Music and Rhubarb

Got through most of chapter 19 this week, but still in a bit of a slow patch. I'm making progress, just not as much as I want to be. So not the best report this week, but that's accountability for you!

I was so excited to buy a pound of rhubarb this week! I love rhubarb, but I don't buy it enough. Sad, isn't it? Well, here's what I did with it:

Combine:

1 lb chopped rhubarb

3/4 C white sugar

juice from 1 lemon

2 Tbs corn starch

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

and 1/4 tsp cinnamon or cardamom

Top with streusel topping:

1 C flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 C light brown sugar

1/2 C butter, cut into cubes then rub or cut into the dry mix until only pea-sized lumps of butter remain.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Delicious! And just easy enough for me to make!

My landlord is on vacation for the month of May, so not only am I making a few extra bucks by watching his pets, I'm also free to practice my oboe as much as I want, whenever I want. I don't have to worry about bothering anyone - heaven!

I love playing. I get lost in the music. Best of all, it occupies all of my mind, so there is no room for worry or thought at all. I have to count and play the right notes and rhythms. If I want to sound good, I have to listen to the other parts around me and blend.

It is a relief not to have to worry about the interpersonal drama that is so common elsewhere. In the real world team environment, so often there are clashes of egos (especially when I'm around, I'm stubborn...) In a band, it isn't about one person being right or wrong, better or worse. It is about the effect of the whole - how you can contribute to that whole and make it better by being there. In the real world, there is competition and fear of correction - but in the band, you expect correction and guidance from the director.

I'm not saying these things don't ever pop up in a band; some of the snarkiest, most conflicted environments I've been in have been musical ensembles (I wasn't happy in those ensembles, so I never played at my best, and I left them). But for me, if I'm in the right band, these issues don't even cross my mind. I don't worry about disagreeing with my conductor, even if I would do things differently. I have a hard time believing the trumpets are back there saying something unkind about me, and it doesn't cross my mind that I might have inadvertently offended the flutes. We are all concentrating on playing our unique parts the best we can together.

We are of unified purpose - and that is rare and pure. That feeling is what refreshes me and keeps me coming back. Maybe other people get it by playing on sports teams or joining knitting circles. But for me, playing music in a band is as close as I can get to the transcendence God meant for us to have before the fall.

Band is the hour and a half every week when it doesn't matter that everyone is locked away in their own minds; it wouldn't matter if we were telepathic. We get to drop all the barriers we put in place during the rest of the week - all the pride, insecurity, sensitivity, expectations, and misunderstandings.

Isn't that amazing?

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