Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ignorance: is it bliss?

The Saturday that followed was spent in the surprisingly satisfying task of cutting up what we now refer to as “green waste” into the robust biodegradable bags that our local authority makes available for fortnightly collection. Why, though, had I loitered listlessly in the cool of the house in the morning, leaving the strains of mowing the lawn to my wife? Why was I so breathless as I lifted cases of drums and percussion instruments downstairs in readiness for a workshop the following morning?

Sunday offered more lively distractions. The workshop—the first my colleague and I had conducted for a few years—was a great success. Warm, welcoming clients; agreeable rural surroundings; conversations and jokes on the road to and from; creativity and great rhythm from all involved. Feedback, followed up in writing, spoke of “beautiful work” and a session that was “beautifully judged, expertly facilitated and full of heart”. Please do not think I boast, dear Reader. The success of drumming depends on sensing divisions in time and marking them, typically playing against and around them in a creative way. It is a process as natural as breathing and as instinctive as play. Practice improves skill, but does not change the nature of the process or confer virtue. We enjoy what we do as musicians and are thankful for opportunities to share our joy.

I mention all this, not only so that you may begin to glimpse the principles that from time to time I remember and that bring me peace and consolation amid the hurly-burly of daily experience, but also to point a contrast with the embarrassment I felt when making simple errors of coordination and dropping instruments hitherto easy to hold and play. It was disturbing, but the demands of the moment drove me on.

Sunday was also our wedding anniversary and I was able to get back to the relaxed intimacy of an Indian buffet lunch with family: my beloved wife of 23 years, my rock, my constant, the owner of my heart; our son, the keen medical student; his girlfriend, student of theology and psychology, of whom we are very fond; our gentle daughter, about to enter her A-Level year.

The food was good, I was on a high and our celebration was of the best that life can bring. We love each other.

This was not a day of ignorance; it was a time of mercy and, yes, it was bliss.

Where we had the workshop

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