It seems the weather gods have it out for runners in Madison these days. A few years ago I discovered that running in the winter here is possible if one is dressed for it. But even with fleece running tights and a balaclava and all the necessary layers, the last few weeks have really tested my resolve. First it was so cold they canceled school for two days, and believe me it takes a lot to cancel school around here. The POLAR VORTEX!! and subsequent -35 windchill was sufficient, apparently, and it was enough to keep me inside, too. Then it warmed up enough for some snow to melt all over the streets and sidewalks, then it snowed again, thawed briefly and got really cold and snowed a bit more, so we've got this treacherous combination of a thick layer of solid ice covered with drifted snow and wind chills back down to zero and I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE I TELL YOU. I AM THROUGH WITH YOU, WINTER, DO YOU HEAR ME??? THROUGH!!
It's not even like I am an athlete of any kind here. I've never even run a race. I just need to get out there and move or I get a little cranky.
Fortunately, I've had an influx of work of late. It's a lot of last minute requests for graduate auditions and kids playing for solo/ensemble, which means I've got more than 100 pages of music to learn by the middle of next month, but it's a lot better than no work at all, which is what I had when the New Year rolled around, so I'm not really complaining. I also agreed to read through a Beethoven trio with a friend of mine as a favor to help her prepare for a performance, so I've got to at least be able to hack through that by next week. Quantity over quality is what it feels like these days.
I admit there are times when I long for a more regular, reliable schedule. Clock in, clock out, come home, family time, bed. Enough with each day a disorganized rush of getting kids to school, cramming in practice time with breaks for laundry and dishwashing and maybe a trip to the grocery store or, if I'm very lucky and the sidewalks aren't a sheet of solid ice, a run before school's out, all in dirty yoga pants and hair that hasn't been brushed since Sunday or cut since September and calling that my professional life.
I know that I'm lucky even to have this as a choice. I'm very lucky to be getting work now, especially after such a slow start this fall. Of course, it's entirely possible that after the rush of the next few weeks, there will be another dry spell, but I hope not. This is the reality of freelancing, especially when the artist in question is balancing parenting, housework and volunteer obligations, which often loom larger than the stuff that pays.
Thank goodness the days are finally getting a little longer or I'd truly be going nuts.