Solstice Letter for December 2016

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Dear Family and Friends,

It is still November, but feels more like December. Outside my den window snow is still falling, with no signs of a break. I cannot believe the year has flown so rapidly. I feel as if I've been racing to catch up with many of the projects which I'm trying to complete.

As usual, there have been several highs, as well as several low points. There have been 'peak experiences', as well as frustrations and disappointments. One of the biggest , most wonderful events in my life, has been the birth of my granddaughter. She was born August 7th. Elodie has been forging ahead, growing rapidly, and developing wonderfully.

Another great event was the performance of four of my compositions in March in our home, by two up and coming musicians, (piano) and one of the Harmelodic Club's strong sopranos. The pianists premiered three of my paraphrases for piano, and Tracy Whalen premiered one of my songs: "Song For Moire", while I accompanied.

One of the unique features of my paraphrases are that the poems, from which I composed each of them, must be read aloud before the music is performed. The form or structure of the music, is governed by the form of the poems. It was thrilling to hear how accurate the performers 'intuited' what I was thinking and feeling about each line of the poems.

Another experience for which I am very thankful, has been a colleague who volunteered to transcribe my works into digital form. Because of my low ability with anything technical, I have found it impossible to learn any digital notation program. Publishers will now accept only works sent to them in digital form. I am forever grateful to this fellow, for his time and attention to my work. I am now looking for an agent to help me find publishers so that many more people will hear what I have composed. The Harmelodic Club of which I am a member, celebrated its 80thAnniversay in October. It was a very lovely meeting, but I was rather anxious before I and our archivist presented it via Power Point. We had never worked with Power Point before. Someone whom Olive-Jane knew very well volunteered to teach us, and help us with so much of the set up . I am forever grateful for this person's help, and Olive-Jane's ( our archivist) hundreds of hours selecting what to present. It is a wonderful club, and I am honored to be our President once again.

I have been a columnist for the Riverview Park Review for almost a year now. This is my third online & print media vehicle. It is our community newspaper, which is published five times per year. I cover all the arts in this neighbourhood. It is a very artistic place to live. I have interviewed several artists: theatre director, actor/screenwriter, painter. Next week I will interview a short story writer. I enjoy being a journalist. I meet exciting people, become much more knowledgeable about what makes them express themselves artistically, and helps them to become better known in our area. It is one of the ways I can create a community from a neighbourhood.

I know that my Solstice letters seem to be mostly about me. I often read blogs on Facebook and other newsletters by those who seem to speak about the lives and thoughts of many of their relatives and acquaintances. When I was much younger, I often did that myself, but learned through tough 'feedback', that I had no right to speak of them or for them. Although there are many events and experiences I have enjoyed (mostly), with friends and family, these past years, I don't think newsletters should become like 'minutes' of an association or group. I really enjoy reading newsletters by those of you who share your feelings about what you have experienced, witnessed, sensed ( in all 'senses' of that word), so that I can become more cognizant of your inner spirit, so that each of us might become a little closer. That, for me, makes each hour and each day more meaningful for me. As I become much older, (much more quickly than I would like), your sharing of your selves, is that unique gift which continually blesses my life. Peter and family members have been very supportive of my musical endeavours. Living a creative life is meaningful for me, but it can be very lonely . Without emotional support of family and friends, it can also become very discouraging. Although I do not see relatives and friends often, when we are able to be together by phone, or in person, or even by e-mail, it is a very significant and supportive interaction. I have been a columnist for the Riverview Park Review for almost a year now. I cover all those connected, performing or creating in any of the arts in Riverview Park, and sometimes in neighbouring communities. I enjoy interviewing . It helps us to know one another better. It helps build stronger communities.

As I have become more of a 'senior' in years, I have become physically slower. (I'm on the waiting list for 'new knees'). I do not know whether it is age or something else, but I realize that I am discovering new aspects of loved ones I never sensed before. It is ironic that with my increasing inability to hear well, I sense people differently. When I am with myself and/or with others, I feel as if I'm a spelunker, exploring complex tunnels within their minds at the same time as I'm re-treading and/or re-discovering my own. The same experience applies when I'm teaching . On most occasions, I can see, or smell or taste what you are expressing, and sense my own reactions simultaneously. I believe our psyches become an interlocked, but ever flexible system of complex interwoven underground caves. Although our cave openings are small, with just enough 'fire' to give us warmth and light, the darkness beyond becomes much less upon the interaction with others and the intense interplay with nature.

This past year has brought real threats to my perspective of the world, due to the behaviours and actions of those who are extremely narcissistic, selfish, paranoid and dictatorial. Whether they are in politics, business, science, or any other field, having them in authoritative roles threatens the future of our environments, family and community life. Their 'caves' are shut down systems. They are afraid of receiving light , so fervently attempt to convince the rest of us to shut ourselves down to those whom we have not yet met, or perceive only on the fringe of our awareness. One constructive feature they have continued to teach me, is that I must continually discover and appreciate my own shadows. Age has made my eyes see 'gray floaters'. I had one cataract removed in 2015. I will now have another removed in 2017 at some point. I have noticed the 'shadows' or floaters in each one of you, along with my own. I appreciate why we each and all have them; however, shadows threaten the light I have within me;therefore I must resuscitate my own courage to conquer my own patches of darkness.

I propose that we might each try to encourage that power within us to find honest open non-manipulative ways to overcome the darkness which threatens us in this world, with the flame of trust, love and inspiration. Although we are challenged severely by winds of change, landslides of political corruption, lightning strikes of prejudice, typhoons of paranoia, volcanoes of anger, and earthquakes of separation and division, we can and will be able to inspire and educate those who have sought false protection in the dark mistrust, destruction of wars, the futility of arguing, to create mediation and interaction. I sincerely wish each and all of you a positive meaningful, and a happy New Year ahead. I hope this Winter Solstice gives your senses new depth and breadth.

I hope we can continue to make one another laugh, listen and love.

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