Crazy weeks. June is one hectic month. Still cooling down from the run with lots of percolating thoughts.
I knew the drum 'recital' event was going to be cool. How could it not be? Joining 50 drummers, all students of Zorina Wolf, at the New Guinea Sculpture Garden at Stanford University in Palo Alto was an exciting prospect, to say the least. Being there with close friends and fellow tribe members clearly had the makings of a great experience.
I had no idea.
First, the place. The New Guinea Sculpture Garden defies description. You really need to be there to get it. I tried to find photos online that conveyed some sense of the place (click on the garden link above and scroll down), but ultimately, it is about spirit. Photos cannot begin to convey just how powerful this place is. I walked into the garden with Brad, my cousin Torsten, and friend Bill, and it felt electric.
I am reminded how blessed I am to have stumbled into Zorina's class. How friends Keith and Craig kept mentioning it, and how long it took to get me there. One class and I bought a drum. Djembe permeated my soul. Zorina is a person so deliciously out there doing what she loves to do... very clear... saying what she thinks ('Well that sounded like shit... but I know we can do it!')... while also amazingly patient ('Great! Now try moving your hand just a little further onto the drum and see what happens').
Excitement built as we set up. Further as people arrived. Zorina offering gin (only really good gin) :)) to the spirits in our opening circle of drummers. Singing as we made our way into the garden to our drum circle. Anticipation as we leapt into rhythms. A bit unsure and cautiously at first... not really being sure where we were going. Quickly getting over that as the audience responded and people started dancing in the circle of drummers, anchored by huge totem poles.
Being swept away. My smile could not have been broader. I felt such an incredible upwelling of joy! Seeing Alan, Carla, Sam, Brad, and Bill, among the dancers brought so much joy to the surface. Watching the dancers get into the rhythm, being part of the rhythm with my fellow drummers, exchanging glances and smiles. Sensing, knowing without thinking, just how amazing this thing was that we all created together.
The interplay of dancers and drums. Being conscious of the dancing pace. Feeling the energy of the drumming reflected back and going back out again. Feeling the rhythm. Feeling the energy build. Feeling. Sensing. Aware. At some point there was no thinking in this mix. Being on autopilot. Feeling the energy through my body, my hands, my drum, the drummers around me, the dancers, the sculptures, the earth. Not creating distinctions, simply being with it. Feeling the joy. Feeling the love in that very moment. And the next.
Building and building the energy, feeling the rhythm, hands flying, bodies flying, embracing joy and going with it, feeling every ounce. Back and forth, dialog coming from someplace deep inside our bodies.
Closing with more singing. Sharing food afterward. Knowing we had all just shared something incredibly special. Our creation. Our shared soul-baring journey.