Tuesday, September 24, 2013


     Last Friday we saw the Joffrey Ballet's program "Russian Masters" which included (of course) Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring).

     I heard that piece for the first time in college, at a 20th century music class, sometime in the late 1970s.  Along with Prokofiev, Bartok, Ives, Debussy, and others we studied the Stravinsky work. I fell in love with the music and have always enjoyed listening to it at the CSO.  That class taught me a lot about an era in classical music I knew very little about, having grown up with the 19th century Russian masters.  

     I remember the exams were very difficult.  The professor would play a minute or two from one piece, anywhere in the piece, and we had to give the title, the composer, the year.  I spent hours listening to the music at home, trying to memorize every note, every beat.  It was excruciatingly challenging.  I don't remember my grade but I enjoyed the class tremendously.

     Thirty some years ago my aunt gave me a book about Nijinsky   She liked to tell me about Diaghilev, Nijinsky  and the Ballet Russes.  She would whisper the fact that Diaghilev was in love with Nijinsky.  I added all that to my knowledge store about The Rite of Spring. All the intrigue, love and hate, all the back story: what fun!

     I hadn't seen the ballet performed before last Friday.  What a treat!  I loved it!  I had only seen photos and drawings of the famous costumes but on the stage they looked alive. The choreography that caused a riot at the premiere in Paris left me energized.  I walked out onto Wabash Avenue stomping my feet like the dancers.  We should go see dance more often, I told David.  Yes, we should.

Friday, September 13, 2013


A year ago today I 
lost my best friend.  Sonia 
was (is) my "sister by choice".  It seems 
impossible that a year has gone by 
One year, 365 days without 
her voice on the phone every day 
(or every other day), twelve months without 
going shopping at TJMaxx or 
Marshall's.  It has been a year of 
not meeting her at Panera Bread for lunch 
and long conversations about her latest 
kitchen counter dilemma or my newest 
stressful chat with mother.

This afternoon I will go visit her.  The day 
is sunny and windy.  I will step on the grass, gaze 
at the flowers surrounding the pink stone, 
and remember.

I will ask the eternal questions: 
what is life?  
what is death?  
where do we come from?  
why are we here?  
where are we going?  

I will have no clear answers.