Horizontal trees, rest, etc
Hi, my love. Writing to you from a hotel room in Liège, Belgium.
It’s 11:37 PM CET so I’m still within the Sunday cut off. I am here writing because I love you. And because a queen I know named Amy, who, it turns out, subscribes to these ol t-talks, told me that this is the first thing she reads every Monday before work. I found this out at the start of a full-scale Rainbow Blonde business call, which is honestly how I wish every business call would go.
Man, I just love the idea that this is something people look forward to. So 11:37 PM or not, I won’t let Amy or you down. It makes me kvell to high heaven that this little space, almost a year old now, is connecting so many of us all around the world.
(A year old. Whoah.)
I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate when we finally hit a year of t-talks, which, by the by, will fall on the momentous date of November 14, 2021. I think I’ll probably bake a cake? Maybe a pie, considering November vibes? Actually, now that I look at it, it appears I will be in Copenhagen for November 14, 2021. Can’t bake a cake unless a Dane lends me a kitchen, but hey Denmark: Get ready for an extremely happy/proud taali that day.
I won’t wax poetic about it just yet. For now, I’m just feeling proud that I even got to the ttalk today. Because today has been a doozy.
More or less this whole week has been a doozy. My body has been fighting me, and my body is right.
(My body is sick of my five to six absolutely fully time jobs.)
All of these jobs have been asking the extreme most of me this week. In a perfect storm situation, the following all occurred simultaneously: A new release on Rainbow Blonde, scheduling a wild secret absurdly exciting new thing, teaching at the conservatory again, finalizing just absurdly complicated Spanish visas for our post brexit British musicians (woooof), and writing for a full orchestra (!) on (!) my (!) next (!) album (!).
A storm of storms. On Tuesday José pointed out I didn’t seem like myself. That perhaps I should, I don’t know, sleep or something. Maybe take a break from my five to six absolutely full time jobs.
“Totally,” I told him.
And then I sent an email to one of my favorite people at our distribution company for Rainbow Blonde that began with the below.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Rainbow Blonde and I absolutely love that since it’s my business, I’m able to send emails about extremely professional things while being extremely casual.
But turns out my body didn’t find that joke so funny. I ended up emailing until 4 am, and then, after jocularly making fun of my much smarter partner asking me to rest, watching in dismay as my body gave out the next day.
I mean it when I say gave out. There was nothing to be done. I slept for three days straight. Every so often I’d come up for air and eat a popsicle. I kept testing myself for the COVID I didn’t have, finally coming to terms with the fact that my body was done with me and my irreverent emails. At one point little t deliriously asked José to bring home roses, which he did like a real bobi.
Who knows, maybe the roses cured me. But when I finally came out of it, I made a pact to just have fun for the rest of the week. Thankfully Amsterdam decided to be stunning, because obviously (1) Amsterdam knew that I was gonna need some chill time, and (2) as we know from past t-talks I control the weather (you’re welcome).
With the weather on my side, I decided to finally take advantage of the fact that we live about three seconds from Vondelpark, aka an enormous perfect walkable/bikeable/picnicable Amsterdamian-utopia.
I love it so much. I love it so much. And now that we have established that, we need to talk about what I call “horizontal Dutch trees.”
Because the trees in Amsterdam are not satisfied with just being regular and growing towards the sky. Na. All over Vondelpark these trees decided vertical growing was boring as fuck for them. They opted, instead, to grow sideways. It leads to glorious tree climbing and is especially entertaining when they decide to grow horizontally into the plentiful lakes throughout the park, thus creating a perfect / serene seating place.
You can legitimately sit on these beautiful, spiritual horizontal trees and watch as the ducks swim two feet away from your feet.
(The ducks have one absolutely full time job, which is being alive, and watching them inspired me to do the same.)
We had quite a few park days after my little body give up. We bought perfect, just absolutely PERFECT coffee travel mugs and brought our coffee to the park every day. We lived like the ducks, and look at the relax on this perfect guy’s face as a result.
I owe him better and I owe myself better.
I know this about myself by now - that it has to get to a fever pitch, to a real, tangible boiling point before I can make a change. The up side to this is that once I’ve learned the lesson, I really have learned it for life. I get it now, and refuse to sleep for three days straight next time because I treated my body like it wasn’t a body.
Still, I’ve set a goal to not let things get so difficult before I opt for the healthier choice, whatever lesson it is I have to learn next.
Perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to pain as a teacher. In NYC at the peak of the pandemic I was obsessed with the idea of what would happen when the dust settled. I could feel acutely, as we sat sick and in the epicenter of death, that we were in the middle of a massive life altering storm. What would it look like when it all went back to “normal?” I wrote the first song on my new album about it. The idea possessed me.
I think, in some sense, it became an obsession, so much so that I haven’t been able to accept what it looks like even with the dust more or less settled around me.
Has the dust actually settled? Slightly? Either way, the answers I’ve found to the question have been surprising. I’ve written and deleted so many taalitalks about the darker answers I’ve found in the settling of said dust, but I’m also deeply grateful for the movement that has returned with its settling.
This new album works really well on trains, for example. Beyond its direct movement references, it was written and recorded with the desperate longing for wheels, wings, air in my hair again.
It felt deep and correct to listen to it looking out the massive window of a Eurostar train this morning.
The dust has settled, at least a bit. I’m feeling healthier and ready to pay attention to my body. I’m feeling excited to to share this album with you someday. We keep looking inward, outward, we keep moving. Thank you for reading every week with me, Amy, all of us.
Till next week
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