Fig Leaves and the Things We Try to Hide

There is a fig tree in the back yard my new place.  I’ve never had a fig tree before.   Scratch that, I’ve never seen a fig tree before.  The tree has started to bear fruit; these lumpy green orbs hang from the branches, and the minute they start to darken toward what I assume must be ripeness the flies descend and feast.  Being the smart primate that I am, I picked a few before they went ripe and brought them in to ripen on the window ledge. When I pulled the first of the fruit from the tree, I was surprised to see milky white sap oozing from the top of the fruit.  I grew up in the country, and one learns in the country that you don’t eat things with milky white sap.  They might kill you.  Or make you into a hippie.  So I was puzzled (and a little alarmed) to find the same poison-threat coming from such an innocuous plant as a fig tree. Being the not-so-smart primate that I am, I decided to do an experiment.  I tasted the sap.  It tasted awful so I spit it out.  Don’t worry mom, I didn’t die.  But I realized after the fruit had ripened for a day in full sun that it tasted bitter and sour like a green apple, not like say, poison might taste.  The ripe fruit is sweet, firm, and full of those little crunchy seed things that I always used to wonder about when I at fig Newtons. Yesterday evening I had some friends over (Hurray Brevard connection!) and we made some pizzas. ...

Move In, Again

I finished at Brevard Music Center last week and now I feel weird and homesick.  I finished my final obligation on Sunday afternoon after crashing on my friend Jamie’s couch.  It was really good to hang with him and his family.   I got back to my new apartment in Greensboro at about 9 PM. I had signed the lease the previous Tuesday, and my storage container was delivered on Friday.  I unpacked my bedroom items, including my bed and MY CLOTHES.  Hurray for options.  I survived all summer on what I could fit in a suitcase (plus two tubas and a bike), so I was shocked at how many articles of clothing I had to unpack.  I made my bed and nested a little, and then went back to Brevard for the weekend.  That means I had made up my long-missed bed, only to NOT sleep in it. Till Sunday, anyway. Classes started at NCCU on Monday morning.  I didn’t start teaching until this morning, Tuesday, so I had a day to unpack more and find my brain.  I got a lot of work done, I practiced, I ate some good food.  But still, things were jumbled to say the least.   And then I logged into the University class system, and saw that no one was enrolled in my class.  So the syllabus, book, notes, and preparation time may have been for nothing.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I’m starting my last year of my doctorate next week.  Or at least what I HOPE is the last year of my doctorate.  I feel a little nostalgic...

So Speaks the Night

It’s dark out, and the air is thick with dew and smells and the hum of insects.  The music students left Brevard Music Center today, and the silence is shocking.  I know that the other deans are asleep somewhere on camp, resting for their journeys tomorrow.  I know there are a scattering of violinists and production interns hunkered down in empty cabins.  I know a city sleeps less than a mile from here.  But in this moment I am alone for the first time in two months. Today I walked campus as a dean for the last time of the season, and closed down cabins one by one.  At the dawn it was an excitement, pulling the door shut on another empty bunk house.  By 3 pm it had started to dawn on me that I was saying goodbye not just to friends and colleagues, but to my very environment.  My air was escaping, one bunk at a time.  And all I got was a pocket full of keys and a few hugs. I leave tomorrow for my new home in Greensboro.  So close to my old home in Greensboro.  In many ways, better than my old home in Greensboro.  But tomorrow doesn’t seem real yet.  I’m still holding my breath, waiting for the air to come rushing back into the room. I don’t suppose it will though.  Just like I the sun never backs up to have another go at dusk.  The sun has set on another summer program, and the dawn rises on another school year.  I like the rhythm, but there is always something bittersweet about...

Round Trip

I drove over to Winston-Salem today for an interview.  It’s about 3 hours from Brevard, so it was a long time in a car.  Thank goodness, if I get the job it’s only 30 minutes and I won’t have to be there everyday.  Moreover, if I get the job, I’ll be paid for my time.  That’s a novel concept. I got back on camp just in time to run around solving problems for a while.  And now I’m tired.  And I get to babysit French Quarter till 2 am.  But it’s a good tired.  But no matter how good the tired is, it’s going to be a long night.  That’s...

Dress the Part

The last week of Brevard Music Center’s 2010 season is upon us, and woe betide the man (me) who isn’t ready for it. I imagine there are going to be some big end-of-summer parties, some crying as people go home to their respective mothers, and some complications as some glassy-eyed college student mumbles something about not buying a plane ticket to go home until August 43rd.  Any way about it, my heart as well as my address is moving back to Greensboro.  I’m really looking forward to having My bed, MY kitchen, and of course ROUTINE. This summer has been a lot of fun, and a lot of work.  I can’t say that this job is hard for me, but it is hard ON me.  I like routine, wake up at 6:30 or 7:00, make my bed, run a few miles, shower, practice, etc.  Being up till 3:30 one night, randomly, then 2 days later getting another late night phone call, and then a few days later being out till 2:00, all in the line of duty…  that makes it hard to keep to a sleep/eat/live routine.  I’m not going to complain too much, but I’m looking forward to being back on my own terms. Speaking of which, I have a job interview tomorrow afternoon for an arts organization in Winston-Salem.  It’s part time, and not a lot of money, but it’s enough to make me drop some of my other part time jobs.  Specifically, the title “general manager” makes it worth my time.  And really, I have a lot to learn, even from a small arts organization.  In...