I feel as if I’ve posted this everywhere, but I’m going to put it here as well. Julianne was awesome! Appreciate her work, her manner, her mind, her writing, her gentle listening . . . so much. All our institute faculty leaders meet with us for three days, followed by a field trip, and then the week-end, when we are to visit the area and work on our projects, due at the end of the month. I’ll miss Julianne, even though Simon Ortiz, our leader this week, will I’m sure also be wonderful.
I put this same post on the GWS Travel Blog, but I promise not to duplicate myself in the future….I’m catching up. Anyway, I recommend anyone to go here to read her paper “Music Beyond the Senses” (link below). She presented it on Tuesday of the first week. It was a fine, fine talk about hope and the environment, with bird songs–the hermit thrush, starling, albatross, and then after she finished her talk, a chorus of the three, along with other birds, endangered and some extinct. I didn’t share this during the time when others were expressing their reactions, but I did tell Julianne afterwards. My mother, who loved nature almost as much as she loved music, was a devotee of birdsong. Her favorite may have been the thrush–almost from the start of Julianne’s talk, I felt my mother coming closer and closer, and finally she seemed to sit down beside me and to listen with me.
I thought I would tell Julianne this in a matter-of-fact way, as in, “Thanks, your talk let my mother in, and she thanks you, too.” But I was overcome with tears. Instead I said something about how we daughters become our mothers. It’s sometimes a bit of a shock when we, who thought ourselves such distinct beings, say things or react in ways that tell us how much a person’s voice, her gestures–the way she positively lit up when a thrush’s song interrupted a mundane moment and made it magnificent–are now internalized, through memory, and have altered who we are.
My mother would have been weeping through that talk. I didn’t know when I sat down in front of that Audubon painting what invocations were about to happen, what spirits might be within earshot–whether my mother was biding her time, seeking her entry–or whether I was the one longing–or whether the “Music beyond the senses” was pulling all of us to a place where something extraordinary might to happen.
After I got back to my room I was looking around for the phrase, “If rain is the Earth’s tears, then the Earth is inconsolable.” Julianne Warren’s talk: