I parked my car, pulled Sam out of the trunk and set out for the building with its glowing lights shining like a beacon for me in the dark forest. Brisk, clean night air and fireplace wood smoke greeted my city nose, and pine needles crunched pleasurably beneath my feet. The starlit forest was devoid of people; I could only hope that the lodge in front of me would not be. After circling the building in the dark, I found a large wooden door, opened it, and stepped into a wall of angels’ voices.

It was not a choir. I do not want to give the impression that I walked into a religious music ensemble. This was a gathering of everyday people, a hundred of them, sitting in chairs in a four row deep circle, playing guitars and singing a folk song. In five part harmony. In tune. A man in the corner plucked an upright bass. A long-haired woman and a grey haired man stood together smiling and playing fiddles. A woman plucking a portable sized harp made the tableau, and sound, complete. I stood motionless listening, taking it in. I was home. Driven women know things intuitively before they figure those things out in the humdrum logical world of reality. I was home.

Someone acknowledged my arrival and guided me to an empty chair in the front row of the circle. Several people smiled, but the music did not cease even for an instant. I learned quickly that this assemblage of embodied angel voices had a musical sharing system: in turn each person in the circles called out a group singalong or played a solo. Some invited a few specific people to play with them. There did not appear to be a leader, but when the turn came around to me, a kind-voiced white-haired guitarist I later learned was Willard told me that I could play a song or pass if I would be more comfortable. I said, in a too hushed voice, “No, I will take a turn.”

I struck an A minor chord and played, un-premeditated, “Motherless Child.” When I concluded the song, the group applauded and several told me I had sung beautifully. Willard gave me a warm paternal smile and told me that I needed to sing louder. I remember thinking that Willard would learn that was as loud as my voice could get. That I had a quiet singing voice. continued page 3

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