I’m waiting for the call that says my new glasses are ready, and for the proof of Following Frankie to arrive so I can give it one last look before publication, and for whatever winter this is to blow on through and let spring settle in, and for the results of the blood test I was supposed to have had done seven months ago except for this pandemic. I’m waiting for my first in-person meeting with Kavya, and for my first steps back into the world to be a little less hesitant, and for the next project to suggest itself to me, and for musicians to start gathering again at the community center so I can join in, and, as the poet said, I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder.
And I’m thankful that I have yet to be disappointed by that last one.
Yesterday afternoon we attended a performance of John Luther Adams’ “Inuksuit” at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens. We heard it first five years ago at Mead’s Quarry in Ijams Nature Center, also here in Knoxville. That performance was the culmination of the Big Ears Festival of 2016. This was also a Big Ears event, the first one in about 14 months. An hour long percussion work performed outdoors, it’s an immersive experience; the performers are scattered all around the grounds, and the listeners can move among them to get a changing perspective on the piece as it unfolds. Today’s involved a smaller ensemble than the one five years ago, probably not more than two dozen percussionists, but it was still a wonderful experience.
I set out to attend today’s event with mixed feelings. It’s been over a year since I did anything of a social nature, and I was uncertain, even a little scared (even though I’m vaccinated). After investing so much time and effort into staying safe and minimizing risk, going to a concert, even an outdoor one, was daunting.
There were no parking spaces when we arrived and we were directed to the overflow lot some distance away. After a brisk walk we entered the performance area and found many people already there, waiting for things to start. With very few exceptions, everyone was masked and maintaining a respectful distance from their fellow listeners, and once the music started, it became everyone’s focus. I looked around at the group of people, from babies in strollers to elderly couples, and they were all transfixed by the performance taking place all around them. The few people who talked did so in whispers so low there was no interference in my enjoyment of the music. It was a lovely experience. Magical.