It rained all day, so I didn’t take a walk, and I dined on sushi (a block closer to here) instead of going to Good Enough to Eat (and thus getting even wetter). Otherwise, I stuck pretty closely to the published plan for My Day Off. I spent rather too much time at the computer, but at least I didn’t post anything. In fact, I did no work of any kind, save for taking out the garbage. I spent big chunks of the afternoon and evening curled up on the couch with a couple of books, listening to music, alternately gazing at a candle and the art on the walls, and letting my mind wander wherever it pleased.
Yes, I checked my e-mail from time to time–too often, I’m sure, though I’m happy to have opened a message from the Phillips Collection in Washington. As I think I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ll be going to Washington, D.C., on March 9 to deliver a Duncan Phillips Lecture, and I’ve decided to talk about how my taste in modern art was shaped by that of Duncan Phillips, and the corollary effect that looking at the Phillips Collection over the years has had on the formation of the Teachout Museum. Well, somebody at the Phillips wrote today to suggest that I might want to bring along a half-dozen of the pieces in my collection and hang them in the room where I’ll be speaking. Now I’ve got to figure out which ones! Naturally, I’m inclined to pack my most recent acquisition, Fairfield Porter’s “Apple Blossoms II” (to see it, go here and scroll down), but I’ve got three months to make up my mind, so I expect to do plenty of dithering between now and then. At any rate, I spent much of the evening looking at the art on the walls, mulling over the possibilities….
I doubt you’ll be entirely surprised to hear that my day off left me feeling both happy and a bit blue (saudade, as my Brazilian friends say). It didn’t help that one of the pieces of music to which I listened, Constant Lambert’s Tiresias, is intensely melancholy, nor did the weather brighten my spirits. Nevertheless, I know full well that the main reason for my cafard (as Lambert liked to call it) was that I allowed a whole day to go by without distracting myself with work or companionship, as we workaholics are inclined to do. Instead, I let myself be alone with my thoughts, not all of which were comforting. Fortunately, I had the good sense to lift up my heart at day’s end with Dvorak’s String Sextet, which is in A major, that most divinely innocent of keys, and went to bed with its open strings ringing joyously in my inner ear.
Life is good, whether it feels that way or not.