|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
One of my summer projects this year is complete: building a fence and gate. Last summer I put up pre-made shadow-box fence panels on one side of the yard and while I didn't have to actually build the fence, I did have to dig and put up all of the posts and then set the panels in place. Since that was the first time I've ever done any building like that, it was a challenge (especially since I was doing it all alone). In addition to the pre-made panels, I also made a small gate from scratch. As per my tendency, beforehand I researched how to put up posts and how to build gates and fences, and constantly referred to websites, my building bible (my trusty book, Home Depot's Patios and Landscape Construction 1-2-3), and all of my measurements and plans. Of course things got better and better as I put up each post and panel. So much so that it got to a point I was finding myself using the book/websites less and less and relying on my own plans, intuition, and judgement; deviating from the plans based on what the situation dictated. And I must say, it all came out pretty well in the end.
This summer, I decided for another part of the yard to build a fence and gate completely from scratch as the old gate and fence were termite riddled and literally falling off the hinges. Again, I researched and consulted various websites and my "bible", but found with all of my building experience from the previous summer, I really only needed my detailed plans, which I was confident enough to improvise upon as necessary once work started.
Unlike last year, this summer during the deconstruction of the old fence and posts and construction of the new fence and gate, despite being a lot work (and again working alone), I found a calmness of mind during the process. And I was reminded of how similar building a fence and gate is to building a musical composition: planning the design, trying to balance an economy of form, function, and aesthetics; gathering materials; once you start building you need a special attention and focus to details which are important because the slightest miscalculation on any one part can lead to all being out of alignment; working through frustration, fatigue, set-backs and obstacles, especially as you get closer to finishing; joy and triumph (and relief) upon completion. As I'm writing various upcoming compositions for Numinous and other groups, I want to keep this summer's fence building lessons in mind: while it is important to be prepared, sometimes the greatest plan in your mind wants to be something else once it leaves your brain and meets reality; the challenge is to be patient and let it become what it will and hopefully it will all come out plumb.
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 3:00 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.