Summer Oasis

I can’t believe that I’ve just sent out the first of my fall lesson scheduling emails. Where did August go?

On the one hand, I am thrilled that this summer is coming to an end. Summers are traditionally bad seasons for freelancers and I haven’t had any real weeks of work since returning from the UP in mid-July. The reed business is always slow at this time of year, and although my students always SAY they want to take lessons over the summer, I wound up teaching only a select few. I think the oboe lesson habit drops off during the weeks that I travel, and then it’s a hard sell getting people to start back up.

And no work means precious little money. We predict this every year, and plan for it, but expecting it doesn’t make it feel any easier. I miss seeing my colleagues regularly and having the regular outlet of orchestra rehearsals and concerts. I miss knowing that somewhere out there, someone owes me money and it will arrive any day.

But although that niggling anxious broke feeling is not new, this summer does feel different. Blissful. Having infinite time with Zoe and Steve is such a miraculous experience. I can get my practicing done while Steve takes a turn with her, and do the fairly minimal work that my summer reed business requires and still go out to the farmers market with Zoe to buy fresh produce and show her off. I can go to the playground every day and watch her turn into a big girl right before my eyes – she can climb up the jungle gym now, and slide through the bars and hang before dropping safely to the ground, giggling like crazy. We can play on the sidewalk with bubbles and a Big Wheel for hours every evening. We can amble around the block and pick up sticks and pretend they’re mice and squeak at each other. And after she goes to bed I can play cards on the porch with my husband, whom I love, and drink wine and listen to music, and stay up later than 11, because what does it matter? Tomorrow will be just the same!

I know it’s about to end. I look forward to being a busy professional musician again. I like teaching, and I expect a huge studio this fall once things get going. There are some great concerts coming up this fall, and I am ready for them, but… what an amazing oasis this summer has been! Having this kind of time to spend with my family, without feeling guilty about the oboe or practicing has been so special. I’m kind of already dreaming about next summer!

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