I’ve just come back from a week mostly on the road. This is an awesomely beautiful time of year to travel in Ontario. In each place I go, I am meeting with groups of people – some that I’ve been working with for quite a number of years and who I’ve developed professional friendships with, and some new – and presenting information on one of the projects that I’ve been involved with. Each time I talk about the background and context for the project I am still filled with a sense of passion and enthusiasm; that’s a good thing although I did have concerns that I’d become disengaged prematurely … and it’s nice to report that so far that isn’t happening. There’s also the bittersweet side of the experience: saying goodbye to so many people; realizing that when I say “we’ll make sure to take that into consideration when we’re revising” I won’t be there to make sure it happens and can only hope that my words won’t be betrayed; having that “last time” thing happen repeatedly.
That “last time” thing. The thoughts that fly across my emotional desktop: the last 1st day of school, the last committee meeting, the last turning of the page on the calendar (metaphorically speaking of course). It’s a whisper that just seems to follow along wherever I go and whatever I’m doing these days. In a month it will be the last paycheque, and that still makes me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (thank you Jessie McFarlane, my Grade 13 English teacher – that’s the only thing I remember from the year we spent together).
Back to today. One of the first things on my todo list when I got home was to call my friend Eleanor (a friendship that results from one of those graceful moments in life when the world of work and the world of friendship become conjoined) and finalize plans for a movie and dinner tomorrow night. At my laptop, I search for movies that are on this weekend, and there it is .. a movie that appears to be about something that I blogged about (can blog be a verb? should it?) some time ago. It wasn’t the movie we’re going to see – truly doesn’t look all that interesting to me – but now I understand why I’ve still only got fewer than a half dozen songs in mind … it’s not a mixed tape I’m after, it’s a playlist that I’m trying to put together.
About that playlist (change is good and not all that hard). I have been doing a lot of driving from city to city lately, much of it being the tour around the province to complete some training. I’ve also had some time to drive to Niagara Falls with my sweet grandson Noam to celebrate his 5th birthday and will soon be in London which will give me a chance to visit my friend Esther. When I work, or drive (or kayak, or jog, or walk through town) I like to have music setting a rhythm. Clearly not any old music will do. It has to be music with a strong rhythm that will set a pace for boppin’ along (speaking directly to ya, I’m tryin’ out that folksy, mainstreet thing of droppin’ the final “g” in verbs – want to stay current – ya betcha) and powerful words that I can sing out loud (less problem when I do that in the car – although I often wonder what the other drivers goin by think when they see my head and shoulders dancin and swayin in the car while I appear to be speakin loudly to an invisible fellow traveller. I listen to collections of music that somebody else thought should be put together; sound tracks, albums. The FWER idea (in brief) was that I’d put together a CD of music that reminds me of the important things in life; music that will get me up and going (right, I missed that final “g” so it’s back again) on a hard day or just bring a smile to my face as I go about the business of living. We had three songs identified: Carol King’s “Beautiful” , Cat Steven’s “On The Road To Find Out, and Jane Olivor’s The Big Parade. I’ve added I Hope You Dance. I have stumbled on some new music that keeps me truckin (one last try at this “g” thing); indeed I’m not sure whether or not I can actually wear out a cut on my iPod but I’ve been listening (nope, the “g” stays- in the end that down-home real folks thing makes me feel a little vacuous and inane) to music from Mama Mia a lot. Something about the story certainly caught my imagination; a woman on her own, living a rather simple life in an exotic place, never losing her spunk or her energy for dreaming. The score has somehow captured my interest; partly it’s the up-beat rhythm, but even more than that I’ve enjoyed the challenge – and a challenge it is – of learning some new lyrics after a long hiatus from doing that. In my youth (all those too many years ago) I seemed to just absorb new lyrics as they wafted by. Today I have to consciously listen and repeat, listen and repeat; and, somewhere just after the 1,000th time I seem to have got most of the words memorized. Just another challenge of aging I guess.
Anyhow, I’m looking for more inspiring music – beyond the repertoire that I already comfortably know – and I’m sort of counting on you to share your favorite music with me so that I can have that playlist ready to load the day I retire (which is . What music brings a smile to your face? What music inspires you to get out there and do something wonderful?
Here’s something wonderful to listen to while you’re thinking about the favorite piece of music you might share.
By the way, the usual Thursday posting will be delayed to Friday this week because Thursday is Yom Kippur. G’mar Hatimah Tovah – may your fast be an easy/meaningful one and may your inscription for the New Year be a good one.