Friday, May 26, 2006

From the Upper Left Hand Corner

During my many years as a jazz musician I often experienced the joy of playing with big bands. The driving sounds these ensembles created were dynamic and exciting. When we rehearsed, there was the need to go over parts of the arrangments, sometimes many times, over and over until 3 trumpets, 3 trombones and 5 saxes all hit their note within a milisecond of one another.

When the parts were working, the leader would take us through the entire arrangement from the beginning. He would simply say, "From the upper left hand corner." To me, this expression from my musical life has come to mean new beginnings, like a sun rise.

Throughout my life, I have always sought new beginnings, something new to learn. That's how I got my fingers caught in so many cookie jars. Kayaking is one of those jars, and I have found new beginings within the sport itself.

This all came to me yesterday as I struggled with the skin on frame boat I built over the winter. I can paddle it, lean it, brace it, scull it and roll it at will. But it doesn't feel right...yet.

Another beginning, for me, was Instructor Development Clinic (ICE) and the evaluation at the end of that summer. I was still learning, still doing new things, and I was enjoying the company of younger folks. (I used this image of Adam, who was in our class, because his name comes at the beginning).

It occurs to me, as I muse on my life-long habit of learning new things, that this is all part of what keeps me going and stimulates my mind and body. Moreover, I grow from the secondary lessons I get from each new area. When I meet and get to know the people that that discipline attracts , I come closer to understanding how others view the world and how often their views are so very different from mine.

Life has been good to me, I am blessed. I hope to keep learning, next with my Greenland style SOF. But, just between you and me, I most love that feeling that I get when I get it. That rush of nailing a new skill. And, at other times, it is the simply joy of new-found serenity.


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