In This Place

Layne Redmond

Have you ever found yourself at a place, or an event, where you were uncomfortable and felt like you didn’t quite  belong, but yet you KNEW you were supposed to be there?

Today at the Asheville Percussion Festival, a memorial Celebration of Life for Layne Redmond closed out the three-day event. I never met Layne. I only know her through her book, When the Drummers Were Women, which I added to my library and  read through long before I finally began to learn to drum, plus a handful of YouTube videos. The room was full of those who had been her friends, her students, people with some sort of personal connection to her. I had none.

But when the prior workshop ended and I thought about leaving, I didn’t. I moved my seat and my drums away from the front of the room, but I stayed in the room. When everyone sang, I sang. When everyone joined the processional, drums playing, out to the waterfall, I thought again about leaving, but instead I pulled out my deyereh, bought just the previous day, and joined in. I played through the ceremony, while Layne’s ashes were passed in their bowl from person to person, scattered to the four corners of the Serenity Garden, and eventually given to the waterfall. I said my own blessing and goodbye to her spirit as the bowl came to me, though I never knew her in this world. I did not leave until everything ended and everyone began to go their way back out into the world.

Maybe the only reason I was compelled to stay was to bless and charge my new drum? Maybe it was simply to acknowledge Layne’s influence, however small and remote, on me? Whatever. There was some powerful energy moving at OM Sanctuary in Asheville this weekend, crescendoing to a climax this afternoon, and I was a teeny weeny little mote of a part of it, for whatever reason.