Last night in the cool of the evening I was picking strawberries. I have found that if I don’t pick them at night that I will lose some to slugs, those slimy nocturnal destroyers of garden dreams. Fortunately they only eat the fully ripe. I was also losing some to raccoons but I recently completed an electric fence addition to my deer/rabbit/groundhog fence and (knock on wood) it seems to be holding so far though I know the critters are circling circling circling and probing and if there is a weak spot they will find it.
It was a nice evening, quiet except for the virtuoso concert being performed by our local mockingbird and the distant noise of traffic from Route 250 that when absorbed in gardening activities fades into imperceptibility.
What penetrated my meditation was the sound of multiple sirens heading south from the Limestone Fire House on 250. That is not that uncommon, but what I can perceive is when they turn down unto our ridge — instead of fading in volume as they pass our ridge it maintains it. I was trying to focus on my picking but as they turned the corner by Tejo’s, about a quarter mile away, I couldn’t restrain myself and walked out to the state road that runs by my house.
I was expecting either an ambulance indicating some medical emergency or car accident or a fire truck. I was surprised to see a white pickup truck with racks and tools in the back but with a siren and flashing lights go by. It didn’t say Limestone Fire on it. Then a similar vehicle went by and this time I thought I read the word “Gas” on it, which could have been my fears of a gas well explosion on the Snyder farm next to us where the new well has been drilled manipulating my imagination.
Normally when sirens go by I just wait and then start calling folks up the ridge to find out what happened, but I heard a fourth siren so I felt a compulsion to follow this one. I backed out my driveway and into the lane leading to Balabhadra’s and waited facing head out.
This was another ambulance that slowed down, pulled into my driveway, and turned around going back in the direction it came from. This was puzzling to me and I thought maybe it had turned out to be false alarm but it kept its siren on so then I thought maybe they had been given bad directions.
I was about to get back to picking strawberries when I heard still another siren coming out the ridge so I waited. This time it was a police car, driving under the speed limit but still all lights falshing and sirens. This time I was unable to restrain myself and started out to follow it. After I got to Tom Bock’s turn, the white pickup trucks and the first ambulance passed me going the ofter direction.
I was relieved nothing bad had happened on the ridge and since by this time I well on my way to the temple I decided to continue and check out what was happening. As I pulled in and parked I could hear there was chanting in the temple so I went in.
A middle aged Indian woman was rocking the house with a powerful voice belting out a traditional ISKCON kirtan. My physical energies ebb and flow over time, and usually by this time of the day I am pinned to the couch flat on my back with fatigue, but after listening for a bit I felt the soft silk ropes let down by Radharani circle my wrists and pull my hands up over my head. The vibration of the music (voice, mdrdanga, karatalas, harmonium and saxophone) traveled through the floor and started pushing up on the bottoms of my feet and before I knew it I was dancing.
Then I caught the wave and I could have been thirty again– I was in the flow and on top of my game and I was carried away where physically I normally can’t go, both in terms of physical exertion in regards to individual moves and to the duration of time I was able to continue.
The 24 Hour Kirtan was 12 hours away from starting but if that was all I am able to participate — knowing that any dance could be my last — I would die with a smile on my lips.