Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cat fight season

As the wild things go wild with spring abandon, I am plodding rather blankly through a time of regrouping. The cantata went well, I think; others have told me it was wonderful, and I do recall some moments of satisfaction as the tricky parts of the piano music passed smoothly under my hands, as well as some shivers of emotion as the choir gave it their all. But I didn't know my part well enough to indulge in much satisfaction or emotion during the cantata; I had to hold my focus all the way through. Afterwards I was asked if I felt relieved, and I said, "No, just stunned."

I had spent most of last week alternating between practising the piano, and resting my arms as soon as it got painful. I realized that the strain was probably due to the nearly constant stretching for big chords, or if not chords, then alternating patterns that still spanned an octave. I have no problem playing octaves, but octaves with two or three other notes inside, one after another as part of a melodic line, fortissimo . . . that gets beyond my current stamina. Anyway, I seem to have found the right balance between practising and rest, because I was able to give the choir much better support than I had expected.

Today I finally got to dig. I dug and I dug, and I rested by putting up posters for the film I booked for Earth Day (El Caballo), and I dug some more, and rested over lunch with family, and dug some more, and rested by helping move heavy stuff back into place at the church, and dug some more. By supper time I was starting to undercut the root ball of that tree I cut down last week. Why am I digging out a tree when I should be deep digging the garden? Because the tree was in the garden, that's why. Don't ask me why there was a tree in our garden plot. I haven't a clue. I'm guessing there could be another day's work there yet, and then I need to fetch manure from the farm, deep dig the existing garden plot, and expand the plot by trenching a fair bit of the lawn.

Once my brain starts functioning again, I'm going to work out a plan to do the digging in stages, so I can get some things planted without waiting until all the soil is prepared. But right now, I'm just digging. And loving it.

Maybe it has something to do with the background music. There was a steady refrain from the mourning doves, with bursts of bright sound from the flickers, and a full chorus of chorus frogs in the brick ponds, and then there was that extra frog voice that I'm pretty sure was a leopard frog - good news, except that I wonder if any frog has much of a chance in the brick ponds this year. Every once in a while there was laughter from the kids and their visiting cousins and friends, and yet nobody asked me to do anything except to put down my shovel and come eat, once in a while.

Tomorrow I have to go back to the keys for Easter Sunday service, and then do family visiting things for a day or so. I might not get back to the digging until Tuesday, but I'll sleep well tonight.


Madcap said...

I was wondering how all that went. Glad to hear it came off alright. I know what you mean about the big stretches, because I get "shinsplints" in my forearms too, when there's too much wide span.

Are you on a municipal water system or a well? How is the water supply in the Arcola area?

Anonymous said...

First, I wanted to express my appreciation that you posted your song, "You Already Hold the Truth." It's very good, Laura, and I enjoyed hearing it. I wish I had the compositional ability that you do, but I am largely a musical mimic despite having a bit of creativity in writing.

Second, I appreciated the inspirational quality of your 2 April post. I recently discovered some materials from my past that have made their way to the Internet and have begun a sincere exploration of what my vision of a just society might be. I could question whether finding your blog was an inspiration for my soul searching, or whether it is simply another instance of synchroncity in my life at a time when it is sorely needed, but the answer may not be particularly important or meaningful. What IS important is that I am making this exploration.

Finally, thank you for the candor you express in your blog, something that no one else I have read will do in such a public fashion. Some of your posts are truly remarkable; for example, the words you wrote about Garth's impending return from Nepal, your admonishments to the kids about their cat, and others.

Thank you, Laura, for providing something to us that is astonishingly refreshing and well worth reading.

Richard Jehn
Port Angeles, Washington

arcolaura said...

MCM - we're on a municipal water system. It's fed by shallow wells, quite susceptible to both droughts and floods. There was almost no runoff at all this spring, in contrast to most areas around us which have plenty of water lying around in the ditches and fields. But right now it's raining. There is always hope.

Richard - thank you for your encouraging comments. Sometimes I wonder why I write this blog, and comments like yours sure help to keep me at it. It's a peculiar dance, somewhere between writing purely for myself, and yet knowing that this is an extremely public place.