It is Sunday, September fifth, 2010 as I write this. At 7:30 in the evening, the sun has gone down low enough that it would now be dark in the forest, and long sleeves are going to be necessary when I venture outside. It is the first weekend of school season here in Nova Scotia.
As a boy, Sunday evening meant the Ed Sullivan show: I saw all my favourite musical acts there; The Beatles, the Dave Clark 5, The Hollies, The Doors, and Petula Clarke whose music still touches me in a way that no one else’s can.
As I grew older and became a teenager, I began playing music on the weekends. During the summer when there was no school, it was easy to overlook Sunday other than the fact that I had more money than my friends because of the weekend’s gigs, but as September came and school resumed, Sunday meant a restful turning point for me. It was the end of the combined activities of the week and weekend. Friday wasn’t really restful because after school I would have to prepare for the night’s performance. After we finished the gig, we’d often end up at an all night diner a few kilometres from home and stay there literally all night. Saturday there was always a basketball game or other activity at the school and I’d be there with all my friends, then perform again that night and again, spend the night at the diner. Sunday was either more activities at the school or jamming with friends other than the band. Sunday evening marked the end of the partying and activity.
After I finished high school, I worked at day jobs, again performing on the weekends, but even my non-musician friends among you will recognize the pattern: I play music; you listen to it or dance to it, but the continuation from week to weekend really seems uninterrupted and seamless.
Once I became a professional musician, we’d most often be booked in a venue for six consecutive nights before heading on to the next one. Sunday was travel day and upon checking into the hotel in the next town, Sunday night would once again be a time of rest for me.
I began to appreciate the pattern last year while living in Fredericton and working for Los Cabos drumsticks. The weekend was a time of doing the things that didn’t get done during the week; laundry, grocery shopping, and of course cycling and visiting friends and family members.
Yesterday, a tropical storm (what was left of Hurricane Earl) blew through the area, leaving us without power for over fifteen hours. As darkness fell, I sat on the couch, looking out my living room window at the frantic activities of the villagers. Cars left driveways and returned, flashlights bobbed as people walked, or ran, often no further than next door. It was as if everybody suddenly had more to do than normal. Eventually I began to resent all the lights interrupting the darkness. Once the clouds cleared, there were more stars than I have seen since my last wilderness camping trip many years ago. It was hot in the house and I was perfectly contented to sit and do nothing, hear nothing, see nothing.
With no electricity, there was no TV, no computer, no reading, no streetlights... No need... no urgency to do anything other than just BE!
Tonight, as I sit here in my “Zen Zone,” again, there is no TV, no music playing, hardly any lights on in the house. I appreciate these moments of silent inactivity in a life full of doing, in a world full of noise.