November 10, 2011

Listening Session

Today I listened to:

Barber's Violin Concerto


Mahler's 3rd Symphony

For this impromptu concert I sat in a big fluffy chair on the upper level of the student center. Through the east-facing panoramic windows I watched heavy clouds race through the sky, sending sunlight playing over the lake and creating a patchwork of multi-green hues on the water's milky surface. The wind picked up and it started to snow--a blizzard over hills of still-green grass. The first flakes of the season, like blowing sheets of down, obscured the brilliant yellows of autumn leaves still clinging to branches that swayed in time to the music in my ears.

Forgive me for the sappy run-ons.
It's been a while since I was so swept away by required listening.

November 5, 2011

More Photos

I took a pre-practice-session walk this afternoon and, as usual, had much fun with my camera along the way. Most of the photos didn't end up being all that memorable, but here are a couple that stood out to me...

As the sun set in the west, the moon was also climbing high in the eastern sky. I made about 5000 attempts at photographing it, but with little success. Still, I found that with a little doctoring in iphoto, what starts as a mediocre photograph...

Can sometimes end up being a rather charming artistic improvisation...

November 4, 2011

Jonathan Livingston at Dawn

"You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn't flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits. Perfect being there."

--Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I first read Jonathan Livingston Seagull during my 3rd year at the University of Utah. A friend had recommended it and I remember devouring the inspiring text in about a day. It's a book I should probably take some time to reread and apply to my life now.

Speaking of inspiration...

November 2, 2011

Scenes from a Georgian Bakery

...and that's Georgia the I'm not talking about southern caramel cake or cornbread.

Yesterday afternoon my ethnomusicology class was held at a tiny traditional Georgian bakery on Devon Street--a long thoroughfare a few miles south of Evanston that is home to a dizzying array of international vendors.

A few paces from the bakery you can step into a Russian bookstore, window shop for hijab on the next block, cross the street to fantasize about opulently bejeweled Pakistani wedding saris, and step in for dinner at an Indian restaurant where masala and vindaloo are conspicuously absent from the menu, and instead deliciously spiced traditional dishes are served with cheap plastic spoons onto styrofoam plates, and a dessert case full of bizarre looking sweets beckons from across the room. Devon offers a surprising pastiche of culture and was an intriguing backdrop for our class debates and discussion.

Not wanting to appear too much the shameless tourist, I only took photos at the Georgian Bakery. Here are a few...

Kachapuri (cheese bread) fresh from the oven...

How could I resist...

Georgia is known for its wine which is traditionally served in bull-horn flasks. The bottles are often beautifully hand painted.

Completing all my class/trumpet requirements still has me stressed to the point of exhaustion, and I often push through the final hours of every day feeling like a physical, emotional, or mental breakdown is imminent. This sensation was compounded yesterday when I was informed of the passing of Craig Bumgarner, a good family friend--a message I received shortly before heading down to Devon.

I wish that all of these experiences could have been spread out over about twice the time--that I'd be able to immerse myself completely within each one. Somewhere behind all the stress and frustration I realize I'm being given many opportunities I'd previously only dreamed about, and I hope that when this quarter ends in a few weeks, I'm able to remember more of the good its providing me, instead of the overwhelming difficulty.

Sunrise this morning was awesome. Long before the sun's rays broke the horizon, a pillar of light shot heavenward and set the clouds afire.

Though I never did know him well, I thought about Craig. About life and death. About friendship and change. And about the inexorable passage of time.