Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring in Troy is an April Fool's Trick

Look out the window!  The wind blows--the  tops of the trees bow to the east. Then the rain comes down in sheets, followed by hail. The driveway in front of the house is white for just five minutes. And then the sun shines through the clouds! Yes, it's still April, so, it is to be expected!

But the Palouse is beautiful in the spring--the winter wheat greens the hills and newly plowed fields darken. Even under cloudy skies, the landscape is beautiful.

Fortunately, last Friday morning brought lovely, true spring weather, with blue skies and soft breezes. I was honored to speak at the funeral of Charlie Argersinger, composer, jazz pianist and husband of my good friend Jana. And in honor of his music, the funeral echoed the New Orleans-style funerals, with a jazz band leading the casket through the lane at Moscow Cemetary to its final resting place. Buds on the bare branches of the trees, green grass--a lovely setting for such an affair--sad, but at the same time, uplifting.

I hadn't seen Jana and Charlie's son, Forest, for many years. I worked with Jana when I was a grad student at WSU, fortunate enough to get a year's assignment on the literary journal ESQ. Jana would bring Forest to work with her. I was determined that he would learn to say my name first! "Judy, judy, judy," I would say to him as he laughed at me.

I get nostalgic thinking of those days when I never would have imagined myself living with a herd of alpacas! Hawthorne, Poe, Melville and the Chicago Manual of Style! Searching through the old books for non-copyrighted illustrations; debating usage--such enjoyment. The days before I learned the words finite-difference-time-domain, Schroedinger and Fourier transform!!

I learned one of the best lessons in life while working with Jana on ESQ. I had searched for many hours before I found the perfect illustration for an article on Moby Dick. The old book sat in our office, a Post-it holding the place, until it was time to send the journal for printing. As I removed the Post-it, the page tore! Just about an inch, but there was no way to hide the tear. I was devastated. The picture was perfect for the article, but now, ruined! And it was my fault. It seemed like a DISASTER to me. But Jana asked, "What difference will this make in a year?" And of course, the answer was, "None."

So many "things" in our life that seem to matter so very much at the time make no difference in a year, a month, a week. It's hard to let go, to sit back and relax. But I often think of that day when I do something that I regret. Life goes on. A simple lesson.

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