we begin rinaldo rehearsals on presidents day, with the rest of the office closed. the harpsichord tuner comes and we chat; I tell him that I am there, seriously, to tune the electric keyboard to the same temperament as the harpsichord. we laugh and he hands me his tuning peg. in the end I decide it's a waste of my time to make the tiny minute tuning adjustments necessary to match temperaments, and that nobody even knows it's possible and won't notice anyway.
when the conductor comes in the room I shout "oh boy!" before I have a chance to think about it, and scamper over to meet him. he can't shake anyone's hand because he's come down with some sort of cold overnight. he is as lovely as everyone has told me, gracious and kind, full of good humor.
on another day, I go to the barn to try and at least run cookie around for awhile, and although I am dressed to ride, I don't have my heart set on it. or maybe I'm actually kind of fearful of it, having only ridden maybe once a week since the start of the year. when I get there the yahoos next door are shooting off guns in the nearby field and cookie is so frightened by the noise that she won't even turn her back to the far end of the arena. I try to shoo her away from the gate with my whip but she won't run more than 5 feet away before returning, on high alert and in terror. after half an hour I give up and put her back in her stall, grateful that I wasn't too keen on riding anyway, but frustrated by the wasted trip.
at our production meeting I hold court for ages, talking through three full pages of notes, questions about harpsichord moves and continuo schedules and whether or not the oboes are doubling the violins in certain numbers. I take longer than all the other people combined. normally I have one or two things to say.
when I go to bed monday I have a headache, and I still have that headache 6 days later. it's moved around my head but only gone away for maybe a combined total of 16 hours. I suspect, but can't confirm, that it's from endless hours bent over my standing desk, which, unlike my regular desk, makes me have to look farther down and therefore strain my neck harder.
at the rinaldo meet & greet I get an unexpected shout out and everybody claps for the endless work I've done on the music. the conductor calls me 'his goddess,' and afterward when we are chatting in the hallway I laugh and say, there's a first time for everything. when later in the week I deliver a rented keyboard to his hotel room, he says, "this is so great of you, I'm pretty sure this isn't in your job description," and I reply, "I'm pretty sure the first line of my job description is 'other duties as assigned.'" he promises that when he's over his cold he's going to take me to 'a fancy dinner' and I laugh and say, 'you're going to spoil me for every other conductor,' and he says, 'good.' I find it very funny that somehow it's always this show, our small production, that I love best and work hardest on, and it's this show's conductor that becomes my best friend.
I go out for drinks with girlfriends, one of whom is a dear friend and former young artist, who got engaged recently and whose fiance asked us for help in picking out her ring. it was delicious to be in on it; later on she said to us, "you bitches sure can keep a secret," and that is the truth. the ring is beautiful. we were there when they met.
I read voraciously -- by the end of the weekend I'll have finished 4 books this week -- and it feels like a very funny time of year for it, too busy, but when I go to update my five-year calendar last year's entry says, went to the barn -- braided mud tail, cleaned stall, rode for the 1st time in weeks. came home, read + read + read. the way the days fold into last year's days is peculiar and although sometimes it's sad, sometimes it's also comforting. the cyclical way things go. "rode for the first time in weeks." "bone tired and ready to be done working for awhile." even "went to the garden for the first time in months."
I ordered seeds for the garden yesterday, and for the first time in months I felt excited about it. the garden, which uncharacteristically I left to rot at the end of the fall and haven't seen since. across the street, the neighbor's rhododendrons are blooming. behind my apartment, the cherry blossoms are budding. it's happening. somehow I always am surprised at the first promise of spring, like I did not have faith it would ever come.