Oh, this evening was one of those curiously circular experiences that I seem to keep noticing lately. One of those moments when I feel all of the key points in my life passing each other as they circle around and come back into sync with each other for brief moments.
Tonight I talked Paul into making the 2 hour drive out to the Berkshires for some live music.
Oh, not Tanglewood! Nope, not for us.
We were headed for an outdoor concert on the shores of a small pond in the tiny Berkshire town where our two sons now live. It’s kind of a cool story, really. Our boys used to play music together when they were in Middle School and High School. One of them is the bass player, one the drummer. We were lucky enough, as the parents of the drummer, to host the band in our basement for 6 very interesting years. We went through a lot of musical growth together, including a somewhat challenging “MetalHead” phase.
But eventually, everyone grew up, and the boys moved out. The music was gone from our house. The nest was empty.
Now, five years later, our boys have come together again. Laughing together. Living together. Sharing a fabulous friendship with a truly amazing group of friends in the old city of North Adams, Mass, in the gorgeous Berkshire Mountains. And making music together again.
Our boys, along with several friends, were playing a free concert sponsored by the City of North Adams. “Flannel Dan and the Panhandle Band” were the featured band tonight. We were pretty excited!
So we packed a delicious picnic, loaded up our lawn chairs, and headed out to the shores of lovely Windsor Lake in North Adams. The sun was setting, and the golden light covered the lake and the trees. There was a sweet, cool breeze blowing over the people who were scattered across the lawn. We broke out our cheese and crackers, our salsa and chips while we waited for the band to begin playing.
We looked around at the rest of the audience, which was made up of surprisingly “mature” people. Most were white haired (like us!), but there were also a few clusters of young families, as well as several groups of twenty somethings who were mostly friends of the musicians.
I found myself looking with some longing at one young Momma with a tiny boy in her arms, wrapped in one of the silky baby carrier wraps that I recognized from my own daughter. I approached her to admire the baby, and found that he was exactly 4 days younger than my new granddaughter. He was just beautiful! I wanted to hold him (I really, really, really wanted to hold him!) but I reigned myself in. I introduced myself to his pretty young Mom, who turned out to be a friend of our sons. I admired the little one, and went back to my picnic and to “Grampa”.
The music was really wonderful; we haven’t heard our boys perform with a full band for years now. We were both amazed at the professionalism and the ease of the performance.
But I was distracted. I have to admit it. I was distracted by the beauty of the sky, and the lake and late summer scents.
And I was distracted by the antics of a tiny golden haired boy, about a year old, who wandered away from his Dad to cross behind the band. His huge, serious eyes and the way that he kept looking behind him to make sure that his Daddy was following reminded me so much of my Matt, the bass player, when he was that age. Wanting to explore, needing to be safe.
I was distracted, too, by the energy and joyful clowning of the three year old boy whose Mom sat on a blanket next to ours, eating her picnic sandwich and trying to entice her child to share. He, however, could not be bothered with mere food. He was too busy racing around in circles, dancing with both hands held to the sky, and hurling himself onto the blanket in a tangle of legs, flailing arms and bright red sneakers.
He could have been my Tim, the drummer, at the very same age. The sparkle of mischief in his eyes had tears coming to mine.
I sat back in my camp chair. I held Paul’s hand and let the rich harmonies of our sons’ voices swirl around us. I was so happy to see the strong, talented, happy young men that they have become. I looked at them, smiling at the beards, the height, the muscles in their arms.
I looked around me, saw the dancing little boy, the carefully exploring little boy. I let my eyes rest on the sweet face of the newborn son in his Momma’s arms.
Every moment, every sweet memory of my years with my boys, went spinning and swirling and circling through my brain.
The music washed over me. The sound of little boys giggling filled my heart.
It was a beautiful, harmonious, circular evening in the Berkshires tonight. Life is a beautiful gift. It brings us new ways to love our children as they grow. It shows us new ways to admire and appreciate them with every step that they take.
And sometimes life gives us an evening full of music and harmonies and perfect rhythms that are accompanied by the sounds of a baby’s cry, a toddler’s laugh, a little boy’s joyful shout as he dances to the ringing of the guitars.