A Love of Sound by Paul Schweer
[Discuss this article (1 reply)]
[Download this article in PDF format]
Ron was a grown man, a child I met on a grass field late one summer
morning. I was young and warm from sun and a girl with blonde hair
and smooth skin, tan and tight across her belly. My shoes were heavy,
soaked from walking through the grass still wet from the night. Ron
stepped out from the crisscrossing crowd lingering by a bus, walked
with purpose across the field. I happened in his path, and he took
hold of me, hugging and patting and talking loud. My face got planted
onto his shoulder, into the cloth of his flannel shirt. It smelled
like he did, clean but kept in a corner somewhere. Some place poorly
ventilated, sealed tight. He was inside the shirt, an angled
collection of edges, each jumping out of time; an internal band, the
pieces playing staccato, fast tempo, without a score -- without
apology, or care for music. With a love of sound. And a friend just
met, in his arms -- in a field of grass, morning sun on our backs.
I was to look after him. There were songs, and he sang. There were
games; he played. There were walks in the evenings winding through
the woods, swimming in the afternoons if the weather was good. Ron
couldn't swim, wouldn't follow single file. But the water didn't mind
him, and the woods were kind. The games conceded. The songs
He could make his bed, bathe, and dress himself. But Ron couldn't
shave, so I did it for him. He was quiet while I did, but he couldn't
stop moving. I cut him pretty bad. Put tissue on it, but it kept
bleeding. And he kept moving. But, in a way, he was very still.
Like he was listening to a quiet memory, trying to hear again echoed
recollections. Sounds from the outside, birds heard through the
trees, harmonized with whisker cracklings, a razor rinsed in a hollow
sink, my whispering, "Hold still. Hang on."
Then, in the field again, I was his friend. Roughly embraced. An old
good friend. He was gathered in by a quiet crowd, and I was
released. And relieved. Without a love of sound, I left the field as
the night came in. Dampening the grass.
I admire those who seem to effortlessly do what I struggle to try, but
I often recognize such people only in retrospect. Ron is one of those
I haven't seen Ron in twenty years. I spent no more than ten days
with him, two one-week sessions during two different summers... if I'm
remembering right. He was exhausting. He was not needy; he followed
directions happily and well. It was his enthusiasm that tired me.
Ron loved being there. He loved all of us. He loved the people he
came with on the bus. He loved the outdoors, the activities, the
songs. He loved it all, because he loved it. He loved as hard as he
could, all the time, with every calorie he burned. And nothing that
happened, or didn't happen -- nobody or nobody's absence diminished
his lust... for everything.
I've been around aikido not very long now, but long enough to see
changes. To see people come and go. To hear my body talk back to
me. To see a teacher step off the mat. To try quitting a couple
times myself. To wonder why, what it's about. And the advice that
seems relevant is to practice, to continue, for its own sake. For
love of practice.
I've seen it done.
[Discuss this article (1 reply)]