QUAIL MUTTERINGS #28. Story Ballets, Graduations and Spring Cleaning (May 1, 2014)
Story ballets, graduations, gardening and spring cleaning are my main focuses this time of year. There seems to be no chance for rest and relaxation when so many activities beckon. When the choreography is finished there are rehearsals. After cleaning the porch the windows need attention and of course – the weed whacking is never ending. The gardens must be planted, tended and watered. And then, the graduations…
This year, my most advanced ballet students were interested in choosing their own roles so instead of a single ‘Story Ballet’ we’re doing excerpts from three different fairy tales: Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. No one is left out of these. The younger dancers and gymnasts play supporting roles such as Snow White’s dwarfs, Beauty’s pestiferous sheep, the beast’s tormentors, and the maidens of Sleeping Beauty’s court. I love having all the classes participating in this ‘Literature in Action’ and thus part of a bigger creative project. The younger students try harder as they watch the older, more seasoned dancers. The alternative would be to put on just another recital, but the thought of that simply curdles my stomach. Yes, it’s true that putting together a cohesive, multi-dimensional piece of work is much more time consuming and labor intensive, but I feel that it’s much more rewarding to all involved, including the grateful audience.
During Spring Break, before visiting our son at Chico State for a couple days, we planted a variety of vegetables in the gardens. We have three completely closed in spaces in order to keep out the squirrels, rodents and birds; hoping to retain some of the produce for ourselves. This is an ongoing effort since these skillful little engineers seem to take pride in outsmarting us ‘evolved species’ and are constantly creating new methods of no-handprint breaking-and-entering and stealthy stealing. As Ramonans, we are fortunate, though, to have a Farmer’s Market and numerous farm stands in our community. I picked up beautiful tomato and cucumber plants, among others, from Connelly Farms to transplant in our garden beds. The horses, goats and compost heap provide our fertilizer and mulching needs. My morning green smoothies are supplemented from our own year-round Swiss chard and kale while the multitude of sorrel zings up our salads. Ahhh, the good life.
On May 10th, the day after the dance concert, we’re hosting the next meeting of our book club. I’ve heard that it’s one of the oldest, if not the oldest, ongoing one of its kind in Southern California – thirty some-odd years! The book we will be discussing is The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. Kent and I recommended it. The author and his dying mother form their own impromptu book club and have their discussions during her chemotherapy sessions. Several books are brought into the story which sound interesting. I’ve read a couple of them including Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and discovered many inspiring nuggets within its pages. Since our house is a bit small we plan on dining and discussing out on the front porch.
On the following Saturday our oldest daughter, Jessie, will be graduating with her master’s degree in applied linguistics from SDSU – which happens to be my alma mater as well as my mom’s and grandmother’s. We will also be hosting a celebration for her. Out on the front porch, of course. The last big shindig here was Jessie and Sean’s wedding almost a year ago. What a beautiful, memorable day that country wedding was… As I start to lose myself in reverie I realize that I must snap back into the present. These things I was referring to earlier haven’t happened yet. I better get busy.
Chi Varnado is the author of two books. Her memoir, A CANYON TRILOGY: Life Before, During and After the Cedar Fire; and her children’s book, The Tale of Broken Tail, are both available from www.amazon.com. Chi directs The Ramona Dance Centre: www.ramonadancecentre.com. A sampling of Chi’s Quail Mutterings, can be found on www.chivarnado.com.