Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blossoms Flowering

It was a night of delightful jazz. Vibes, cello, percussion and vocals all swirled and leapt and spun forth a rich tapestry.

This was the gift of Primal Mates, the chamber jazz duo of Chris Lee and Colleen O’Brien. Superbly talented individually, together they lit up the stage. Conversing with one another in clear, vibrant sound, with notes both planned and improvised, they mixed their own compositions with those of others, often adding original lyrics of pure poetry.

One line, set to a tune by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, has stayed with me. “Like a blossom flowers, without knowing why…” Those words speak of the Essence that shines through each of us, bringing us to the fullness of flower, if we only let it~~and even when we resist. 

And as the lyric asserts, we can never fully grasp that process. While most of us have our pet theories, perhaps some firmly held spiritual beliefs, just like those blossoms flowering, we can’t truly fathom the Mystery of it all. No, our human minds are too limited for such vastness. Always thinking, rehearsing, reliving, preferring this to that, fashioning images in our own likeness for good or ill, we are too often pulled away from a direct experience of what is.

How often, for example, do we truly see, in all its miraculous beauty, the tree we pass each day~~a marvelous creation of bark and leaf, nestling deep into the Earth while yearning toward the heavens, photosynthesizing all the while? Truth be told, we move through this world entranced, seldom perceiving any part of it fully. This is why we benefit so from activities that bring us to the moment. Primal Mates offered such an experience that night, one of sound and merriment.

Under Colleen’s guidance, I also developed a deeper appreciation for scat. Her voice was joy liberated from the confines of words, elation freed from the tyranny of meaning. 

And yet there was meaning in the song whose line grabbed me. Colleen wrote Blossom after a day with her dying mother. Chris and Colleen had wheeled her hospital bed onto the patio outside. Springtime in full bloom might have been miracle enough but, like embers roused by a light breeze, her mother was awakened from an advancing dementia by the fresh smell of flowers and sunlight warming her face. Mere days before her passing, Patricia Walsh O'Brien was granted full presence once more and a delicious lucidity. 
Blossom ends with, “A mother smiles, like a blossom flowers…Heaven's near....” Heaven was near as Trish flowered yet again. Indeed, it seems so whenever our blossoms flower.

Many spiritual traditions tell us that heaven is right here, now and always. It’s just that some moments awaken us from our forgetfulness, just as Colleen’s mother awoke that spring day.
We are all improvising our way along, unable to know the whole score, or comprehend the composer’s intent. This is as it should be. As blossoms, our calling is merely to flower again and again.

Flower on!

Loanne Marie

To learn more about Primal Mates~~and thank you both for such great music~~click hereAnd a special thank you goes out to Colleen for allowing me to share her mother's farewell flowering. Blessings to you~~and to Trish, wherever her blossoms now flower!