Monday, October 18, 2010

The Hills Are Alive

A bit of happy news for once, so I am going to forgo updates on the cleanup and whatnot. 

My brother has been working on something fun, and he's been sort of secretive about it. Yesterday morning he showed the rest of us what it was, and we had a good time. 

For about two weeks he's had a tarp thrown up over a small section of the empty lot next to what used to be my mom's house and is now our clinic. He's been hammering and sawing wood in his free hours in there, but wouldn't tell anyone what he was up to. Of course, the rest of us weren't going to cheat and look in there. We get precious little entertainment, and guessing what he's been up to has been a minor passtime for most of us.

So yesterday he just takes the tarp down early in the morning. Not very many people were out and about, and the few that were active were mostly guards and had more important things to worry about. 

I woke up to beautiful music.

Dave built a little theater, open to the air. It's about twenty feet across and maybe fifteen deep, all stage covered by a slanted roof. The roof is covered in solar panels, and he rigged up an array of batteries for storage. He built speaker cabinets into the thing, and after he got it all set up yesterday, he plugged in his electric acoustic and began to play. 

At first it was just random bits and pieces of songs. People all over woke up to the softly echoing notes, many of us throwing on boots over our pajamas and walking over to see what was going on. 

By the time I got there, a few people had joined in. Roger was there, singing in a strong and steady voice. A man whose name I don't know played the harmonica. Two sisters began a clapping rhythm to go with the song. 

The rest of the compound woke up to this spontaneous rendition of amazing grace. 

I left religion behind me a long time ago. I am spiritual and I do believe in a higher power, a creative force that we cannot begin to understand. I think that the message gets muddled because of our faults, that men who build institutions of faith build the flaws of men into them. But yesterday, I felt something much like I once did in church. The song moved me, to be sure, but more so was the power of the moment. So many of us brought together by those tender vibrations, singing the same words and laughing together at our varied abilities to carry tunes and find notes. 

The truly wonderful part of it was watching it grow and change. Other folks came on stage to sing or dance, play an instrument or simply drum on a bucket. It went on all day. It was awesome. 

I didn't know until this weekend just how much we needed fun. We've been so laser focused on surviving and meeting the needs for our near future that we've ignored the things that bring us joy. Music is like a fine oil that keeps the gears of my soul moving, and I had all but ignored it. Small pleasures, gathering together to forget our differences and simply have a good time as a community...maybe this is what we've been missing this whole time. 


  1. I love music. I've been singing and chanting a bit on my own and with a few like-minded individuals, but this new theatre surpasses anything we've seen or heard since the fall. It's beautiful.

  2. The paragraph about the feeling an emotion you felt in church years ago is one of the most well spoken pieces I've ever read.