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  • Writer's pictureChristine Powers

Coronavirus: Reflections from Sundial Bridge

Be your light in these days of uncertainty; be aware, be open, and you too may meet a unicorn playing a violin and a songstress singing the haunting melody of a mystical land trying to find its way. Aren't we all?

Writing from sunny Redding, CA. It is just beyond dawn here. It is a bit weird here in California with the elusive specter of the coronavirus seemingly permeating everywhere. There is a quiet, subdued energy here, but pretty much business as usual. Less people out and about as we understand it.

We are staying within sight of the Sundial Bridge, a majestic foot bridge that is anchor to a park and biking trails, entertainment center, and coffee shop. It is lovely. Yesterday, after a stroll with our host and friend who is a Philosophers Camp graduate, Larry and I come upon a very young girl playing the violin with her mother and sister eagerly watching from the sidelines. She is not so eager. She plays so earnestly-- honestly rather well, and honestly, rather out of tune. She looks ferocious, angry, like she so does not want to be there, almost demonic. It is oddly mesmerizing. Being a musician, I stop and pay attention, calling Larry back to join me. I watch from many levels, wondering how a child could be so furious; the scowl on her face really moving me backward. At the first break of song, I drop a $5 bill in her violin case, which is empty, thanking this child with a small smile. No reaction. Her mother calls out from 15 feet away to thank me , saying that and that it is how they encourage her to practice. I wish them all good luck (meaning it on multiple levels) and as turn away, the scowl vanishes, a smile as wide as this child's face breaks out, and she begins leaping in the air, doing a "I did it!" champion's dance in silence, as if to keep it secret. There it is!! Her spirit, her joie de vivre, her spunk. She is transformed into a ball of light heartedness and happiness!

Now I understand! The scowl is concentration, and her unicorn backpack and unicorn headband suddenly make sense. Even as I write this, I tear up. And humbly, I am so glad I kept watching, with an open heart and open mind, so that I could experience this enigmatic, bubbly, half-baby violinist.


Continuing on casually across the bridge, taking in the Sacramento River, the people, the birds, holding hands with my beloved, the sounds of a strumming guitar reach me and I hear a female voice singing what sounds like a folk song. She has the perfect voice for it, clear and Joni Mitchell-like, but sweeter. I listen intently for a few reasons: One, I am in love with the lineage of the Sephardic Jewish nigguns (folk songs to God) that had been shared with me during my concert days; second, the guitarists voice just melts me.

Under a gazebo, this singing woman and her male partner are camped out, she singing away and he echoing her voice in a hesitant, soft and sincere approach. It is so cute, clearly he is there as moral support, not talent. But her? Larry walks on, I linger and rest against a pole, closing my eyes. To my amazement, I am instantly transported and my energy field explodes. Where? I cannot even say, and the energy that washes over me soothes my entire system and her voice vibrates my body. Sinking into the unknown words, the music and sounds simply flow through me. She finishes a few minutes later, another $5 bill comes out and I place it in her guitar case, joining two lonely-looking $1 bills. The gratitude from both man and woman is noticeable. It is not the money, it is my appreciation. There is a connection happening. I tell her how beautiful and moving her gift is, and she tears up. And her partner tears up. And I tear up. They thank me with heavy accents I cannot place. Larry is clearly wanting to go, so I begin to move along, not wanting to, but also not wanting to possibly spoil what is a truly magical experience by trying to capture more of it. The moment has passed and I choose not to be greedy. As I am walking away, I turn and ask, "What language were you singing in?" With a smile, she says "Turkish." My mind instantly rifles through all the news stories, the shocking videos, the political mess, all the hardship of the people and refugees. My heart opens even more, love and tenderness filling me. I just made a Turkish connection, knowing that that moment of whatever it was has spilled out far and wide, like ripples on water. Smiling and content, I walk to join my beloved, grasping his hand. All is well, and my heart is full. I am so grateful to be here, now, to have this new day. My invitation to you. In these days, be especially nurturing to yourself, and those around you. Notice. If you can, get outside into nature (a backyard or park will do), smell the proverbial roses, listen to the musicians (and then tip them!). Find gratitude and be that. Be your light in these days of uncertainty; be aware, be open, and you too may meet a unicorn playing a violin and a songstress singing the haunting melody of a mystical land trying to find its way. Aren't we all? With great love and blessings from California, C

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