Summer, Haircuts and Basil

I had a haircut today. I love the feeling of the scissors snipping near my ears and the sheers vibrating against my head. It’s the most relaxed I’ve been in weeks. I realize that I’ve missed Summer, being so distracted with my career crisis.

I barely write here anymore, especially since the arts culture crisis began in Columbus in January, threatening my job of 19 years. I moved here to play in the Columbus Symphony. It was a thriving orchestra back then, up and coming. We had some great years with Alessandro Siciliani; a trip to Carnegie Hall, several recordings. Now all that is threatened.

An orchestra is like a tree. It takes a long time to grow and develop. It’s unique shape and habits are like no other tree. It offers relief from the rigors of the day under its branches.

I have an old Chinquapin Oak growing next to my house. It is at least 150 years old. It’s branches grow over two houses. When I had a large addition put on the back of my house, I had a special “floating” foundation put in, with three large piers upon which the room is built. I hired a tree specialist to dig the holes, so as not to disturb the roots. She used a large air gun to blast the soil away, revealing any roots, which she cut very carefully. Luckily, there were no really important arteries in any of the three 5 ft deep holes.

So it is with an orchestra. In the attempts to “stabilize” the organization financially, those who perhaps intended “progress” have instead damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Columbus Symphony. Several players have left, and more will leave in the next few months.

I planted three tomato plants in a pot in my driveway, one of the few places unshaded by the huge oak. Those three tiny little plants are now huge, rambling five feet high and flopping in every direction. The first tomatoes are almost ripe. (I planted them late) I watched the progress of those weedy plants each time I walked past them. I also planted a few dozen Basil plants, which are now robust bushes full of fragrant leaves. Tomato and Basil plants are the epitome of Summer! Their pungent smell and profuse vigor capture the very essence of Summer’s fecund process. So much happens in a garden during the growing season.

And I realize that, like the tomato plants, I’ve also been productive. I’ve had to adjust to the possibility of being unemployed for awhile until either the orchestra is resurrected or I gain another job. (akin to winning the Olympics, in other words a rare and difficult accomplishment) I’ve cleared out three rooms in my house and rented them out. The new house-mates have settled in and, in addition to providing me with income, are turning out to be excellent additions to my home.

I had a huge garage sale a few days ago. I seized the opportunity while clearing rooms out to sort through and eliminate superfluous stuff. I sold not only house items, but many plant divisions from my garden, mainly Hostas and Daylilies. I made $350 on the sale. And my life feels a bit lighter.

I am teaching more private students, and enjoying the process of initiating young minds to music’s complexity, especially since I have few performances to worry about.

Along with other musicians in the orchestra, I helped organize several very successful concerts to keep our orchestra in the public eye.

So, as I look at the garden through the large window behind my computer, I see that the garden’s progress didn’t happen alone. I now see how much I have grown, in self-reliance, confidence and resilience, during the past few months.

At the end of Summer, Fall’s harvest is the reward for hard work. Perhaps during the approaching Fall season, my hard earned personal growth and actions will pay off. I have to hope and be optimistic.