It may be a grey and drizzly day today, but this will not detract from my good mood, for which I have 2 very distinct reasons. The first of which is this: passing by a field on my way to the shops earlier, my heart leapt when I saw the storks had returned from wherever it is they spend the winter, and were busy foraging for frogs.
(I looked it up: apparently, a group of these birds is called 'a muster' or 'phalanx of storks').
I also looked up where the word 'stork' came from; from Proto-Germanic sturkuz, Modern English stark, it is believed to be a description of the birds' general appearance. The etymology of the Dutch word, 'ooievaar', can be explained to mean he wades in swampland.
The second reason is that I will be a soloist in this year's Easter Vigil Mass.
Last autumn, I joined the church choir, after various members as well as the two conductors of it had been pestering me for months. They believed that a lector who reads with such a 'melodious' voice (their word, not mine) would automatically be able to sing as well. Initially, I was very sceptical; but in the end, I let myself be persuaded to audition, thinking that if they heard me sing, they'd realise their mistake and that would be the end of it.
In primary school, our headmaster was also our music teacher. I was 6 when I sang for him. He sent me to the speech therapist, convinced there was something wrong with me. The speech therapist sent me straight back to school with a message for the headmaster that there was nothing she could or even needed to do, as I did not have an impediment - I just had a low voice. Mr. Lina then told me that my voice was all wrong for singing, and wouldn't allow me to open my mouth in any of the school's plays, musicals or recitals. Instead, he gave me the stupid woodblock to play.
Our church's choir masters/mistress teach at the Royal Conservatory. When nervously I sang for them, 45 years after Mr. Lina had told me I didn't have the apparatus for singing, they heard something they liked: a woman who could sing the tenor part. And it just so happened that our choir was low on tenors...really low. In actual fact, there was only one. Sopranos, apparently, are a dime a dozen, and the same goes for the basses. Altos are in shorter supply, but we still have 6 or 7. But tenors are really sought after, and not just in our choir, I'm told.
Anyway, to cut a long story short: even though I still can't read a note of music, I'm getting so much enjoyment out of singing, that the prospect of getting up in front of 1,200 people and leading the choir as a soloist on this one festive occasion doesn't faze me at all. In fact, I'm very much looking forward to it.