Pig Heaven doesn’t show up on the Google maps, but I think I found it. It’s not muddy or smelly and I don’t think actual pigs would enjoy it that much. But all of us who are here are just so deliriously happy, in the precise place where we all feel we belong, rolling around on our backs with such joyful contentment. And me most of all.
I had high expectations of my particular group of 20 students at the Orff Summer Course and three days in, they have already been exceeded. I also thought I might enjoy the feeling of “Orff Camp,” all of us together 24/7 in the beautiful Carmel Valley, but “enjoy” is far too weak a word. To stroll through the gardens by the barn under the live oak trees with the hills in the distance and hear music from every direction, see the group out on the open wooden deck clapping through a choreography, others playing recorder under the cypress trees (all that’s missing is the white diaphanous gowns), still others huddled around xylophones in the grass, is to get a glimpse of a heaven far superior to harp players amongst fluffy white clouds.
I know that heaven is wherever the heart, mind and body are aligned, not only in deep conversation with each other, but in company with others having the same conversations. But it sure helps to be in a beautiful place with good weather. When the inner need and the outer community meet with a summer day outside on the grass under the trees, there is an extra dimension to it all that is worthy of our deepest gratitude. To fulfill the whole promise, we would also be working the garden and cooking the food together, but still, this comes as close to how I think people were meant to live on this earth, in loving communion and the spirit fed daily.
After a full day of exciting, inspiring, challenging, connecting classes led by our brilliant teachers, every one who has led the whole life of teaching children and releasing their imagination, there was a spontaneous circle begun by the Brazilians of drumming, singing and dancing, joined by Columbians and then more led by folks from Nigeria, Puerto Rico and Venezuala. Two hours later, it reached its natural conclusion and that’s when I went to the barn with a small group to play some jazz on the most beautiful Steinway piano. An hour later, stirred yet further by the group playing, we looked at each other and exclaimed, “And this is only the first day!”
Yesterday was another remarkable series of classes, followed by an evening folk dance with live music—us—that ended with me leading an Estonian lullaby I recently learned. 100 people singing and swaying and breathing as one giant centipede, ending the song in a large spiral with our heads on each other backs, After the official ending, some 40 of us hung back and an accordion/flute song soon segued into a seamless blues that lasted some 70 minutes, with solos by everyone from the triangle player to the sax player to the woman with finger cymbals morphing into a slow motion dance. My friend and I looked at each other again in disbelief: “And this is only the second day!”
Pig heaven. It’s a wonderful place to be. No need to wait until you expire or repent your sins or agree to give up your own way of thinking and believe what the throngs want you to believe. You just show up, jump in the middle of the dancing ring and roll around to your heart’s content, with the drums booming, bells ringing and voices singing in exultation.