Friday, November 2, 2007

Happiness is...

coming home from a long, grueling night at work to find my two boys happily banging away on my drums.

Emmett, 7, is the best, so he gets to use the new drum. Noah, 10, acknowledges that in this, Emmett rules.

My exhaustion dissipates and I pull rank and take the big drum. Emmett gets the medium one and Noah takes the mini.

Then we, all three, start playing one of the rhythms of Sidiyasa.

At one point the older one gets up and starts dancing. It is so hilarious I come up with a challenge: if he can make me laugh hard enough to mess up my rhythm, he wins.

He wins.

We all win.

I love the smell of my new drum. When I come home and open the door, there is a faint goat smell in the house. When I play, my hands smell of it... and the fragrance wafts up as I hit the drumhead. I am building sense memory. I imagine that when I am old and frail and unable to play or do much of anything, I will be able to conjure the smell of this beautiful drum. My first serious instrument. I want to sink in it's smell, sometimes, like when you bury your face in the coat of your dog (or rabbit!). I lean over and lay my cheek on the tight leather and just inhale as deeply as I can.

Then I play.

Then breathe it in.

Then play.

When I was thinking of buying a drum, I told my friend Lucia that I was going to choose by smell. "I want the stinkiest one" I said. I am going to sniff my way through the drums until I find one so smelly I will, like an animal mother, be able to recognize it by the scent.

Nguyen finds this all a little odd. But I bet if we found a drum that smelled of his childhood, he would understand completely. Fish sauce or thousand day old eggs or tea growing in a field or the incense from the monastery at the bottom of the hill.

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