Summer: Bees, Mussorgsky, & Other Musings

It’s summer. Beautiful, sunny, adventuresome summer, when all is vibrant and blooming and vacations beckon (for the lucky few). And most people think of summer like this:


palm tree pool

Or this:


But say what you will about the glories and joys of summer, outside there are still bees. And- possessing a unique terror all their own- wasps. (I’m not including pictures because they are DISGUSTING.) Tiny winged devils flying about like that scene in Fantasia (the OLD school Fantasia). Incidentally, why in the name of childhood was that scene included in a movie for CHILDREN when it is clearly so terrifying?! Come on, Disney…
I’d like to add that composing something specifically inspired by a witches’ sabbath probably merits a whole different discussion. Suffice it to say that, while certain others of Mussorgsky’s compositions (i.e. Pictures at an Exhibition, Dawn on the Moskva River, etc.) captivate and delight, this one makes me want to shake my head and brandish an index finger at Mussorgsky. It’s just creepy!!! Ok, I will concede that certain sections of the piece possess an eerie beauty, but other than that- CREEPY! It would be one thing if he only composed one piece like this, but he has an entire song cycle entitled “Songs and Dances of Death!” Sheesh…
If you need a reminder of how AWFUL that scene, “Night on Bald Mountain” in Fantasia is, just watch this. (You won’t need to watch the whole thing in order for your subconscious to have thorough and plentiful notes on possible nightmare material.)
(See? More like Nightmare on Bald Mountain…) If you’re as creeped out as I am from just watching that, and now feel inclined to shun Mussorgsky, here are the other two pieces I mentioned, that [ALMOST] redeem him.


Lovely, right? People do NOT appreciate this type of music anymore! Which is sad, because it’s such an articulate, intelligent genre. (Sure, minimalism, you’re totally a legitimate type of music; you’re definitely not what composers use when they’re just being too lazy to write anything dynamic…) That side dish of sarcasm was free of charge, everyone (she said, putting away a very large soap box). ANYWAY, be advised, it’s like half an hour. (Listen with a fabulous frothy something from Starbucks while you read a good book. At least that’s how I like to listen. Also good for road trips!)


Speaking of dances of death, that is usually my reaction whenever the aforementioned winged devil hovers ominously near me. (That’s right. I brought it full circle.)
I grant you, summer is still pretty great. Even though I can’t get a tan (my options are white, pink, red, or sunpoisoned… I’m going with white where possible. Yay for being Irish/Scotch/English aka anything pale and European.) And even though mosquitoes eat me (seriously, WHAT GOOD ARE THEY??? At least bees have some impact on the ecosystem, a subject which I cannot pretend to know anything about). And even though I end up sweating during activities that don’t normally involve perspiration- like grocery shopping, getting the mail… or walking outside for 2 seconds… Summer is still ok. In fact, sometimes it’s downright fabulous! Because it’s a time of year when traveling abounds.
I mostly love traveling. Long car rides are great for the hubby and I, because it forces us not to watch Netflix (don’t think I haven’t tried to watch it on my iPad while he’s driving… it doesn’t work, because we just both want to watch it. Slightly hazardous), and we get to talk, look at the beautiful scenery (LOOK, versus be eaten by),  and dream about life together. It’s my favorite way to spend time with my husband. Plus we derive an exceeding amount of delight from buying drinks at gas stations… (if there is a Quick Trip on any given exit, Ryan IS stopping, no questions asked. Of course, if there’s a Starbucks there, too, we WILL be going. Obvs).
And I love going to all the events of the summer. Conferences seem to abound this time of year. And of course, Ryan works for the NACC which is about to happen in like, two weeks, in Indianapolis, thus requiring extra fortitude and ice cream to maintain sanity. There, we will see both sets of parents, and basically my FAVORITE person ever in the universe, my beloved friend Aimee, who has the most beautiful, fabulous husband and 5 children that I’ve ever met. (It’s slightly redundant to say she’s beloved, since that’s what Aimee means… I suppose I could’ve called her Aimee Beloved just as easily. Or just Aimee… nah.)
Vacations are pretty fab, too. Though our vacation won’t happen til after Christmas, but I’m SO EXCITED we even get to take one and see family!!! We haven’t gone on a vacation just us since our honeymoon. I’m definitely not complaining, however. I mean, we’ve only been married 4 years on June 19th- woohoo!!! (This past Thursday.) In my experience, it’s rare for 20-somethings to have the means to take real vacations.
But traveling in general is delightful, because it usually slakes my desire for adventuring, which I describe in detail here. Other pros of summer: the sun IS pretty nice, colorful and blossoming foliage always a plus (excepting the obvious fact that THEY DRAW OUT THE BEES), and giant, floppy hats are considered an acceptable if not chic accessory. Clouds are pretty awesome, too.
There. I said something nice about summer. I hope yours is glorious and adventuresome and entirely unlike Night on Bald Mountain!
P.S. Autumn will always- ALWAYS- be better.

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