Saturday, April 09, 2011

Nice Weather and Summer Memories

Yesterday evening I was driving home from work with the windows down, and I got a whiff of diesel fumes. I know that for most people that wouldn't be such an enjoyable experience, but it immediately took my mind to the summers of 1997 and 1998 when I stood around buses and trucks while marching with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. I'm sure fellow drum corps folks will attest to the powerful ability of diesel fumes to transport them to some random parking lot in Anywhere, USA.

For the sake of this post, though, I want to reflect on the thoughts that quickly followed my nostalgia for the wonderful world of drum corps. I remember sitting in some high school gym on a rainy day near the end of pre-tour rehearsals and somehow "realizing" that I was about to be a part of that 49th iteration of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. At that moment I was mindful of the thousands of young men who had gone before me, and was full of excitement to join the stream. I had the privilege of being a part of that particular present. As we marched around that summer, the performances of Cavaliers past set the foundation, and yet they had no bearing on how we 128 young men would come together in those summer months.

For a variety of reasons, those two summers with The Cavaliers reflected very purposeful times in my life. The particular present I was called to embody was clearly set forth by the routines, goals, and rituals of the organization of which I was a part. I awoke each day knowing what I was there to do.

It isn't always so clear in the "real world," though, is it? We find ourselves pulled in so many different directions. Mindfulness of the presence gives way to analyzing the past and making plans for the future. We are at once a part of so many organizations or groups of people who vie for our attention and focus.

You will never hear me say that drum corps was "easy," but I do think there was a simplicity to that life that adds to the nostalgia. I imagine we all have our days when moving to a monastery or cloister sounds quite nice. I wonder, though, if we might find ways to simplify, even in the midst of our daily lives. I wonder if we might take opportunities each and every day to pay attention to the particular present to which we have been called.