Happy New Year!
The past ten months have presented many challenges for most of us. I’m fortunate in that I’m able to connect with my loved ones electronically, and it’s enough for me. Although my routine has changed sharply and I no longer have several places to go each day, I have plenty to do within the walls of my home, so I’m never bored. Still, there are things I miss about my “old” life, so I posed this question to my fellow bloggers: Once it’s safe to do so, what’s the first thing you want to do that you haven’t been able to do in the last 10-12 months?
I miss getting together with my friends for my various hobbies. Prior to mid-March, I met once or twice a month with two different groups to work on scrapbooks, twice a month I joined a luncheon meeting with writers, and every week I’d meet with sewing groups. I also went to card-making workshops an average of once each week. All those meetings came to a screeching halt this past spring. For a few months I didn’t have a chance to miss them, because my time was taken up learning to teach remotely, using the platforms the university provided. After the semester ended, I kept busy with sewing masks and hospital gowns, so I still didn’t entirely miss the hectic schedule I once kept. I still miss the people I gathered with, but I’m able to do them all at home.
Both of my writing groups immediately switched to meeting online using Zoom. Even after restaurants reopened in Michigan (they’re now closed up again), we continued to meet online, since our groups are larger than the numbers allowed in one room. As for my other groups, they started meeting again, but I choose to remain at home. Sometimes I check in with a video chat, but mostly I work on those hobbies at my kitchen table. I’m afraid it’s going to be quite some time before I’ll feel safe joining a group of women in a crowded basement.
There is one thing, however, that I haven’t done from home, and it’s a bit sad. As a musician, I enjoy making music as well as listening to it. Pre-Covid, I spent three evenings a week in rehearsal. Those rehearsals ended abruptly in the middle of March. My Tuesday night group had completed the season, having done our spring concert the Saturday before the shutdown. The other two groups had to cancel the remainder of the concert schedule.
During the spring and summer, I kept so busy with things I never seemed to have time for with my normal hectic schedule (organizing, sewing, etc) that I didn’t think about taking out my oboe and practicing. Normally, my Monday night group plays year round, but since that couldn’t happen, I didn’t “stay in shape” – meaning, I didn’t practice, and my “chops” have gone by the wayside. When fall came, I took out my horn a few times, but only for a few minutes. My Wednesday night orchestra decided that only string players would participate, since they can play while wearing a mask. Studies like this one in Science Magazine have shown that playing wind instruments presents a major risk of Covid transmission. Since my seat is directly in front of several brass players who would be blowing their air directly toward me, I agreed with that decision. My Tuesday night group decided to do a virtual concert, where we each recorded ourselves playing our parts and then uploaded our videos into a folder (I still haven’t seen the finished product). My Monday night group meets in a junior high school, and schools are not open to outside groups. So other than recording my part for the Tuesday group’s video, I haven’t been playing, and I miss it more each day.
We’ve been encouraged to do things like outdoor concerts (not so feasible in Michigan’s winter weather) or create our own split screen videos. I like the second idea, and a violinist/author and I have been looking over some duet music to try and put something together. But there’s nothing like being part of a full orchestra or band. As an oboist, I normally sit directly in front of the conductor, so the combined sound of all the instruments is powerful. One of my 2021 goals is to get my chops back into shape so that when it’s safe, I’ll be “On the road again… makin’ music with my friends.”