Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gratitude Bonfire

Julie Norris opened her home on a cool crisp evening for a front porch party. Terry and I arrived in separate cars after a farewell reading at the Kerouac house. There was a wide assortment of whole fresh foods on the porch. Julie is helping me assemble a 2012 Calendar, so I handed her some design elements she had asked for. Julie asked Terry if she wanted some cider and they went into the kitchen to heat some up. I heard music out behind the house so I wandered outside. Julie had a large vegetable garden and I avoided stepping on several large leafed pumpkin vines as I made my way toward the singing.

Perhaps a dozen people were seated around a fire pit, basking in it's warm glow. There weren't any chairs, so I went back to my truck to get my artist's stool. In the light of a street lamp, I was thrilled to see my breath as I exhaled. I rushed back to the fellowship of the fire to warm up. After several songs, I decided I had to try and sketch. When Terry came out, I was surprised that she sat across the fire from me. I relaxed when she started singing and even leading, by looking up lyrics on her iPhone. After we all sang Fulsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash, a woman to my left said we had to see this song sung by a five year old on You Tube. She said it was the funniest thing she had seen in a long time.

Roger and Gailanne Amundsen of Jubal's Kin were relaxing beside the fire. They had just performed at a huge concert at the Citrus Bowl. Gailanne came over to glance at my attempt to catch the firelight. She had seen a previous sketch I did of Jubal's Kin at Urban ReThink and she liked it. It made me happy to rub shoulders with so much raw talent in the hidden dark corners of undiscovered Orlando.We all sang "Hallelujah". Even our imperfect broken harmonies sounded divine. I felt grateful and warm. Perhaps I am in the right place at the right time in this chaos of life. "It was a cold and broken Hallelujah!"

An improvised blues song began and everyone wanted Julie to make up some lyrics. When she sang her blues everyone clapped along with the beat. People joined in adding their own blues to the mix. The warm voices filled the cold void surrounding the fire. Terry was tired and wanted to go home. I rushed the sketch so I would get home soon after her. I hugged Julie to say goodbye and turned my back to the warm glow.