February 18, 2010
I returned from The Land of Cold People (see prior post) with a big smile. I could not have been treated more wonderfully by such a talented group of faculty and students. I gave a ton of lectures and private lessons and was rewarded with, among other things, a very, very beautifully performed evening of my music– concert, and jazz. It’s inspiring to be immersed for a few days into a new tribe of music makers, and I came home happy and appreciative.
And, happy and appreciative to defrost: like much of the country that week (except for the San Juan Islands where it remained a glorious, sunny 50-ish degrees), I was caught in one of the blizzards that swept through. The first full day I was at Capital University, they had to close the campus by 1pm. Although one of the three business/entrepreneurship classes I was to speak to was canceled, I told the 30 or so music students at my morning lecture that I’d be happy to pinch hit with my new-found free time, and hang with them to talk further at a local coffee shop. I thought maybe 3 people might show, just for the warm java. But fully half or more of the class was there, waiting for me as I walked in. Great students, eager to talk and question.
So I’ve caught up a bit on things here in the studio this week, only to turn on my heels again on Tuesday for an extended trip to my home town of Manhattan. Three board and committee meetings, plus my mother’s publicly unmentionable Importantly Numbered Birthday (the kind that ends with a zero or a 5). Stunningly beautiful, elegant, and wrinkle-free, without a grey hair on her perfectly coiffed head, she still lives in the same great apartment in which I grew up. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in the city: once you find good real estate, you hang onto it with your soot-lined claws. So coming over to visit her, decades later, is still truly going HOME. The only thing missing is my father, who I adored, and who left the planet way too early eleven years ago. As I was growing up, when he came home from work he used to ring to doorbell in a particularly quick, quirky way as he unlocked the door with his house key(s) [plural; hey, it’s New York]. He was the only person to ever ring our doorbell that way. Now when I show up, I ring it that way, too. Freaks my mother out just a tad. Hi, Daddy.
So I think a lot these days about what home is, because it turns out that by the time you’re my age, it’s a lot of things. It’s the place(s) you grew up. It’s the memory of the many places you lived before you moved all your stuff into the place you currently live. It’s the place you imagine you might live some day. And it’s also a 22-inch roll-on suitcase, paired with a laptop, an iPhone and an invincible wireless connection to the globe 24/7. I have learned that as long as I am doing work I love, and hanging with people that I really enjoy, I am home. I need very little to live well other than that, plus a sturdy TravelPro that will fit in the overhead compartment of life.