I do feel like playing. Last night I went out walking…

Jude Moonlight’s Journal |

Last night I went out walking and I heard the distant sound of drums playing late in the night. At first I couldn’t quite find where they were coming from but I walked farther down the street and deeper into my neighborhood and I heard the sounds grow louder, so I kept walking.

It was a cold night. Christmas lights were still shining bright in early January and I was walking in the moonlight, as I often do. Somewhere far away, I envisioned a campfire, though I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I’d heard something beneath the sound of those drums. That snapping, flickering sound of the fire itself. Maybe it was the smell, one that I was sure I’d picked up for a split-second. The smell of a campfire. It was then that I began to hear an electric guitar, strumming a steady, percussive jazz-funk sort of beat. The sounds grew louder. Finally I came upon the house, obscured by the trees and other greenery in front and all around it. The music was coming from the back patio.

Through the shrubs and low-hanging leaves of the trees, I peeked in through the screen and out onto the deck surrounding a glowing, shimmering pool, though the pool and the entire patio were deserted. I thought maybe the music was coming from the speakers of some incredibly loud and clear sound system but as I took a closer look I saw an open window at the far side of the pool, and through the window I saw the neck of the electric guitar and the left hand of the player keeping relatively still along the fretboard. They must have been playing for a while, I figured, all cramped up as they were in what had to be a fairly small room no bigger than my own bedroom. But they sounded good and they sounded like they were having a good time.

It was only a jam session. I’d seen a million before, sure. I’d been part of a million more. Still, never in a million years did I ever think I’d see something like that, that I’d hear anything that sounded so good in my own sweet neighborhood where I’d spent my childhood and not one exciting thing ever seemed to happen beyond the everyday pleasantries of my own wonderful and dependable everyday people, the neighbors and kin one can’t help but eventually take for granted and expect to act the same old way and say the same old things. I thought such a splendid scene as what I was seeing tonight might only be discovered far away in other cities and distant neighborhoods across America. But never here. No, never in my own neighborhood.

Even your own neighborhood, your own hometown, can surprise you. All that magic spontaneity I’d once so easily associated with far away only because I was looking for it, was open to it, and therefore eventually found it, I’d found here tonight. Well now, maybe I am in a different frame of mind lately. Then again maybe I’m not. Maybe this time, the outside world has just come to me, beckoning at my doorstep. I don’t know. You can fence yourself in for a while, but you can never truly fence the world out. If the spirit of music has come for me, I’m ready. I do feel like playing.

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