“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.” William Blake
Today is the seventh anniversary of my Mom’s death so I ask a little indulgence. Never fear, I promise my musings will have something to do with the subject of today’s blog!
I’ve mentioned before my Mom was a coloratura soprano and how she practiced her “Queen of the Night” runs until her late 60s/early70s. But I never knew about Mom’s morning routine until close to the end of her life. Mom was still able to walk three weeks before her death and made her famous potato salad for our family’s 4th of July picnic. Dad and my brother got the grill ready. You could tell she was exhausted and sank down on the family room couch after getting out her fancy patriotic napkins. She wanted to tell my spouse, a physician, something she felt was important.
Mom told Chuck she could no longer do her breathing exercises. She explained every morning, before she got out of bed, she would do the breathing exercises her first voice teacher insisted she do every morning. She told us she had been doing them every single morning since she was fifteen years old; she was 86 at the time. She realized she could no longer do them a few weeks before July 4th and was FRUSTRATED. I should mention her colon cancer had metastasized to her lungs and my husband explained, as gently as he could, that was probably why. She asked if she should still try to do them because they comforted her; Chuck told her to do them as long as she could.
My morning routine has comforted me during this difficult year and has been the same for decades. The radio alarm clock goes off about 20 minutes before I actually need to get up. I gradually come to as I listen to the weather report and news headlines. I get out of bed, put on my slippers, head down to the kitchen, and turn on the prepared coffee pot. I make my son with autism’s breakfast and by that time, the coffee is ready. I pour myself a cup, maybe get a piece of fruit or a bowl of cereal and sit down at the kitchen table, read the physical newspapers and, this is key, stare out the kitchen window for at least fifteen minutes.
While I stare, I am really thinking; about the day to come and what I need to do. If it’s a day I teach, I think about my students. If it’s a day I rehearse, I think about what I would like to accomplish. If it’s a writing day, I think about what I’d like to write for this blog and for my other writing projects. And sometimes, Dear ChoralNetters, I just stare and let my mind wander where it likes. My family knows enough to let me be for a bit, until I stand up and start moving again.
After a good stare, I haul out my laptop and check my email. I try to answer simple things if I can and respond to more complicated things later. I put the laptop away, then step into the living room. I do Alexander Technique breathing, some stretches and pliés, a short port de bras and then I am ready to get on with it. If my kids are around, they might join me for the breathing, the stretches, the pliés, the port de bras and often we pray together. The whole process takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the day and if I have a meetings or obligations or errands, but I NEED it.
The ONLY THING that remained the same for me during the whole Pandemic was my morning routine. In fact, there were days when it helped me get out of bed when I really didn’t want to. And, quite frankly, there were days when staring and reading the newspaper were the only productive things I did all day. They comforted and helped me get through the difficult times.
I hope there was something you did during These Times to get through them. Please share!
I will be re-running a few Choral Potpourri/Choral Ethics blogs from summers past during the month of August. I will be around, just busy!
Until next week, be well and safe!
I am taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future. Please join me there this morning! https://www.facebook.com/themidwestmotetsociety/