Siege Diaries 5/29/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What work nourishes my mind?

There’s a lot to be said for interior work, deep thinking, and figuring out how to apply it in daily life. But the thing that’s been motivating me lately is interaction with others, which is super hard during the pandemic. I miss the bouncing of ideas off of each other, the sharing of projects, the chatting while working on things. I’ve been getting a little of that from my Discord servers, which often run wildly off topic (today in one, the topic was various radioactive elements and the periodic table, which is definitely not what the server is about). I miss my goofy friends. And yes, we can get some of this online, and that’ll need to do for awhile longer, but what often nourishes and challenges my mind the most is other minds.

No, I’m not going to hug you. But I want to sit around for hours and just catch up, maybe do a group project, enjoy a little intellectual cross-pollination, or just to get silly.

Yesterday, I watched a status update on the construction of the new high school to replace the one I attended. The day before, I’d seen another set of photographs of the old school, and it triggered thoughts of my various teachers. I know some of my favourites are no longer with us, but specifically photos from the music rooms reminded me of the two orchestra directors I had in high school. John Blevins, who I had only for my sophomore year, went on to continue as band director until 1999, and although retired now, is still around. But what about the second one, Tim Muffit, who left a year or two after I graduated, headed off to the Eastman School of Music for graduate studies? He was responsible in many ways for pushing the orchestra to a new level with challenging repertoire (I rave all the time about the opportunity I had to play Beethoven and Haydn symphonies, for instance). He was also young (although I had no idea how young). So I was curious what had happened after he left.

It turned out to be fairly easy. Timothy Muffit, after completing his studies in conducting, has gone on to a solid career as a conductor, mostly for regional orchestras, but he’s worked with some pretty spectacular names and orchestras over the course of his career. He’s also heavily involved with the training program at Chatauqua (where I saw a concert in 2019); in fact, in their season (just announced), he’s leading a concert that includes one of the works we played in high school, Britten’s Simple Symphony. He’s still recognizable from the young conductor I remember, although he now has a shock of startlingly grey hair. He’s 60 years old–which means he was only six years older than me when he taught at my high school. Of course, that was an enormous gulf back then–but it seems so much less so now.

Knowing his career turned out so well definitely makes me happy.

Spent a good chunk of the day working on the Pallas’ cat, which is still surprising me with how slow it’s going. The face, however, is pretty much done. There was also a short walk, including a run to Shoppers’ for bannanas and raspberries, and a lot of research on getting rocks delivered. I may take a short run over to Home Depot tomorrow just to confirm some things in person (the garden centre is open).

I didn’t really update yesterday on the latest numbers, probably because I’m going through another of those bouts of being completely exhausted by all this. Even though I’m a great preacher of patience, I am once again becoming frustrated with being behind on things, even though in real terms we’re doing really, really well and actually ahead of things. It’s watching my US friends starting to have lives again that involve seeing friends, travel, and concerts that make me jealous once again. We were down to 1057 cases today, with a positivity rate around 3.7%. Again, great progress, but in real terms, we’re still looking at fall for us to be where I honestly think we’ll see concerts again, other than maybe the odd drive-in or outdoor thing. And I know the beginning of September is just three months…but still. If things move as expected, I should be getting my second dose around July 19.