Last week, I started complaining about the muddy, colorless winter weather. Today, I’m delighted every time I glance outside. The garden is etched in black and white, transformed into an Escher lithograph. Balls of ice-encrusted bee balm sway on brittle stalks. Privet bushes hunker down, nearly smothered by the heavy, wet snow. Cardinals flit, electric red. I declare this the loveliest winter weather ever, especially if you like shape and form and contrast.
This Sunday morning, all across America, hundreds of thousands of professional musicians rolled out of bed, got dressed, and headed for church. I was one of them. I’ve played the organ and directed the choir in an Episcopal church for five years.
Christmas Eve will be my last service.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and tell you a bit about my experience as a professional musician in a small town.
First of all, I never quite shook the sensation that I was playing a part in a Thornton Wilder play. Once, while I was practicing for a funeral, a woman I knew from high school walked in, her arms full of flowers.