Saturday, September 8, 2012

Call of the Bowl


I long to hear the mosque's mournful call to prayer. I long to hear the toll of cathedral bells. I long to hear the swishing of robes as priest file past. I hear the sounds in my head. I can't replicate them with my voice, but I can feel the steam of humidity and see the brown expanse of sand about me in my old neighborhood in Bahrain. I hear the call to prayer. It was foreign, yet it called me too. I am in ten parks at once in Spain, in Italy, and in France as the cathedral bells toll, and I feel their sounds reverberate within my body. I am crunching through gravel, observing the Shinto priest swish past in a single file line with green foliage all around me in Japan.

What I hear instead is cicadas humming, cars rolling by, thunder and lawn mowers in the distance, the beep beep of the kitchen timer.

I plop the iPod into the stereo. I listen to tunes as I make a tart, bake shortbread, and knead pizza dough. I am expecting guests. I have tears in my eyes-- kind words from a dear friend and a sluggish heart that is shifting from life in Japan to life in the hills of Ohio-- I am out of balance, longing for sounds and friends that can't be here with me.

By day's end, circumstance had me standing before the large singing bowl in my living room. A visitor inquired after the bowl, unsure of what it was; it is large. I grasped the padded stick to demonstrate the powerful sound contained within the bowl. I released a sound as old as the mosque's call, as melodious as the tolling of cathedral bells, and as sensual as the swish of the priest's robes.

All the day, I had that bowl with me, but until another invited the moment, it had not occurred to me to sound the bowl's song. The act of inviting the bowl to sing, broke the spell of my longing. I had been called by the bowl in my very house, but it took another's prompting to find my way there.