Slogging towards the worst day of Melinama's year...
... as a lifelong victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder (since long before it was glorified with a name), I've found my worst time to be, not the winter solstice, when days are shortest, but NOW, when whatever stores of optimism and energy were stored up from the previous year are utterly gone. (The birds, having long ago scarfed up every last berry in the woods, feel the same way.)
So my personal nadir is Valentine's Day; for years, when I had a significant other, awful things happened on that day. Now I suffer alone, that's way better. I self-medicate with nuts and chocolate - too much of that medicine, however, can result in adverse side effects like a queasy stomach and tight pants.
I'm not the only one grousing. After adding fill dirt, raking, and re-seeding Field #1, which has been mercilessly hoof-holed and mud-pit-pulped and shmooshed-over by my 550 pound donkey, I decided to put Jethro in his round pen for a week to give the field a rest (it really needs six weeks minimum). He didn't mind being in the round pen, because he can see the house clearly from there. However, it has no shelter, so when rain was forecast I put him in Field #2, where he has a lovely roof to stand under.
Jethro considers Field #2 to be his personal Siberia, because he can't keep me under constant surveillance through the trees. Even though Field #2 is big, and pretty, and has a nice shed, and his breakfast of course - and even some green stuff growing on the ground - and hardly any mud-holes - he restlessly paces by the gate, yearning to be back where he can stare at me all day long.
It was fun going out in the rain this morning and inspecting the results of my water-diversion projects. Rivulets are now flowing more or less where I want them. Playing in the mud is muy divertido.
Last night was the only full rehearsal for two massed-chorus-and-string-ensemble concerts in which the Triangle Jewish Chorale will participate this weekend. The conductor, David Stuntz, selected a bunch of possible songs for us all to do together (our Chorale and his Blacknall Presbyterian Church choir and the chorus and string orchestra from the North Carolina School of Science and Math). After requesting that one of the groups songs be switched out (I didn't think our rabbi would appreciate the rehearsing of "Jesus is My Rock" in his synagogue) we were all set.
One of the group pieces, "Five Hebrew Love Songs" by Eric Whitacre, is gorgeous (well, except for the movement where we just go bum, bum, bum, bum, bum at various speeds for pages at a time) and I've already added two of the songs to the chorale's repertoire.
So we, the chorale, are doing two songs of our own for this event, one of which is usually accompanied by piano. However, I discovered with some discomfiture last night that more than sixty singers and more than thirty string players, plus timpani, leave no room onstage for a piano. I confabbed with Scott Laird, director of the string ensemble; I suggested his kids might do the job and he agreed, saying if I'd write out string parts I could come to rehearsal this morning and teach the song to them.
So I went home and wrote up the parts. Just as I hit "Send," BAM, the power went out, and, well, look, something went right! The electricity could have gone out just BEFORE I hit Send! It's an indication that the unlucky, hoary ice flows of winter are beginning to break up...
This morning I took the brand new score and my fiddle to Scott's rehearsal and introduced the kids to playing rhythm klezmer-style. Orchestra players, many talented enough to be soloists, they're not so good at "winging it" or playing bouncy, fat, woofy oom-pahs, so that's what we worked on... Scott, looking round at his coterie of serious, primarily Asian players, said it was their first exposure to Jewish music - and that this is a rollicking good inter-cultural experience. What good sports they are! They sound great and I can't wait for the chorale to hear them.