They call it the ‘dark’ of the moon. For me, without knowing much more than that about new moons, I imagine a greenhouse in the dark; a pot of seeds pushing out roots under the soil; the invisible emergence of a small thought that can grow to become The Idea That Changed it All. It’s a very private, very personal time – when above all else, one Must listen carefully and gently to oneself.
I have Handel’s Passacalie playing in my mind – the string quartet played at a very satisfying wedding this past Saturday – and played and played, until every muscle in my left hand and arm was in pain. Even days later as I type I can feel the bruising on my fingertips – and yet this is far less important than Handel, than four people gathering to make and share live music. Last night the Youth Orchestra played through some breathtaking Respighi – thank you Richard Mascall – that I shall also learn well enough to play in my mind. This is the kind of thing that changes the world.
And so it comes, the moment of the September New Moon. I have music in my thoughts. Four new students, all of varying levels, all fully committed to learning how to play the cello. They will all help to build resonance in this community, and wherever they go. It has taken some time for me to get to the stage where I could teach again – I consider it an essential service, in the great community tradition of Edouard Bartlett, Donna Steinacher and many others. I am fully aware that to teach well one must also challenge oneself musically – and I welcome it. Writing, playing, practise, performing, studying – ever in search of more refinement, more subtlety.
I have also this marvelous winter light festival in my thoughts which has grown to have huge resonance for me. The Festival is a quarter-century old, and attracts visitors from around the world now (do we know this here? I wonder). It’s also about the light in the folks who put it together every year – passionate, dedicated, rock-solid loyal, kind and full of pure, simple fun – I’m honoured to work with them.
I can just begin to see colour now in the leaves, and above them a payne’s grey watercolour-washed sky. The clouds move from SE to NW, which is unusual for here. In the garden there are seven huge blue morning glories blooming, as if in answer to stars- they glow against the dark of the cedars behind them. All is quiet in the house – G&D lie abed, the cat is still.
My quiet thoughts have grown as I write, into a feeling that as yet cannot hold words.
Or, perhaps it can hold one. Just one word that holds great promise, and requires safe passage through the months and years ahead: