SPRING TONIC. Grandmothers told me about their mothers and grandmothers and the concocting of tonics to be taken in spring. I thought such practices were now just lore. But during my session in Reiki last week, the practitioner advised a tonic of equal parts honey and apple cider vinegar and a few drops of lemon juice. The beverage should stimulate the liver and pancreas and give in general more energy to the system. I tried it. It’s delicious. Cheers!
MUSINGS ABOUT MUSIC. I want to learn some piano pieces for the summer. I looked through printed music that I own. Will I learn a nocturne by Chopin or the estimable French nocturne by Debussy? Will I take on a selection of short pieces by Grieg, MacDowell, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Prokofiev? Will I learn a sonata by Beethoven or “Variations Serieuses” by Mendelssohn? Will I learn a set of pieces, perhaps “Four Piano Blues” by Copland, or “Rural Elegy” by Smit or “Minitures” by Turina. Or a dance suite: a French suite by Bach, or “Suite Francaise” by Poulenc, or “Espana” by Albeniz?
I decided to start with “Easy Going Pieces” by Lionel Salter (1996). In his genial introduction, Salter describes the twenty short pieces as “easy pieces. . . that call for ‘go,’ that is rhythmic vitality….They offer fairly equal opportunities to both hands and to develop their co-ordination.” He adds that “…it is the spirit and atmosphere of each piece that should be uppermost in young pianists’ minds, and I very much hope they will enjoy playing them.”
I am enjoying them, especially “Frogs,” “A Dark Secret,” “Waltz,” “With a Yo-Heave-Ho,” “Off to Sea,” “Square Dance” (in 2/2) and “Unsquare Dance” (in 5/8), and “The Ogre.” The music is lyrical, dynamic, and often beautiful.
SPRING. Flowers have brought joy. In full bloom now are irises in my north border: yellow and white. The white ones I call the grandmothers’ irises, originally bought by my paternal grandmother and preserved by my maternal grandmother, and presented to me as a gift by a cousin; at the dooryard are purple and yellow irises. Under the study window there bloom a bright red azalea, nearly finished blooming, and a pink azalea, still in full bloom. At the dooryard the rue is beginning to bloom, and in the border in front of the front porch, new growths of lavender are beginning to bloom. The air of the town is often fragrant. It was a joy to wash pollen off the porch and rocker and Red Car, both inside and out. Weather has been warm to hot, but humidity is not great, and I am comfortable inside with ceiling fans and no air conditioning. For yard work, the hours before ten in the morning and after seven at night are always in order.
ABOUT US HIGHWAY 70. A friend from Statesville, Red Car, and I drove HWY 70 from Statesville to Asheville last week. It’s two lanes most of the way and it travels through interesting small towns, pastureland, forests. There are beautiful vistas to view the mountains. When I returned and reflected upon the drive, I wrote to a friend that I enjoyed the leisurely pace, the lack of heavy traffic, the beautiful scenery, and that I wondered if in the future I would choose to go two-lane highways and take more time to get there. From Statesville to home, I drove I-40 and was irritated by the heavy traffic, the number of trucks, the similar services and restaurants at every exit, the speed, and a frustrating pile-up of traffic because of a construction crew’s leaving for the afternoon, which caused the cars to creep at less than 20 mph for a half hour or so with heat from the pavement and smell of gasoline accumulating.
The Wikipedia, on-line source, tells me that before the interstate system US70 was called “The Broadway of America” and ran from Atlantic, NC, to near the Pacific Ocean in California. Now it stops at Globe, Arizona, in the east-central part of the state. It crosses the Mississippi River, the Red, River, and the Tennessee River; it runs through an Apache Indian Reservation and a Missile Range in New Mexico, and goes through 7 states: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. It frequently overlaps with other highways throughout the journey.
In North Carolina it goes through the town in which I now live, the town where I first began teaching, and the town where I grew up. I have no plans to drive through the seven states, but I hope to continue my driving, with friends and with Red Car, through this state.
Thank you for reading. I hope you are enjoying spring. The Full Moon tonight, the Flower Moon, should be impressive.