I’ve been home for less than 48 hours as of this writing, and I already miss it all:

The din of air conditioners from our balcony.

The hum and hiss of the street cleaners in the early morning.

The slow and steady glide of the tankers and barges on the river.

The constant movement of hot, humid air moving over from the crescent.

The meat-locker-cold clouds of air billowing out from open restaurants and art galleries.

The ever-present ‘big four’ thundering from some street corner brass band.

The dusty shelves in every corner market.

The mournful lilt of a clarinet solo.

The spiky shouts of a nearby trumpet.

The bored looks on the faces of tourists taking a haunted walking/talking tour.

Even the strange smell of garbage and piss and sugar, and the strident rat-a-tat-tat of the bucket kids.

And my friends – all the fellow jazz camp faculty, the return campers, and all the new campers who rolled up their sleeves for two jabs and for the experience of a lifetime. I miss all the jokes; the shared cups of coffee and conversation at breakfast; the shining moments of real breakthrough in the ensembles; the eager eyes and hearts looking around the room, looking for that solid musical handshake – and then the joy of finding it! Thank goodness for the willingness we all had to get vaccinated, travel from around the country, and bring our horns and hearts together again!

How long will it be until we’re back in our favorite city? At this point, I don’t know, and I’m trying like hell to let go of any attachment or expectation. For now, I will continue to gather my thoughts, work on these new songs, reconnect with the scent of pine and the footfalls of our upstairs neighbors, and look to the goldfinches and chickadees for clues.