My daughter, nephew and I went to the beach. It was still bitter cold. As we got closer to Topsail Island we slowed for the ice and snow covering the roads. We arrive to find the front porch a solid 2 inch sheet of ice. We went to the back door and into the warmth of the loving arms of Marshall’s parents.
On the beach we see our first sunrise. Walton and Saige want to sing “This is the day the Lord has made”. There is snow, sand and surf. We are huddled in blankets, coats and ponchos. Bruno is chasing seagulls.
Mahan & I have our drums. Shortly before sunrise we begin the steady rhythm of what Billy has so faithfully been trying to teach us. Ba dum dum, ba dum dum, sort of. Somehow we veer from the warrior inspired Djembe into our own little heartbeat. The others wake and gather. It is so cold we decide to stay inside and sing. “Here comes the Sun”!
Little Darling, it’s all right.
It is more than all right. It is magical. There are pelicans diving and dolphins jumping and a spectacular sunrise ensues. Saige and Walton decide they will take a polar plunge and Mahan and I help them build their will power with drumming and chanting. We go out with towels and blankets. Walton goes and Bruno follows and then Saige joins them.
We are all so alive in this moment.
Inside waits a hot bath for Walton and a hot shower for Saige. For me there is more coffee and the anticipation of a breakfast that will be nourishing for body and soul.
Heart. Soul of the Sea. I feel like a magic mermaid.
In the kitchen with Terri. We don’t see it but we know it. “Here comes the sun”.
Joni Mitchell “Shine”.
In Scotland there is a lovely woman-child named Lily. She is a poet and so much more. I got an email from her and her song of choice. Together we sang “Cowboy take me away” by the Dixie Chicks.
When I first met Marshall I learned that music and song would be a big part of my new families’ gatherings. Mark, Marshall’s younger brother and his wife Kiran would host Christmas dinners and after the meal there would be singing accompanied by Lee on violin, Mark on guitar and Dan on piano. My first experience with this came with a little piece of paper in which the words to “Come thou Fount” was printed. I still have that little piece of paper. That was one of my all time favorite hymnals. I love that song. Somehow that little piece of paper was like a light behind the crack of an open door. It let me into a family that didn’t know me and that I didn’t know.
Mark and Kiran came and shared dinner with us and stayed in the guest room last night. First to leave was Kiran for work. Shortly before sunrise Mark emerged. We would sing some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above. On the back deck we faced east, faced loss, and faced life. Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it, Mount of thy redeeming love.
Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away
Saige is leaving soon. She has a beautiful voice and she keeps encouraging me about mine. Johnny has come into town and I am so happy to see him and catch up. It is his birthday and yet he treats us to lunch. Saige, Johnny and I talk about the past, the art of growing mushrooms, career choices, love and dating and what life has been like for him. I listen to him give Saige advice and I realize I have known him since he was close to her age. I am so grateful for his friendship and for this moment. Lunch is over and Johnny stands to leave. It is nice to know someday he’ll be back.
The Avett Brothers understand some days are harder than others. We can’t be in love like in the movies. In spite of putting one foot in front of the other I am still in love with a man that is only colors out of reach. So this sunrise is full of memories of being Swept Away.
Cheryl Crow and I Shall Believe. This morning I got an encouraging email from a friend. She was inspired to rise early and sing too. I asked her what she sang and she said she just made it up as she went along. I loved that!
One of the reasons I started this journey was because of a story Jeanine told me over Thanksgiving. It is about Alfred Tomatis, a French physician, psychologist and ear specialist, who is famous for having studied how chanting affected a group of French Benedictine monks. In the late 60’s a new abbot came into the monastery and in an effort to create more efficiency he cut out chanting. This didn’t go so well for the monks. They developed illnesses. Tomatis was called in to find out what was wrong with them. He believed the monks “had been chanting in order to ‘charge’ themselves.” He then encouraged them to begin chanting again and it was found to be invigorating and healing for the monks.
I could use some of that. So I sing.
This morning I sing a chant I learned in yoga.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all”.