Something in the Air

Chilly early morning view from the top deck…

There seems to be something in the air lately- or maybe it’s just a combination of the stressful end of the semester, the approaching end of a year, and the sometimes overwhelming anxiety over everything headed our way. Whatever it is, it’s palpable; I can taste it, feel the energy of it all crackling through my bones. Today was day fifty-six of my personal daily yoga challenge, and I can tell that it is helping me to deal with stress more effectively, but I still have work to do….especially with so many things seeming to happen at once.

The ceremonial pizza coma after clarinet juries at the Mellow Mushroom…

This past week was the big push; exam week, finishing up piles of paperwork for my student teachers, hearing my students perform their final playing juries. I’m also continuing to train for the role of Associate Chair of our Department that I will assume as of January first. I am excited to serve our Department in this way, but overwhelmed at the amount I have left to learn. My colleague who I will replace is retiring, a very wise man whose shoes it will be difficult to fill. He has been very much like a favorite uncle to me these past sixteen years, and the change of dynamics at work that I know is coming just feels unsettling. Life always goes on, though, doesn’t it?

Along with the new duties at school, there is a lot of travel ahead in the new year; Tampa for a conference, Columbus for a Board Meeting, Minneapolis for some presentations, recital tours to North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi with my chamber groups; premieres of new works and recording sessions, capped off with trip to Belgium in the summer to perform at ClarinetFest. I can’t help but hear my mother telling me, “Neese, you run around like your hair’s on fire- you need to slow down!” She always said those words knowing it just wasn’t in me to comply, but she had to try. All of the craziness energizes me, even as I feel the need for some downtime, too. It is coming soon, though; one recording session, and one symphony concert are all that stand between me and a bit of Christmas break. Sweet Sophie keeps reminding me of that.

Recording with the UAB Chamber Trio…

I came home after rehearsal and practice session all stressed out…and then suddenly, I froze. When will you learn? I looked around our wonderful, whacky, home decked out for the holidays; I kissed sweet old Sophie on the nose and laughed as goofy Shiva the Diva streaked by me and up the stairs…life is so good. When will I ever remember to let go of the worry and truly live in the now? I have even been letting the good stuff stress me out…I am ridiculous sometimes.

Dan came to stand by me in the sunporch and took me in his arms as we looked out at the beautiful view and said, “Honey, no matter what happens, as long as we have each other we will be fine. We have a great life together.” Oh, how I love this man.

With those words, the worry that had been wrapped around my heart began to melt away, and I felt hope and excitement for the holidays to come, and for our future. I can handle it all, one thing at a time, and I am thankful to have a life that is so rich and full. There is a different something in the air now, and I feel it in my heart and soul; the spirit of gratitude and the spirit of Christmas. Such a gift.


2 thoughts on “Something in the Air

  1. Congratulations on becoming Associate Chair for the dept. I’m sure you can handle it and that you deserve the appointment. That last photo of Sophie – such soulful eyes and looking at the camera as if to say that all will be right as soon as you put the camera down and rest your hand on her head…

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