Saturday, October 09, 2010

days like no other

Oh fickle blog poster! The sun comes out and my computer time goes down.

But truthfully, I was indoors again today, all day long.

Except for a brief hour-long walk with a daughter...



Or at least we intended it to be one hour. We got lost. More than thirty years living in Madison, with perhaps a hundred Arboratum visits under my belt and today, for the first time, I get lost in the woods.


We emerge eventually at the opposite end of the park. It is clear as anything that I will now be late for a meeting that I have scheduled for 4. I call Ed to help. Ed zips over on his motorbike and helps stall the people waiting for me. Thank you Ed.

In the evening, my daughter and I meet up for dinner on the Square. For pub burgers at Graze.


It is a gorgeous night – and the people were singing, they went nah nah nah nah nah...

Fine -- in truth they aren’t singing, not at this point anyway. It is the Homecoming Eve and after dinner, we follow the tail end of a parade down State Street. The night is hot and the parade is ending with fire jugglers and the streets are packed. 


The Homecoming celebrations culminate with fireworks at the Union Terrace. My daughter and I are there, on the dock, waiting for a concert inside the Union and even though we have back row seats for the concert, we have front row seats for this interlude of fire in the sky over Lake Mendota.


What concert are we attending, you ask?

It is of music that I first listened to more than forty years ago. Indeed, the artist – Joan Baez, then traveled to my home country and performed live (in Poland) at the Sopot Music Festival (this was in 1970). It was only the second time that a western pop artist of any note would come to perform before a live commie Polish audience (the Rolling Stones were the first to do this, three years earlier, in 1967).


In those years, I too liked to strum the guitar and since I sang mostly American folk songs, I usually had an attentive and generous (albeit tiny, composed mostly of friends) audience.

The summer after my high school graduation (we are now in 1969), I attended a young adult camp with my boyfriend. He was Catholic and I was not and I think he and his family hoped that I would convert.

His mother was at the camp as well and one evening she said, wistfully almost – give the guitar to Nina, she has the voice of Joan Baez.

She was an incredibly sweet woman, always looking for the good, even if it was a futile endeavor. I understood that day that she probably liked me more than my boyfriend did. I sang my usual JB favorites with that bittersweet knowledge and I tried not to mind that my boyfriend was not really listening.

Tonight, Joan Baez sang to a packed house of people, mostly my age. Next to my daughter and myself was another mother and daughter combo and that mother, too, teared up when Baez sang – you just sort of wasted my precious time... I wondered how many in the audience had once had lovers or some such entities who just sort of wasted their precious time.

The evening was splendid. I rode the bus home humming don't think twice it's alright...

[Ed and I are taking off early Saturday. We’ll be back Sunday evening. More on the where and how when we return.]