Sunday, April 25, 2010

drumming in the mist

Drumming like a steam train, the youthful Taiwanese rock their drums with prowess. I stand, throat practically drinking the surrounding mist, my lips, teeth and tongue acting as a natural filter for the water to dissipate into my ever-expanding jaw. Little nine year olds playing alongside their brothers. In sync, in beat, they yell and shout and the sticks pound and pound together, a rhythm so ingrained it seems programmed. The little one looks left at the drum leader, then confident, continues on, yelling louder than before. Left, right, pound, pound, pound. The rocking takes hold of me, shakes me like a rattle's tail, and I'm here in the moment, in the beating, the synchrony.

Alongside me, two greats, my roommate Sunny and my great friend and mentor, sir Thomas. Sandwiched among two incredible people. I often have silent moments to myself of thankfulness for falling among these caretakers, or guides that I somehow found, or rather somehow found me. It was with a permanent smile on my face that I knew this was a moment. I looked left and saw Sunny recording the greatness, giving me a look like we
both know just how awesome this is, and then I looked right to see Thomas letting me hold his umbrella, while he takes it all in. They don't know their importance on this journey, but each has me brimming with thanks.

We were here to celebrate a hakka (aboriginal cultural festival) tradition of observing the white falling May flowers. It's a place that Thomas has taken his children to, and now it was time for Sunny and I to take part in the traditional affair. There was a dragon dance and parade, a miniature train ride and a tunnel that when looked into, seemed like looking into a straw. The whole mountain was covered in a blanket of mist. They were gently caressing the sides of boulders, sitting alongside the white flowers of May, and all the while I was breathing them deep. Walking into the mist, out of the mist, looking up into the sky. This is real and this is a journey remembered.

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