Tomorrow I will be performing again, live, for the first time since before the pandemic (well, actually, I performed with my colleague for my friends and neighbors last summer-I was indoors seated at a 7 foot piano with the lid not just raised but actually removed, and Mike, my violinist was just outside the house by the window, along with the audience sitting socially distanced in my backyard, a story for another day perhaps) and I am excited! It has been so long since my last performance that I find myself foggily recalling my pre-performance rituals. Much of it is done the day of, but one thing I like to do the day before is go for a long walk in the woods. I took my ever-eager-for-a-walk canine companion Heidi with me, and we drove about 30 minutes away to a favorite spot. Once we got a ways from the parking lot and into more dense woods, I let Heidi off-leash and watched as she gleefully darted ahead on the trail, lapped up water in some of the many flowing brooks (why this water and not that, I wondered), and freely stopped to take in the various scents on the trail itself and in the lush vegetation alongside it. I walked leisurely, noticing the many mushrooms (it has been raining nearly every day here), such strange and alternately pale and vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, tan, white. I love the feeling of being in the woods. There is something so calm and comforting about the trees, something ancient and wise, and something larger than ourselves and our often tyrannical thoughts. The rising popularity of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) and Beethoven’s famous walks in the woods south of Vienna come to mind as ways in which the forest has a profound effect on humanity. It is perhaps a bit of a stretch, but I think that sense of music being larger than us, not knowing what effect it will have on others, it being an awe-inspiring source of beauty, is very much related to the woods…

I would keep writing, or revise the above (!) but I feel the pressure of needing to eat dinner, get to bed on time, and get a good night’s rest weighing heavily on me. Thank you for reading and I will expand on these ideas soon! May music bring you joy today.