Photo: Michael Gold
... a few words about music.

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Our Season of Fest and Rest
November 30, 2022

Hello again, friends,

            The holiday season is off to a running start: bells ringing, incentives for giving, stores and online shops offering enticements to buy prezzies. (While you're at it, by all means check out my own Etsy shop, , which includes CDs, poetry, art, and a series of prerecorded SongBytes mini voice lessons. Or ask me about giving a loved one some live online lessons. End of festive small-biz commerce pitch. On to the deep thoughts.)

More people are coming together in person this year to share song and celebration than we’ve seen in the past 3 years. And…

This season in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s gettin’ COLD.  Depending on exactly where you live, it’s more or less snowy-icy too.  Animals know the creature-sensible way to respond to this. Here in Maine, for one thing the bears have stopped pillaging the bird feeders—they’ve gone off to their warm place to hibernate. Their breath, temperature, slip into low gear; they stop eating.

The urge among us humans to come together for warmth and celebration—and lots of food—in the coldest days and nights is a different kind of natural response. It goes back millennia, including Pagan and Roman traditions like Yule and Saturnalia, not just Christmas.  We celebrate what we have,  share lavishly, and finish up the leftovers in the larder. 

But there’s a countermovement that’s worth paying attention to, similar to the bears’, and to the plants taking their long winter’s nap beneath the surface. The stillness in Nature can encourage our human nature to read the signals and go inward, contemplate, refresh after all the Doing we’ve been doing for months, and just Be.  And prepare.  Suggestion: Pause for a moment right now and just follow your breath for 3 or 4 inhalations/exhalations. Don't jump to trying to fix anything you notice; just experience it, feel it.

A French expression I’ve always liked—“Reculer pour mieux sauter”—suggests drawing back temporarily in the face of an obstacle, or a decision we need to make, in order to jump forward with strength and a clear aim and direction. Allowing us to begin anew. 'Tis the season for that too.

            I hope you’re able to join with others during this special, powerful time! I hope you’ll have chances to sing with them as well as eat and share gifts and warmth. (Did you know that when we speak or sing, we’re physically transferring multiple kinds of energy to those we’re with? More on the science of that in a later blog.)

            I also hope—for myself too, as I ponder once again some of the Big Questions—that we can each in our own way use this season to take advantage of Nature’s prompting to go inward, heed the call of essence, and reculer, so we can mieux sauter in the New Year!

            Joyeux Noël,