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My Ode to Joy

August 26, 2012

It’s the final concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra season at Tanglewood, the dramatic opening notes to Beethoven’s 9th symphony flood the lawn. Its one of those ideal days at Tanglewood. The sky is such a perfectly clear, soft blue, punctuated with fluffy white clouds that it’s almost like sitting inside a Tiffany box. There is a light breeze and, while the lawn is crowded everyone is happily sharing the grounds. Sleeping on the blankets or sharing champagne and cheese with friends. There are also thousands of seated audience members inside the shed, but one of my favorite traditions over the seven summers I’ve spent on staff of the Boston Symphony is to spend this particular Sunday afternoon on the lawn. Soaking in the sun and reflecting on the summer that’s gone by.

Today though, it’s so blissfully serene that all I can think is –What  the fuck have I done?

This is my final BSO concert as an employee of the orchestra. I will work a few more days and one more concert with the Boston Pops, but today feels symbolic. I know I’ve made the right decision. With profits from selling the house I inherited I paid off all my debt and have a bit of money in the bank to support myself for a while. My job is constantly thrilling, but also demanding. I am single and, assuming I live have a normal lifespan, I’m at its exact middle point. So it seemed like a time to blow it all up.

In less than three weeks, I leave for Nepal. I will see the sight that’s fascinated my entire life – Mount Everest. I will not be climbing it, of course, but even looking at it from below seemed completely out of reach. It still does. I periodically have to look at my credit card statement to see that since I’ve paid for the trip, I must actually be taking it.

I don’t know what the future holds. I’m pretty certain its more beautiful afternoons on the Tanglewood lawn. I really hope so, ever though I’ll be just as a regular ticket holder, not an insider. But beyond that I have no idea. I know what I want to do first is connect with the outdoors for a while. I’m a city girl at heart and I love the pace and energy of the Big Apple, where I shall hang my hat when this trip is over, but nothing gives perspective like being outside in nature.

The Tanglewood Festival Chorus is singing the exhilarating chorus and I am filled with optimism about what comes next.  I’m going to be singing this as I trek my way through the mountains (actually – I’ll probably be huffing, puffing, and swearing under my breath, but I like to think I’ll be singing….)  All creatures drink of joy At natures breast. Just and unjust Alike taste of her gift; She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine, A tried friend to the end.

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