Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pea soup

I just finished a late dinner of thick split pea soup and some 梅入りこんぶ茶(ume iri konbucha), a delicious hot drink made of kombu seaweed and salty-sour Japanese plum.
I left the university area tonight after sunset. On my way through the university on the bike path, I heard the unmistakable sound of Native American chanting along with deep rhythmic drumming. I rode to the source, a group of Native American chanters, seated on the grass between the new student union/bookstore and the Mountain Avenue parking lot. There were seven men seated on chairs in a circle around a big drum all drumming and chanting in unison. Standing on the grass near the circle, four Native American women blended their higher voices with those of the men and the drum. I stopped a while listening with my whole body, smiling.

The chanting was so familiar and welcoming. Already, I had had a wonderful afternoon and felt so happy and contented, yet there was even more joy. Even more.

Today, all day, I enjoyed the rare summer treat of clouds covering the sun. In the late afternoon, big cool raindrops landed on my skin for the minute or so that it lasted. Later on, I saw orange-y pink clouds at sunset. I also studied and wrote (translation: I worked on my portfolio). And, on my late afternoon jaunt at epic café, I had a fun conversation about education, bilingual education, and things Asian with a retired UA librarian, followed by a spontaneous visit to the clay studio of one of my former pottery teacher colleagues--where I again met the librarian. After that, I happened upon the chanting and was…well… enchanted . No wonder chanting is part of healing way ceremonies; it makes us whole.

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