It turned out to be a parking garage. So, I walked some more and finally found it.
From darkened pathways, I watched classes getting started and felt a pang. I love community colleges. I taught in a variety of community colleges for many years, and I always loved the variety of missions that the community college fills.
Eventually I made my way back to the rehearsal room, where I sat and read while the Chorale rehearsed. Again, a tug of memory. My mom used to play the piano for a similar chorale at Northern Virginia Community College. When I was in town to visit, I'd go with her to rehearsal. I'd read and let the music swirl around me.
I felt strange homesickness for parts of my past that are likely gone forever. They may show up in new incarnations (I'm thinking primarily about the teaching), but some days it still amazes me how much of my life is gone.
Don't worry, I'm not going to launch myself into a midlife crisis, at least not a traditional one where I buy an inappropriate car to drive to inappropriate sexual encounters. No, nothing like that.
But it is time to do some thinking. Am I on the best trajectory? How do I need to recalibrate?
In creative terms, I want to continue thinking about the projects that only I can write. What was I put on earth to say? What's the most important thing? Who needs to hear it? Why?
In my younger years, I used to think that if I didn't write it, someone else would beat me to it. Now I'm fairly sure that whatever I don't write won't get written.
Oh sure, someone else might write something similar. But they'll be fulfilling their mission, not mine.
It's important to remember how unique we are, each of us, in our own way. What we don't say/write/create goes unsaid. And what we have to say/write/create may be so important and essential to so many people. It would be a shame to stay silent.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
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