April always gets credit for being the month of transition, thanks to the showers-to-flowers trope. Though for me, June has historically been the time where things jump, flip over, and hit the ground running again. e.g. . . Getting awesome new saddle shoes (1989). Graduating from fourth grade (1992). Going to Kinhaven (1997). Leaving for a year’s exodus from the motherland (2004). Moving (2007). Moving (2008). Moving (2009). And moving (2010).
Time to move again, by the end of this month. Boxes — bubble wrap — stairs — doors — keys — cash — a van — sweat — traffic — time — and that epic anvil, nostalgia.
The whole process coincides with rehearsals this week for the Bang on a Can marathon (tonight), singing Shelter. It’s a shared musical project by Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang, with Deborah Artman (text) and Bill Morrison (film). About an hour long, in seven movements, the piece operates with a wide aperture in considering the idea of shelter. Sometimes it’s close up, reverently articulating the motions of entering one’s house (“…I pat my pockets for my keys/ I leave my shoes at the door/ I push aside the skin of the door/ I adjust my eyes to the dark…”). Another movement expands into front-porch reverie, both romantic (“summer evening and lemonade”) and realist (“air conditioning and tv”). The last movement I haven’t gotten yet. It’s a vicious lament or a denial — I’m not sure (“No house/ No tower/ No temple/ No castle/ No dwelling built by human hands is eternal”) — loud and wild. (The singers have been told we sound like aliens.)
One movement, with brutal homophony, catalogs the materials needed to build an American Home: “concrete/ twenty yards/ reinforced steel/ one thousand feet/ lumber/ one thousand/ two by tens two by sixes/ two by fours” … “plumbing fixtures/ electrical fixtures/ two tubs and a shower/ three sinks/ tile/ two hundred square feet/ oven/ refrigerator/ microwave/ kitchen countertops…” Today I emailed my movers with a very similar sounding rundown of the contents of my room — cataloging those things that constitute my dwelling place — bookshelves, 8x2x1; dresser, 6x3x2…
Ironic twist >> I’m moving everything out on the 29th. We’re recording for Cantaloupe Records on the 30th. Which means that on Wednesday I’ll be spending all day in a recording studio, singing about shelter and home, while all of my possessions will be in my car or in a 5×10′ storage unit on Flatbush Avenue. Home?
(No, I’m not really homeless. Spending some relaxing time at my family’s home in North Carolina, and moving to Princeton in September. Temporarily drifting.)
I do like Junes, and upheaval. But I also really loved my Brooklyn apartment, and cooking. One of my last domestic activities in this place before moving — late lunch of arugula, broiled lamb, strawberries, and kiwi…