Spring Breaks Forth!

It's Spring Break! As I try and write about this past Winter Quarter at UCSB, I find it particularly difficult to do so in a way that gives justice both to the difficulty and the victory. Perhaps it is now too fresh to look back with impartiality, and that is why I will simply pick and choose a few highlights that in no way sum up my experience, but simply give some description of the landscape through which my family and I have been moving these past three months.
Ju Jie
I taught "Enjoyment of Music" again; I think I'm getting better! Scott Drikse, the instructor of the class, apparently loves public birthday surprises and contrived to have 450 students sing "Happy Birthday" to me in front of a 30-foot Powerpoint slide displaying my likeness with photoshopped party hats. I wrote my first seminar paper for a class on eighteenth-century tragic opera with Stefanie Tcharos. It's called Supernatural music in Rameau and Terrasson, a somewhat stilted title, seeing as I was intentionally attempting to avoid the current academic debate around the use of the colon. (We academics truly get fired up about things that matter.) I'm pretty proud of it and, even better, Stefanie is all about using it as a platform to hone our writing skills beyond the requirements of the course, so: win win! I had a great time at the latest AMS meeting in Long Beach, mainly because of the heated opinions concerning the nature of those meetings, institutions, and musicology it engenders on the drive back home with my colleagues.

There is more, I know. But the gentle spring breeze idly tousling the leafy tree branches outside seem to warrant more gentle thoughts. There is a stillness today, a calm that invites nothing more profound than simple rest. I think I'll act on that, with George MacDonald's Diary of an Old Soul:

March 23

Lord, pity us: we have no making power;
Then give us making will, adopting thine.
Make, make, and make us; temper, and refine.
Be in us patience--neither to start nor cower.
Christ, if thou be not with us--not by sign,
But presence, actual as the wounds that bleed--
We shall not bear it, but shall die indeed.

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