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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Luskin: Musical Interlude

Saturday started out typically enough, with more to do than could possibly be accomplished in a weekend, let alone in just one day. In addition to the usual fall chores, we had a few left over from summer, and we’d been on vacation, so not only had the household chores piled up, but we’d also just spent the work week digging out our desks.

Nevertheless, I slept in till six, when I loaded the dehydrator with sliced pears and poached others in wine, already thinking ahead to the end of a busy day. I ignored the peaches. We’ve been overwhelmed by peaches this year; since August, we’ve been eating them off the tree, in cobbler, in pie, in salsa, in chutney. We’d canned some and frozen others. I didn’t have time for peaches this day. I considered starting in on the tomatoes, but opted for paying bills instead.

At nine, we attended a new yoga class at the old schoolhouse in South Newfane. It seemed like a good way to recapture some of the zen of our vacation, when we had biked the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail trail in western Pennsylvania. After the class, we helped a neighbor set up chairs for a free chamber music concert slated to take place in the school house that afternoon, which we hoped to attend. In the way of all busy Saturdays, we also knew it was unlikely we’d be able to shake free from our chores.

By the time we returned home, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. What I really wanted to do was go for a hike. But I started to power wash the house, instead. This is one of those jobs I’d been thinking about doing since early spring, when I noticed mold staining the clapboards, so I actually derived a great deal of pleasure finally blasting those clapboards clean.

I was just finishing up, and considering whether to move on to weeding the vegetable patch or a flowerbed when Tim said, “If we leave now, we can just make it to the concert.”

“I’ve got to shower first,” I said.

“No you don’t,” he said. “There isn’t time.”

He looked at me. “You might want to put on something dry, though.”

I did.

We joined about forty neighbors in the old one-room school, where four faculty members from the Brattleboro Music School were preparing to read through a couple of quartets for fun. They warned us that the concert was unrehearsed and they might stop in unexpected places. They said they loved reading music this way, but their busy professional lives rarely allowed it. When they did, though, they always followed the music with refreshments. And they invited us to join them.

They played an early Mozart quartet (K. 157), and a later Haydn (Opus 20, Number 2). As I listened, I knew in my bones, that no chore was as important as being present – right there, right then.

Deborah Lee Luskin is a writer, speaker and educator.
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