It was an odd feeling driving into Brattleboro today. It felt familiar, but like a town I was unsure whether to embrace or shake hands with.
Susan and I were there to begin the process of selling our house in Marlboro, but before we went up the hill I had a couple of hours to kill while Susan worked with the woman who administers her website. It was lunchtime and a beautiful day and Main St. was full of people. I saw nine people I knew well.
I don’t think I’ve worked harder than the four years I worked at the Brattleboro Music Center (BMC), and some good things happened while I was there, but some of the people who were suspicious of my motives when I arrived were still suspicious of me when I left, and I grew to resent my identity as director.
It’s hard period of my life to look back on with affection. A big hug for Brattleboro and the BMC would be stretching it. So how to explain the enormous affection I felt for the people I saw? One easy answer is that most of them were not closely associated with the BMC. It was easier for me to develop trusting relationships with people who were outside the BMC rather than inside.
But it is not “they” who have changed. It’s me. The relief I feel at no longer being encumbered by a poorly-paid, soul-crushing, position of responsibility over other people’s meager musical livelihoods is profound. I regret that the degree of responsibility I felt for others sapped me of that same warmth and juice I felt for everyone today.