Recently, I was looking for a letter that a lovely sister wrote to me after a show I performed last year.
I found the letter safely tucked into a notebook that I unearthed while Rona-cleaning, ready to be used again. I didn't re-read the letter then though. I planned to do so in the still of the evening when my attention wasn't split between 10 other projects bubbling and buzzing around...
It was also a couple of days ago that Facebook reminded me of a show I performed one year ago. And it occurred to me that it was after THIS show that I received the letter. From Queen Patrice.
The letter was a beautiful gesture, hand-written in a beautiful, thoughtful flourish, full of beautiful words, and a beautiful heart-felt reminder of a beautiful shared experience of music and intention. I met Patrice, she randomly hanging out under the awning of a heath-food store. Her energy, swag, and grace pulled us into a brief and deep conversation and I invited her to the upcoming set.
Queen Patrice's joyous exuberance shown in the the video and experienced in the room by everyone in the place, led her to write a 3 page letter to me. This clip is just a moment in one song of 11 or 12 that we played. Patrice was invested in the music from the first note. Even before the set began, we met outside the venue - Patrice decked out in her summer finest, comes sashaying down the block to hug before she went excitedly - to take her seat.
Today I picked up the letter. And I noticed the date.
One year ago. Today.
Finding the letter gave me a moment of reflection that I am so grateful to recognize in this moment. In the midst of critical social and psychological dis-ease, I - like many other humans am trying to navigate a crumbling first world empire intact. Its almost impossible to imagine thriving in such a time. Finding this letter today reminds me of the power of imagination, the healing power of music. That this woman shared her heart with me personally and within the music means a great deal to me. And it gives me so much hope again.
This letter from one year ago reconfirmed for me what I had accomplished in 365 days. I began to remember the how thankful and lucky I am, that friends would travel hundreds of miles after work to make it on time to play with me. Or catch planes. And bring beautiful young daughters so they can watch Mommy BLOW. (And in my personal case, BLOW WITH Mommy!) Or leave the set when its over and in an hour, come to my house with a fully realized song of their own, written and recorded in their car, because they were so moved. All those things happened one day. So many things have happened in the other 364 days. the range of life experience has been vast notwithstanding the last 6 months of earth' history. I am so happy I have another chance to get it right. That letter makes me "count my blessings". And to NOT RELENT. DO NOT GIVE UP.
I often think of Queen Patrice. Her story touched my heart the way such stories connect us over time and distance. She has a joyous energy that impacted me from the moment I met her. I looked forward to sharing more with her as a sister and encouraging her as a poet. Because she shared that she wanted to immerse herself there.
In short order I could see her challenges pressing on her spirit. Keeping her lifted whenever I saw her was my best effort. The human heart is so fragile. Its a tender thing. I am reminded of that tenderness by the letter she wrote. I don't ever want to forget to treat humans with respect and tenderness whenever I can. Queen Patrice helped me grow the expanse of my own weary heart.
After a time, she disappeared as suddenly as she appeared. I hope that she is fine. I know that she like all of us, has suffered some misfortune and some great increase. I hope that her circumstance is manageable and her health is intact and her family is whole, in the best way it can be...
And for all beings.
One year ago. Today.
*The song in the video is GIRL VS DOUBT written by Shena Verrett via Waberi Jordan