I’m always looking for signs. Sometimes they are tiny things like a song on the radio at the exact right moment, or when you figure out that gut feeling you had was exactly right. But sometimes they’re so prodigious that they can’t be ignored. Today I spent 2nd-guessing quitting my job. I had prepared myself for that, second-guessing is a very natural human reaction when making any important life-changing decision. Still it ate away at my psyche a bit, and muddled up my mood.
I took a short afternoon nap, and decided to go see the sunset when I awoke, as I do most days that I am awake for them. I decided to change it up a bit and go somewhere different, maybe for a different perspective that might lighten my mood. Almost without thinking about it I decided on Chestnut Ridge. I had never been there for a sunset, and had read that the sunsets there were amazing. There are swings that you can sit on and stare out over the ridge. You can see almost the entire shoreline all the way to downtown Buffalo from this vantage point. When I arrived, to my dismay, the swings had been taken out for the winter. I sat in my car for a few minutes debating on whether I would just sit on the ground. Then I remembered I had a couple of folding chairs stowed under the floor in the back of the truck.
I grabbed my phone and my camera, and as I was getting out of the truck I saw a beautiful red tail hawk soaring above the hill. I hurried to grab my chair hoping to get a good picture of the bird. Sadly by the time I got the chair, the bird had flown elsewhere. I walked over to the top of the hill and chose a good spot near where one of the swings had been, in order to watch the sunset. As I pulled the chair from the bag, I looked over and saw young man with dreadlocks sitting on a wicker throne some 10 yards from me. I sat in silence taking in the view for a few minutes, and readying my camera for what was sure to be a breathtaking sunset. As I looked over at the young man, he was unpacking something from his own bag, it looked to be some sort of drum.
As he began to play I was awed by the sound of what he later told me was called a hang drum. I had seen them online in videos but never live. The sound of it was amazing. It was inspiring and soothing and created a very meditative mood. I snapped a couple pictures of him, but after listening for a few minutes I forgot all about my camera. He played nonstop for a good 10 minutes. I was hoping for him to take a break for a minute so that I could tell him how amazing it was. I finally decided I had to stop him myself and tell him. I walked up to him and I said, “I’m sorry man, I don’t want to break your groove but I had to thank you for playing for me.” He shook my hand and thanked me. He asked me my name, and told me his name was Nate. I asked him if I could record him for a few mins. He said, “Yea man record away.” I stood next to him and crouched down. It was the perfect vantage point as I could see the sun setting behind him. I took a couple of minute-and-a-half videos. When he finished we both looked at each other and kind of laughed, I think we both realized what a perfect moment it was.
We chatted for a few minutes afterward about politics, the state of the world, and what each of us did for a living. It was refreshing to hear someone so young with such wisdom. It turns out we both had a pretty crummy day, and we had both come to cleanse the day away. Experiencing his music definitely did the trick for me. I told him my name on Facebook so that he could see the video after I uploaded it.
When I got home I viewed the video and I was in awe. The second video I took had a beautiful fade in as the sun overexposed the lens of the camera, and just as he was finishing up that same overexposure of the lens happened again. You can hear my giddy laugh as he finishes up. Yep that was exactly what I needed for the day thanks Nate. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed it live!