We had a picture-perfect start to 1999. It was the year I would turn 18, a major milestone. This was the age when I thought I would be free from parental control. I should have known better, because Mom was having none of it. Once you lived under her roof, you will always be a child to her no matter your age. She consistently repeat, “Two woman cah live een a one house.” These were the bounda-ries she created. Everyone knew their role and how to play them.
The year is 2000, I'm 5 years old and I just watched the iconic film "JAWS" starring a ravenous Great White shark, out for cold blood. Killing everyone and everything in it's path, leaving destruction in it's wake. Being a young and impressionable native Floridian, this movie really shook me to the core, and it took years for me to recover from the stigma that this movie (and so many others) had created. The media's portrayal of sharks and their insatiable appetite had done it's part in keeping me out of the oceans for quite some time.
Dogs sleeping with their owners is a popular trend. Dogs have been sleeping in the bed with their owners in many cultures for centuries.
Reports show that most dog owners share their bed with their dog. A Mayo Clinic study reveals that 56 percent of owners allow their dogs to sleep in their bed.
Artists often record pieces without appraising listeners of what a song may mean to them. This oversight usually occurs because of production demands that preclude verbal descriptions of what a given song may mean to an artist. Producing a polished CD or video is considerable, and producers are reluctant to spend their precious dollars on verbal tributes that can be made by recording artists during a concert. Once in the studio, artists are expected to record their music as quickly and efficiently. Reminiscing about the composition of a particular song is discouraged. Fortunately, the recording of this specific song did require the use of an expensive recording studio. When I recorded the piece, I had no neurotic producer hanging over my shoulder. I am therefore free to reflect on what the relatively unknown aria "kennst du das land." Those unfamiliar with opera are unlikely to recognize the piece. I first became familiar with the Aria after attending a performance of "Little Woman." An original operatic work, the production allowed me to hear a breath-taking musical score and the Aria Kennst du das Land. I became determined to master the Aria in question. My years of training had provided me with the technical tools needed to sing a variety of styles, but I had always reframed from singing pieces written in German. The sheer beauty of the piece overwhelmed my reservation and set to work on it with passion and zeal. The experience has been transformative, allowing me to connect with a part of my German heritage that had always felt peripheral. Having to master German required that I steep myself in a language that members of the Hurst family line had practiced for generations. Learning "Kennst du das land" became a transformative experience, allowing me to reintegrate a disowned aspect of my family heritage. I am not the first, or only, singer to have had such an experience. Singing is an inherently personal process. Few performers become successful by relying solely upon their technical prowess. Acclaim rarely occurs unless a performer has found a way to merge technique and emotional resonance. For this singer at least, mastering the complexities of the Aria Kennst du das land became an example of such a process. It is why this previously unfamiliar piece now feels profoundly connected to my body and soul.
As Brently Mallard walked down the path to his home, he couldn't help but gaze at the "tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street a peddler was crying his wares." Brently began to sing. His voice was rich and melodic, wafting through the streets. The "countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves," harmonizing with his sweet song. He had been away from home for so long, too long... and it felt strange going down the pathway home. The freedom of being away was refreshing, and the space he had gotten had been desperately needed. However, Brently did miss Mrs. Mallard, somewhat anyway. He hoped that she was in satisfactory health and that all was well. Inhaling the fresh spring air, he couldn't avoid the cloudy thought of the symbolic drought that he knew he was walking towards.