They say it makes the heart grow fonder. I needed to take a little leave of absence last week – a bit of space for myself, so I could maybe come back to writing a little refreshed, or with fonder feeling.

Things have been much busier these last few months than they had been 6 months ago, as my industry slowly stutters to a re-start. A few gigs are getting on the books for late summer, for the fall. Things are nothing close to “normal”, but it feels more “normal” than it has for a long time.

I’ve been having kind of a hard time, though. While it’s great to have performances to look forward to, I’m dreading what that means to my overall quality of life. As much as I don’t want to admit it, the absence of weekly travel and everything that surrounds it has been something of a silver lining in Covid life. And I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to go back to it.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles about readjusting to life after the lockdowns – the social anxiety, anxiety about re-establishing patterns of behavior, anxiety about facing a changed world, anxiety about actually putting on pants without an elastic waistband…you get the picture. I’m definitely anxious about returning to the level of travel needed to sustain my work and livelihood.

I’d spent much of the last 4-5 years permanently jet-lagged, exhausted and in a constant state of triage, and as much as I loved seeing the world, making new friends and making great music, it was wearing on my body and my psyche. So I feel terribly ambivalent right now as I begin to see may schedule take shape in the upcoming months, excited for the work but dreading the travel.

Absence did not make my heart grow fonder.

Have you experienced unexpected joy in losing something?

Although I definitely miss sampling local cuisine. This was in Bruges 2 years ago.

9 thoughts on “Absence

  1. Wayne Zelenak says:

    “No man steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man” is a quote from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born in 544 b.c. It is a thought-provoking assertion that affects all of us. It can also be changed to “No conductor steps on the same stage twice, for it’s not the same stage and the conductor is not the same person.”

    All of us have changed mentally, physically, and spiritually since the conception of the pandemic. We had to adjust to being quarantined, facing fear, anxiety, and uncertainty; but during that time, we grew closer to the needs of the elderly, neighbors, and family. We viewed the world with a new perspective and learned the beauty in each day, regardless of the challenges, and hardships. The true value of friends and family became crystal clear during the pandemic.

    Recent days involving horrific news about the violence in our country, with shooting deaths, hatred and politics have highlighted how much the “River” has changed. It is much deeper and moving faster, as we struggle to stay afloat moving forward. Ambivalence, anxiety, and uncertainty are just a few emotions that indicate how we have changed with the “River.”

    Being enchanted with the music of Coco: A Live-To-Film Concert Experience, at the Hollywood Bowl in 2019, highlighted the importance of music in our lives. It crosses all boundaries and cultures and soothes the soul. Once the gigs become a regular event for you, your passion will return when reunited with your extended musician family from around the world, providing meaning and purpose om your life.

    I’m glad you restarted the “Musical Challenge” recently, and I have followed you on several social platforms. I believe we are all connected spiritually in life to share our talents and gifts with others. “

    “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb.



    1. chefdorch says:

      I’d forgotten about that Heraclitus quote, Wayne, and what a timely reminder. The river has been flowing in some painful directions lately, but it keeps moving, and so do we


  2. seskona1icloudcom says:

    My mind drifts to music- which speaks to our very souls. Seems apropos huh? 😇 Pink Floyd said a great truth: “…time keeps flowing like a river…to the sea…”. You need not be stoned to get that metaphor 🤣. The clock always ticks forward. In my experiences ‘tis best to not swim upstream. History has proven times of tribulation are also wonderful times to morph like butterflies do- time to pop out of our collective cocoons & fly! Seek new pathways! Press forward! It may be painful but Sarah- perhaps it’s time for you to boldly go where you’ve never gone before (sorry Captain Kirk!). The only constant in this world is Change. Carpe diem! Sarah how about a tribute to Pink Floyd? 💭 Peace be upon you & yours. 😇


    1. chefdorch says:

      Apropos to Captain Kirk, I once did a concert with Leonard Nimoy, who was a deeply delightful man. And yes to the constant of change!


  3. “Have you experienced unexpected joy in losing something?”

    Bon après-midi, Sarah.

    I would answer your question by: ‘Yes, I have’. I will be eligible to retirement on my birthday next year after 30 years of service. I love my job but that retirement thing brought me some unexpected Joy in my mind. That covid thing drove us like crazy and took a lot of our energies. For my colleagues I’m already the grand-pa at 53 even if they like me. Anite and Lynda would like me to stay 2-5 more years. I’ll see.

    That being said I’ll put a link here about a project on the benefits of music. My compatriot Jean-Marc Vallée (Director) had the idea and he his himself a music lover of different kinds. Jean-Marc is one of the producer on the series. His first movie “C.R.A.Z.Y.” put him on the map. Each letter correspond to the name of a children in the family.

    I will also try to find out a new movie being released about the first Maestra in the 1920’s.

    I wanted to tell you that I dreamt about Pink. I was assisting to your gig with my wife and my pug. I know it sounds weird. At the end of the show, while you and the orchestra received a standing ovation, Pinkerton goes on the scene from one side of the curtain toward you. He brings a branch as your next wand. Everyone is laughing. Then I woke up. I told that to my wife and she was laughing at me.

    To finish, there is a guy named Peter Santenello. He is from Vermont. He lived 6 years abroad in (Kiyiv Ukraine where he has a business) before returning to live with his wife in San Francisco. He travels around the world and film himself with his iPhone or Android phone with a wand. I like the fact that he goes on the field (e.g. hassidic jews in New York, Mennonite in Florida, …). Have a look. He does interesting things. It even gave me an idea for you. When you will return for your gigs around the world, you could film the city with a special angle. For example, Denmark. Her architecture, some famous people related with the music in the country you visit. You could even include restaurants and typical meals, talks about music instruments who were from the country you are visiting. You could use ‘Patreon me system’ like Peter Santenello does.

    Anite, Lynda and me wish you the best, La Maestra. Lynda has a special request. She is a bijoux (jewels) lover. She was wondering if there was a meaning of the jewel on your necklace. Take care and stay healthy. xoxoxo.


  4. Here is the link below for Jean-Marc Vallée: eOne Films.
    It’s time to go back to the BIG SCREEN and witness the immersive wonder of BIG GIANT WAVE, a cinematographic journey into the power of music and sound 🎥🍿 NOW PLAYING in select theatres.
    And, on April 21, join us in a celebration of Canadian film for National Canadian Film Day!



  5. Finally, your French class: Boris Cyrulnik, French neuro psychiatrist and his new book, “Des âmes et des saisons (Some souls and seasons)”. A 20 min. interview about his plea against the supremacy of man on Nature.


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