Now that the equinox has slithered past almost unawares, we find ourselves firmer and faster into the Fall season. And yet it still doesn't seem fully engaged.
True, when the schools open up and the kids go back to class, the olive trees decide it's time for harvest - whether you're ready or not. And if you live on Los Olivos Lane, as we do, this annual dropage is a Rite of passage - or maybe massage. The whole process goes on for weeks and by whatever mysterious means the trees throw a sheet of olives and then hold back, throw another sheet and hold back...... and so forth, with the whole month of September being a contest between the broom and the trees.
When cars go down the street you'd almost think you were in a medieval city - the sounds of the tic-toc-tickety-flickit, bugedugebugedugie, swish and poof reminding you of cobblestones and iron rims. And of course the street becomes slick with automotively-processed olive oil. Someday I'm going to dump a whole pot of hot pasta in the street and see what happens next. At this point all I know is that when I get down to the end of the driveway and start back, it looks almost as if I never swept it - the trees start throwing again immediately. Sigh.
In the meantime it's free gym-time for upper body exercise and olympic broom handling. And yet at the end of the day, it's not so disagreeable to be out there sweeping off the driveway with the waning and less-fierce sunlight fighting a losing battle as it moves towards its December demise. For the garden professional this has no lasting quality and produces no nostalgia. With their back-mounted Tornado Blowers they simply waft the olives along and pile them up without breaking a sweat.
But then they have to shovel them up and put them in the big green garden waste bins that we roll out to the street every Monday morning for pickup. And we dare not fill those barrels more than half full so as to not break the hydraulics on the garbage trucks - therefore, it will take a few weeks before they are all gone.
When we first moved here we learned that this entire hillside used to be a big Olive Rancho in some Spanish land-holding. And short of dynamite, there's no easy way to eliminate an olive tree. Someone told me that there used to have been some gentlemen of the Italian persuasion that used to raid the streets in September. They apparently knew the process by which olives are made fit for man's consumption - and none of us new-comers do. What an interesting process it must be - and I'm glad somebody still knows how because I love olives.
But what does all this have to do with brass music, you may ask? Nothing - but should I sit here and do nothing but prepare new music and books all day long? Not my idea of a balanced existence. So I have the olives to contend with, the fence that I built twenty-six years ago to re-stain, my dreams of cleaning my garage, the shopping, cooking (yum) and cleaning and of course some trips to the gym.
In between all those things come working on a new suite of Handel arranged by Tom Hooten for Trumpet and piano, Tony Kirkland's collection of trumpet excerpts from the Wind Band literature, and trying to take care and keep track of all the stuff that's already been published over the last twenty-five years. And re-constructing my Dad's war letters from World War I, 1916-1919 - to prepare for an iBook to be available in iTunes in time for the 100-year mark from when he left Canada to sail for Europe. Can you believe he probably spent time in some French locations that are on his grandson's tour itinerary this fall with a jazz quintet? And may have played some of the same towns in the little Army dance band they formed to send around and entertain the troops after the war was over while those fellows waited to be shipped back to Canada (all of which took about six months!).
But I digress............