Friday, September 18, 2009

Ribbons of Rhythm

This last Wednesday, I was flying back to the US from Ottawa, Canada. Leaning to my left, I look through the thick glassy like substance of the airplane window out onto Lake Michigan. The water is reflecting the shine of the sun, the ripples in the lake move like invisible ribbons catching the very lip of the water. A swirl forms, moving out, the winding back, to and fro, back and forth over and over again.

Leaning against that stubbly tubular plastic of the airplane, I can feel the memory sink again. Standing in a music room hallway, composed of soundproofing and dark grey carpet, an aging rocker was telling me how all of life can be seen with rhythms and patterns. I remember the ability of this musician; he had a way to understand rhythm in music, the patterns of percussion. But, he also understood that beyond the composition and score of a symphony, the skilled pounding on a drum set, the smoothness of a marimba, life the very world is composed of patterns and rhythms. Some we see easily such as the tides, embracing the shore and then pushing away at expected times. Others require more thought to observe, the structure of a leaf, the way a dog’s fur coat falls into a certain pattern, the swirl of color from a hummingbird, even the internal rhythm of our heart.
There are other less palpable patterns which I can’t see, but instead feel the ribbon swirl around me, pulling me along. It is the rhythm of life, growth and failure, rising and falling, hurting and healing, loving and hating, remember and forget. The thing about the rhythms in my own life is that I can often not see the beribboned pattern until after I am caught up in the eddy. Instead, I seek a center, a buoy which will hold fast to the center and keep me on a concentrated nucleus. Then, the patterns and rhythms, they move around the fixed point, keeping me steady.

I am wondering what the next swirl of the rhythm will hold. As one part ended, another must begin. What that will look like, where it will lead – I don’t know. But, I do know that the crux of the rhythm is something I have already found my stability in.