The fall colors seem extra brilliant this year. But I don’t think they are. This ordinary annual occurrence is extraordinary to me every year. I walked today down our little dirt road bathed in the slanted warm autumn light glowing through the bright hued canopy of leaves. The awesome beauty embraced me from head to toe. I felt joyous, like a cinnamon scented apple pie out of the oven, exuding sweetness and heat. I also felt a profound sense of solitude. In these woods, I was alone all day with my cello, my metronome, my tea, my potato leek soup, my dreams, my long dirt road, my house that smells of chimney soot when it rains, the dead leaves in the yard, the life everywhere pulling back into its roots. Then suddenly, next week, without much warning, I will be on stage, sparkling under the lights, surrounded by humanity, colleagues on stage, sounds of our hearts pouring out, people coughing, sighing, listening, not listening. There is a certain solitude in performance too. It takes courage to break the silence of the hall with imperfect passion, to be vulnerable and exposed. Surrendering to the exhilaration, the swirl of activity means surrendering to solitude while at the same time belonging 100% to humanity. This terrifies me regularly. This ordinary experience that I have had for over 15 years is still extraordinary. But with the fear also arises the potential for joy. Apple pies only get juicy when they bake in a hot oven. Here we go!