I love the word dapple. Dappled shade and sunlight. Sunlight dripping through leafy rooftops as the summer forest transforms.
Summers, I find, have big loveliness about them. A holidaysy haze. But this year's summer, though lingerish, has now really made way for autumn, and autumn has a character quite of its own. Which, I am re-realizing, I quite enjoy. So long as I do the kind of stuff that make autumn enjoyable. Perhaps other people have the same.
Today my town is misty. This morning I went for a cold dip in the brook down by the small wooden jetty, under the bicycle bridge and the bold and bright solo of a bird. I was fareezing! But funnily, not unbearable. Afterwards, my skin felt alíve. It still does now, as I'm sitting at my desk with fairylights on.
I feel fortunate. To be in such a homely, safe place is certainly no given.
Peering through the mist I can make out that two of the chestnut trees have lost almost all their leaves, while the third is but four fifths empty. I wonder which one took the longest to fill in spring. Would it have been the same one? It seems I can't remember. I'll have to observe again next year.
Talking about observing: my violin-teaching coach (let's call her Gem) has invited me to observe more. Observe, instead of judge. I can be a critical judge, Gem says. This is true. Also, dear reader, my story is now travelling on a tangent far far away from dappled summer and autumn waterbird. There is something I need to reflect upon. Thou art welcome to dismiss thouself if thou so wishetheth.
The thing I want to try is observing instead of judging. One tree's foliaceous timing isn't "better" than another tree's foliaceous timing. One violin lesson isn't "better" than another violin lesson. There is a situation and different things happen, causing different needs. From these needs, interactive responses arise, resulting in newly different happenings: in the children, in me, in the tree.
Such goes my model. Now, when there is a desired outcome, of course I have an agenda. In support of the children's learning process I want to play my part "well". I have a professional responsibility, an accountability to the children, their parents, as well as my music teacher colleagues. I want to feed my pupils' musical curiosity, train auditive-motory connections, teach a flexible general posture, a supple bow hand, independent fingers. I want, I want. I want to do all of this "right", tick off all the boxes while creating an enjoyable creative space and longing for a sense of "flow" in what I do. For that makes it extra "good".
Yet, saying that a lesson went "well" or "not so well" is subjective. I now think, while one lesson might have felt pleasantly flowy for me, it might have been a less flowy lesson during which I showed things in a way that gave the children more clarity about how to exercise certain techniques. Which lesson is "better"? Better for my self-assurance? Better for the children's violinistic skill set? Which tree is better?
To see, to experience, to observe: within myself, within my pupils, within the situation. "When I do this, I notice they react like so. What does that do with me? What kind of reaction am I looking for?" Constant, non-judging observation: this my goal for the coming lesson.
As preparation: to make an overseeable selection of teaching and practise points. On the spot: to make and communicate clear choices as to which direction I want us to go in next. And then again observe. And then again, and then again begin...hello, Matthew Arnold.
Presently, I notice the heating to be rather off and my fingers rather chilly. Adieu writing moment - it is time to warm up, to get moving, to continue with this autumn day and the abundance of tasks on my to-do list. May it, at the end of this day, be as empty as two of those chestnut trees.
Autumn, I am re-realizing, I quite enjoy. So long as I do the kind of stuff that make autumn enjoyable. I believe I shall like observing.