Yesterday began like a lot of Saturdays. I woke up after an evening of Pride and Prejudice watching, sipped some water, and slipped on my running shoes. The great outdoors awaited me, and with Al Letson’s passionate voice telling me tales of education from State of the Re:Union I wound my way up up up up up the longest hill route I know, about twenty minutes of almost only upness. Treating myself at the end of the run, I jogged through the Farmer’s Market and enjoyed the sounds and smells of the marketeers and shoppers just starting to come to life, noting one man who was in awe of the chicken-roaster’s “set-up” as he referred to it, the chicken roaster clearly bored with comments like these from dudes who just have a typical grill at home. An hour from when I left my door, I was back inside.
After a shower, I took a walk in hopes of hitting a friend’s garage sale — only, I had the wrong day. A mile and a half later, I was home again, attempting to do some writing.
Amara, my neighbor, and I had made plans to go hiking, and we hit the redwoods. She’d never been to the park, and seemed to be in awe of shady beauty. We talked almost non stop, not in a spitfire way, but in a lulling rhythm. Amara thinks before she speaks, and the redwoods seem to bring about a sense of mindfulness I don’t always find in urban walks. Everything seemed clearer. Easier. Zen-er (that’s a word, right?). I could feel the path sturdily beneath my feet, I could focus clearly on what Amara was saying. Typically, I enjoy hiking, but this hike was downright blissful. For two hours.
I attempted more writing, slowly making my way through just a few pages, not at all at the fever pitch finger dancing I’m accustomed to. Sooner than seemed possible, it was time to leave, again. My friend Jesse had offered me a ticket to a show. I had no idea who the band was or what sort of music they were going to play, and I didn’t bother to look it up. Walking to the train was another mile, and again I did so with that same overarching sense of peace I had in the redwoods.
Jesse and I were early. To entertain ourselves, we walked into a yellow-house-turned-bar for beer and a shared deep fried Twinkie (which came, to my delight, complete with sprinkles on top). We ambled into the show just as the opener was starting, and the music grooved but there wasn’t much remarkable about it other than it was “fine/good.”
And then. Then, the headlining band came on. GOAT. Four musicians, each wearing some variation of a mask, stood before us, playing slowly with a strong bass line. From almost nowhere, two women dressed in elaborate masks were on stage, dancing with tambourines, occasionally singing, and almost never not moving for the next 90 minutes. The crowd, from the older, bald man dressed in a suit, to myself and Jesse, were swept away in the movement.
Any remnants of the past and future fell away, and I was only me, this being right then and there. No expectations. Nothing but music, dancing, and the sense of being that comes from newness. Post show, drenched in sweat, I walked outside and the cool SF air layered itself onto my face like a piece of lace.
Back at home, I lay under just one blanket, exhausted. My body was alive, tingling and humming, but my head and heart were still just relaxed.
At about minute 3:09 you’ll understand how the show simply became one big freaking non-stop dance party.