Saturday, February 21, 2015


When I selected ‘Ripe’ for my word of the year I was not happy about it. It was already a couple weeks into January and I was starting to think maybe I wouldn’t have a word of the year. I wanted something poetic, like “feather” or “threshold” both words one of my friends has used. However I had nothing.

One morning I went to a yoga class where we were asked to pick a word for class. The teacher also talked about New Year’s intentions. So it was on my mind that day and during lunch I was playing with words. I was going with water themed words – current, ripple…and the word “ripe” popped into my head. My whole body responded. My mind on the other hand said, “No! What is ripe in my life right now? I don’t know of anything that is ripe. I don’t want to try and force something. What if nothing comes? I want a word that I can really embody. What happens when you don’t pick/use something that is ripe? It decays. It becomes rotten….”

So the conversation in my head went, I was afraid.

In the fall of 2013 I was at a music festival I go to every Labor Day weekend and a kind-hearted singer (Ellis) mentioned this music gathering in North Carolina that immediately piqued my interest. I looked into it, but did not feel a strong enough urge to invest the money, time or travel to go.

A year later I hadn’t forgotten. I mentioned it to a friend on the phone with whom I hadn’t spoken for at least five years. I told her that each week had a work exchange option for free tuition and I was thinking about applying, “You totally should!” She said.

And so I did.

As I was thinking about my word of the year I thought, “If I go to this guitar/folk week I will be satisfied that I’ve fulfilled ‘ripe’.”

Well, a little over a month later I already have a list of 7 ways in which I’ve embodied ripe (including that hair cut last week). Today the catalog for the guitar and folk week music conveniently came in the mail as I could read all the classes on the bus ride to the lantern festival put on by Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. I did start to wonder why the hell I wanted to go to this music gathering as many of the classes sounded unappealing and/or for professional musicians. I’ve never been to North Carolina and Asheville sounds like a beautiful/hip place, but really it is my body that is propelling me in this direction.

Skimming through the class offerings, I usually thought, “No,” once in a while I’d mark a class with a question mark. This was the first (and really only) class in the catalog that I said “Yes!” to

Rhythm for Guitarists – And Everyone Else

This class if for all levels, no experience necessary, and guitars are not required! Drawing from eastern and western traditions, we’ll sharpen our rhythmic awareness and expand our rhythmic vocabularies by combing inner (meditative) word with outer (walking, chanting, moving) rhythm exercises. Through group rhythm circles, we’ll explore pulsation, syncopation, beat, off-beats, sub-division and more 0 all with a sense of spontaneity, flow (BOMM WHACKERS, of course! and FUN!!

Ok there is at least something that resonates with me. At the lantern festival I saw the woman who told me about the walking outdoor play about the friendship between Thoreau and Emerson last fall that I loved so I thanked her.

On the way home I was able to get a good bus connection and avoid time out in the cold (though my new long underwear was helping).

This evening I felt restless. I was not up for any tasks, nor reading. I tried playing guitar a little. Apparently I should learn some scales. For the Guitar week the classes are Beginning, Intermediate or Advanced. Intermediate says, “students should have mastered basic skills, and be able to tune their instruments (check), keep time (check), play the principal chords (check) and scales (WHAT?) cleanly, and know how to play a few tunes with confidence (check).” I can play lots of songs with confidence. I’ve written at least 20, but I don’t know ANY scales. Zero. Zippo. None.

Then I knew it was a computer gratitude day but

A. I didn’t feel like going on the computer.
B. I didn’t have anything to say/write.


A. I decided I’d type this on Word and post it tomorrow (if I go on the internet I inevitably will check my email etc. and get sucked in).
B. I guess I did.

A few of my favorite definitions of ripe from

Ripe – arrived at the highest or a high point of development or excellence; mature
Ripe – characterized by full developmemt of body or mind: of ripe years.
Ripe – (of ideas, plans, etc.) read for action, execution.
Ripe (of people) fully prepared or read to do or undergo something: He was ripe for a change in jobs.

1 comment:

  1. What is the idea behind the word of the year? I know you chose one every year, but what is it for? What do you do with it? What meaning does it have?