Friday, March 24, 2006

Have a Day!

I'm sitting at the edge of Lake Togo playing djembe with Alama. The lines I'm slapping down are relatively complex, but he's literally playing figure eights around me, wrapping his rhythm around mine and meeting me on the upbeat. As my mind and ego shut down I begin to play unconsciously. My attention is drawn to the lake. It's a windy day, the waves pushed into small chop. I begin to accent my playing whenever I spy a whitecap.

Lately, my attention is drawn to the shape water takes. This cold winter, I watched a dozen or so surf films. Whenever I drive along the coast, I start to check out conditions. The funny thing is that I haven't surfed in twenty-five years. This stretch of coast is famous for winter swells, bringing surfers from across the nation who try to ignore how friggin cold their faces are. When summer comes back, I may go in myself.

My thoughts here are much like waves and as they move of their own volition, oblivious to obstacle, I digress. Earlier when I picked up Alama, I realized, embarrassed that I'd been playing his CD in my truck. I quickly replaced it with "Pulse! A Stomp Odyssey." He seemed to enjoy this aural document on drumming from across the world. Then as one track came on he said happily, "These are my Friends!" The National Drummers of Guinea.

At home, I pulled out my latest read, "Tuesdays with Morrie." The book came to my attention when I noticed it on the bookshelf of my dad, then in his final months. For years afterward, I'd often see the book in airports or restaurants back home. Reading it was like wearing a badge saying, "Someone I love is dying." But we're all dying, and the book's message echoes what I said this week. Embrace Life. Give it a big fat wet sloppy kiss too.

On the turntable: Alama Dioubate, "Femmes du Monde"
On the nighttable: Mitch Albom, "Tuesdays with Morrie"

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