Very late at night in the back room at a quiet diner in Manhattan. An omelette... home fries... toast... coffee. Alone. No words. No sounds. Just a tightly closed overcoat and a smile here and there as she listens to our conversations.
Music is a major part of me. It moves me. It energizes me. It calms me. It shapes and forms me.
I probably spend more on my music addiction than on anything else. According to my iTunes store purchase history, I tend to buy around two dozen albums per month... and that doesn't include any actual CDs I buy from stores or Amazon or wherever... or any CDs that I borrow from friends and import to my computer and iPod.
My iPod is a constant companion. At the moment, it has well over 900 different albums on it... and I have many I haven't even bothered to import to my computer yet. There's still plenty of space left on it's hard-drive... so the collection will keep growing and growing and growing.
And if I'm not listening to music... there's a good chance that I'm making it, in some way. Cedar Flutes... Guitars... Keyboards...
... and my favorite of all - drums.
We have a nice little collection of hand-drums going. From big Djembes... to small Tom-Tom drums... to my Bodhran...
... and my favorite of all - my Ashiko.
My Ashiko was a pre-wedding present from my wife, Holly. It's one-of-a-kind... and was custom built for me, according to my specifications: Natural-finish Birch shell, 22" high... 9" Calf-skin head, instead of goat-skin... 12 wooden beads used to tighten the ropes and tune the head. It allows me to get deep tones as if it were a much larger Djembe... and tinny, ringing highs - as if it were a much smaller, ceramic Doumbek.
Over the past 10 1/2 years my drum and I have seen a lot together. Countless drum circles in the deep of the woods... under the Full Moon. Large public drum circles and gatherings. Rituals and Ceremonies. Birthings and Initiations. Memorial Services and Funerals.
When we had a house fire in 2003, we lost over 90% of our belongings... including about a half-dozen drums... but my Ashiko was spared, even though it was resting within a foot of where the fire broke out.
My Ashiko is a sacred object to me. It doesn't matter how long it has been since the last time I've played... I can pick it up, and within moments find myself lost in a beat... in a drum-trance - which can last for hours-upon-hours.
There have been many nights when I've drummed for so long that I have absolutely no sense of time... of where, or even "who" I am. I come out of the drum-trance and only know that I "am"... and that my hands are pulsing... throbbing... and numb from their beating.
And I feel truly alive!
* * *
This shot is a close up of one of the tuning beads on my Ashiko... pulled down to tighten the head.
I confess... I have a bit of an addiction to Dunkin Donuts coffee. I know it's technically not "good quality" coffee... but I love it... and firmly believe that it blows away the crap they serve at Starsucks. Besides... growing up in Connecticut, Dunkin Donuts just becomes a part of your life!
I love it so much... that I sort of "stole" a bit of Dunkin Donuts for my house a while back. Well... "stole" might be a bit of a strong word... considering that the item in question - a 4-foot by 8-foot Dunkin Donuts sign - was actually in a dumpster, after a local DD was renovated. Still... I had to have it - so in the dead of night, Holly and I grabbed said signage, and - finding that it was much, much bigger than we had anticipated - put it on top of our car... and each held it down with one hand out the window while we drove as slowly as we could to get home safely.
Now we have this huge Dunkin Donuts sign... and no place to put it. So... for the time being, it rests on our front porch.
Today I'm home due to "Snowpocalypse 2010" (the storm that was supposed to bring us 18" of snow by now... yet so far only brought about an inch!). Schools are closed... my job was closed... so we're all home... waiting for the snow to come. I grabbed my camera and head outdoors - hoping to find something snow-covered to photograph... but nothing jumped out at me.
Nothing... that is... except the light shining through the Dunkin Donuts sign on the porch. Zoom... focus... snap... capture...
... head back inside to brew a pot of Dunkin Donuts coffee.
Still sick. Slept for most of the day... again. Stumbled into the kitchen to find my son doing his reading homework... even though the coming snowstorm almost ensures that there won't be school tomorrow.
Brandon... sitting by himself in the kitchen... completely lost in a book about reptiles.
I'm sick... again. Slept for most of the day. Realized I hadn't snapped a photo. Reached over... grabbed camera... pointed it towards Holly without even framing the shot... snapped... put camera away... returned to resting.
My first new pair of frames in five years. Don't have much need for them, usually - since I wear contacts most of the time. Still... there's something "fun" about getting a new pair. Maybe it's the fact that a new style of frames creates a bit of a new image... a new "you". I don't know.
New glasses... a very different style from any pair I've ever had. Usually I go for frames that "disappear"... but these tend to "stand out" more.
Those who know me well know that I'm a die-hard NASCAR fan... and will be an Earnhardt fan until the day I die!
This weekend will be the "Unofficial Start" to the 2010 season. Daytona 500 Qualifying is Saturday afternoon... so is the ARCA race... and the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona is Saturday night. Pair that all up with the Super Bowl being Sunday (which I'm REALLY happy about, considering that the Colts happen to be my favorite team) and, well... it's going to be one hell of a sports weekend!
So tonight I'm getting ready. Watching SPEED channel's coverage of the starting lineup selection for the Bud Shootout... listening to driver interviews... and getting worked up for what I think is going to be one hell of a season!
So just a quick shot tonight of a couple of my Dale Earnhardt Jr. die-cast cars...
I have a broom which was custom made for me. A long natural wood handle... and round brush. It was made by Richard Moore... a Master Shaker Broom-maker. I know it sounds a little strange... (and if you know anything of my spiritual beliefs you might understand) but I love my broom! It is wonderful to sweep with... and, when not in use - hangs in a place of honor, beside our front door... keeping watch over our home.
In case you didn't know it already - a broom can be a very, very powerful object. I've swept away the dust of many unwanted memories with that broom... and today, as I prepare myself for the next part of my journey - I once again sweep away the remnants of the unwanted... in anticipation of the possibilities of the future.
My canvas is now a blank one... waiting to be filled!