Snowman Sentinel, November 2020 (photographed in Kitchener, ON)

I look for metaphors everywhere, seeking meaning, context. And this snowman spoke to me the other day. It seemed to represent everything and nothing at the same time. Some days I feel like him: a unique creation, with multiple paths to choose from and bridges to cross, standing firm in what appears to be a melting down of everything I know (even my very substance), my outstretched arms reaching into the void, yet somehow standing my ground nonetheless. The trampled ground around it indicates chaos; the isolation represented by this snowman island in the middle of nowhere; the somehow cheerful and creative nature of this being, with arms like many-fingered wings, desiring to take flight (who knows where?). And maybe it’s not a metaphor at all, but just someone’s idea of fun on a winter’s day.

So am I in my day to day in this eighth month (eight months!!!) of the pandemic. Sometimes creative, whimsical, hopeful. Sometimes desperately alone, not knowing to what end my creativity or that of my students and colleagues (all of them suffering in one way or another) will come. I work. I rest. I play. I discover. But I also grieve, despair, feel rage. What does all this mean? Where is singing in all of it? I keep coming back to two things: stillness and practice. I strive each day to create stillness in the maelstrom of my life so that I can come back to the essential kernel of meaning. And as often as I feel able, I sing. Sometimes a little, sometimes more. The vibrations make me feel better. And that’s something. And thus, like the snowman, I stand my ground.