We have Great Blue Herons fly over the house regularly. One of my favorite birds.
Some of you know that I play in a Community Band. We’re a band made out of people who played in high school, maybe college too, often years, even decades ago. Some of us are retired, most of us are still working, and a few of us are still in school. We have whole families playing together, moms and dads and their kids all come to rehearsals once a week and play music.
That’s my favorite part.
Anyway, our last concert of this season is a week from last night. Like any group we’ve had our good and bad rehearsals, scheduling conflicts, missing music, lack of instrumentation. But we’ve overcome all of that, and with one last rehearsal next week we’ll be ready.
Which is good, because we’re playing Pastime, a Saute to Baseball by Jack Stamp. Give it a listen. At about two minutes you’ll hear the most difficult part, the fugue where the band is split up among several lines and if you’re not careful chaos reigns. Don’t worry, it all comes back together just before two and a half minutes. Still, the whole thing requires concentration and counting. There’s no guessing when to come in on this one.
So I’m practicing. Between now and next Wednesday I think I need to practice every night.
It turns out Pastime isn’t the only difficult piece. We’re also doing Sun Dance by Frank Ticheli. (You can skip the ad after a couple seconds. This is performed by Michigan State University, my undergrad alma mater, so I couldn’t resist. Plus they sound amazing!) It’s turning into a bit of a challenge too. I don’t understand why composers can’t keep the same time signature (the number of beats in a measure) for an entire piece. This is another one that requires concentration and counting. Listen, I think you’ll enjoy it!
But why is everything just so darn fast?
Wish us luck. I think it’s a cool thing, to play with other musicians from all sorts of backgrounds, to not give up our instruments when we graduate from school. If you used to play and haven’t touched your instrument for a few (or a lot) of years, think about joining a community band near you. Many of them don’t require auditions to join.
And don’t be nervous. OK, you’re going to be a little nervous on the first couple of nights. We all were. But you’ll find the other musicians are just happy to have you. We’re always looking for more people.
Trust me. What your brain has forgotten your fingers remember. It will all come back. Promise.
If you didn’t play, consider attending a community band concert. We’re always looking for audience members too. Mostly we ask our friends and families to attend, but it would be fun to look out and see a full house. Music always sounds better when the venue is packed. I bet you even know some of the people playing, and they’d be delighted to see you out there providing support. It’s a community thing, and we certainly could use a little community building these days.
Thanks for listening.
You probably expect me to spend this post complaining about how mama abandoned me to go hang out with a cat! And I would, but I have more important things to talk about.
Especially dogs that served our country, some even our local communities, and are buried and honored at a very special War Dogs Memorial Cemetery.
Since today is Memorial Day my Aunt Karen, her dog Deuce, and mama and I went out to visit it this morning. (Aunt Karen provided my patriotic attire.) It was pretty amazing.
I felt very honored and almost overwhelmed to be visiting these amazing dogs and paying my respects. Deuce says he felt the same way. These were very special dogs, loved beyond measure, who worked hard at their jobs and who are honored here in this beautiful place not too far from where I live.
We spent a long time walking around, reading stones and thinking about these heroes.
If you are ever near South Lyon Michigan you should stop by. I guarantee you’ll have a better appreciation for all the work these dogs did while they were alive.
And then, if you’re lucky enough to have a Prince or Princess at home, give them an extra dog biscuit today. On me.
Talk to you all later…it’s a holiday and that calls for a nap!
Click on any photo and you’ll be able to scroll through larger versions of all the images above.
I stopped at a few places on the way home. What would have been a five hour drive turned into nine. And I got rained on. A lot. Still, it was so much fun.
I have lots of other things to show you, but they weren’t necessarily dominated by green…so they didn’t fit here. I suppose that will mean a post with random photos coming soon.
On the other hand, Katie-girl has much to say and you know how hard it is to silence a princess.
Saturday on Lake Michigan.
Yesterday, after the fog lifted I wandered in the Leelanau State Park hiking trails that wind through cedar and beech trees, then up to the dunes that separate the woods from the shore of Lake Michigan.
It’s a magical place, and I was lucky – there were very few bugs! I loved how the light sifted through the newly minted leaves.
And though there were few bugs, there were plenty of natives scurrying around in the leaves on the forest floor…
…and scolding me from behind tree trunks.
I enjoyed the cool trail through the damp deep woods…
…but after a bit the trail left the dark woods and began to climb up and around sandy and more open dunes. The trees changed too, from deep dark forest to open and airy.
Eventually the trail spilled out onto perfectly beautiful dunes and provided a view of the lake. What a pretty picture!
I probably should have climbed over those dunes to the lake. You never know what you’ll find. But it was getting late in the day, so I headed on through the woods. I met a new friend sleeping in a sunny spot on the trail. He wasn’t as excited to meet me as I was to notice him, and he silently moved away.
And just before the parking lot I found a sweet little patch of forget-me-nots.
Later in the evening I waited in anticipation for sunset. I must have run down to the beach a dozen times, hoping that this was the one great shot. Turns out it was a pink and purple, more gentle kind of sunset. Still it was pretty. I’ve put together a short slide show for your enjoyment.
That way you don’t have to do all those stairs yourself.
Overnight I listened to a lighthouse fog horn warning ships that the shore wasn’t visible. This morning the horn was still blowing and the lake had disappeared behind a heavy veil.
My plan for today was to explore nearby orchards; I’ve never been here when they were in bloom, and I saw several on my drive that looked promising. But in the fog?
I thought about it while I was eating cereal, staring out into grey nothingness. Contemplating. After all, a flowering tree is beautiful in the sun, but might it be more interesting in the fog?
Certainly worth a walk.
Everything is so green up here, and the fog made it seem to drip green dew into the green air.
At the top of a hill was an orchard in full bloom.
I’ve tried many times to catch the patterns and symmetry of orchards. It’s hard to show the patterns, they’re so large. But every time I’m up here, whatever the season, I try.
I guess I find orchards fascinating.
I love the patterns and textures, especially when they’re in bloom.
Later this afternoon the sun came out. I went for a walk in the woods, and on my way back I drove by the orchard to see what it might look like without fog.
Turns out they are just as pretty in the sunlight.
I’ve got to organize the photos from my walk in the woods. Maybe you’ll see those tomorrow. But the sun is still shining here, sparkling on the water. There’s a chance we’ll get a sunset tonight.
If so you’ll probably see that first.
Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
I saw this unusual trillium on my walk in the northern fog this morning. I’ve never seen one like it. Trillium season is so short I’m lucky to get an extension by being in the north this weekend.
I’m off on a little vacation; just me myself and I plus one cat. And a really big lake.
On the five hour drive north I saw a couple sights worthy of stopping, even though it was a drizzling, damp, grey, kind of nothing in particular sort of day.
Still, there was evidence that spring was marching on regardless of the dreary weather.
At the lake mist was still clinging to the hilltops above the gentle giant of a lake.
I went for my first walk along the shore, glad to be near the water, not caring what the weather would bring. And then I noticed a lightening of the air; the sun was fighting the low hanging clouds.
But looking the other way down the beach, the clouds were piling in.
The sun and clouds tussled the rest of the day, until late in the afternoon when the sun finally broke free.
I thought perhaps there would be a spectacular sunset, but now mist is moving from the horizon toward shore. There probably won’t be any sunset at all.
Which works out fine, because I don’t think I can stay awake that long anyway.