My eyelids dragged shut, my legs creaked at me, and my brain simply drifted back into the fog of sleep as I regained consciousness this morning. Waking up was a slow process and I found myself starting to slip into some odd sort of funk. “I should be doing something. Maybe I should go on a hike since the weather is nice. Perhaps I am silly for not starting on something sooner.”
Finally I shook my head of the silliness and reminded myself I walked really freaking far yesterday. I trailblazed to a crater very few people see and managed to be back on time to do a shift as receptionist.
“Just get yourself out of bed, Abiel. You can do this.”
I was able to make a good breakfast and go on an outing with two lovely friends. “When in doubt, go out” is some of the best advice I received before I left. Today it proved true.
Come afternoon, I wandered to the tiny house of one of my favorite people.
“Hey! Look what I got! A mandolin. It was only $50 and it’s helping me figure out the violin too.”
I fell in love with the little instrument he showed me. It’s deep, dreamlike color, uneven brush strokes, pearly silver pegs, and the elegant hardware.
“A year from now, we’ll all be gone,
All our friends will move away.
And they’re going to better places,
But our friends will be gone away.”
My heart nearly skipped a beat with happiness as he began to sing “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart. The little mandolin rang and I let my voice join their song.
For the next hour or so, I plopped on the carpet and learned chords until my fingers were indented by the strings.
“So what would you suggest I look for if I were to buy my own mandolin?”
“Well. You know what?…one second.” I watched as he scrolled through his phone for a moment. “So I would ultimately like a mandolin that I can plug into an amp and I have a bid on one right now. If you like, you can buy that one off me.”
Holy shit. Really?!
So uh. I am now traveling with a mandolin.
And I could not be happier about it.
I’m working on learning to play “Rivers and Roads” and “What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor” because what’s life without variety?
Thankfully I was taught the latter song and told to wing the strumming pattern for the former. (“It gives it more soul.”)
Multiple hours later, I was still curled up with my new instrument and my friend had made a rack for all of his other instruments.
Oh. He plays the didgeridoo. Coolest freaking instrument ever and it sounds otherworldly beautiful.
“By the time I get to America, you can come with me and we’ll go play our mandolins at some music sessions.”
That’ll be f*cking awesome.