Yesterday I learned a dear viola friend passed away at just thirty years old. She had a beautiful spirit and a beautiful sense of musicianship. Somehow the day set up the shock of this sorrow perfectly. It started with a yoga class, new to me. At the end I laid in the corpse pose, my teacher gently circling my face with grapeseed oil, pulling at my tense neck and shooting relief down my body to my toes.
And it ended with a gig at a Catholic church playing music while young men became deacons. It takes two hours and a lot of music for someone to be declared a deacon. Typically I am squirmy on my timpani stool, ready to play, ready to go home, just ready. But throughout the service the incense, which seemingly got stronger and stronger, put me in a really peaceful state. My thoughts slowed and I breathed in the sharp smell of incense, watching the faces of those receiving their robes. Their eyes were at once so bright yet so comforted, they were so obviously on a different plane than me.
It was after the gig, carelessly tugging Facebook down my phone with my thumb, that I saw that Andi had died. I still had the smell of incense in my nose and hair, and the idea she was gone left me clinging for the comfort of these smells, of the touch of the oil, of the look in the young men’s eyes that promised that everything would somehow be okay.