It was the summer of 1988 and I was sixteen years old. The grown-ups had gathered for a potluck dinner. Outside the house was a huge field where we kids loved to play Capture the Flag. The field was surrounded by forest on all sides, with dirt roads and paths leading to other homes and to the main road.
Our game took place on the field, but also extended into the woods all around. We spent hours running around in the pitch black, laughing hilariously, trying to be quiet and stumbling over each other, but rarely capturing our opponents or the flag. More often we ended up settling against an old log, or lying under the stars engaging in deep conversations while the grown ups laughed and talked from inside the glow of house light.
This particular August day, however, the grown-ups had gathered for an event called the “Harmonic Convergence”. They informed us that the planets were aligning and that humanity had to come together and help herald in a new era of harmony. They said that if we did not do something, bad things in the world could persist like war and earthquakes and pollution. In order to contribute to the Harmonic Convergence they were going to sit in a circle and tone.
A few of us knew what toning was and we were all invited to join. But it was a lovely sunny afternoon and we decided to go for a walk. We trekked along the gravel road, passing the winding passageways amidst the brush and bramble of our nighttime forays. We continued up to the highway and sat down on some big rocks at Lemon Creek.
Lemon Creek was a rushing glacial stream, wide and deep with white water spraying up over smooth rocks. We sat there in silence in the brilliant summer sun listening to the creek. No one spoke, but questions seemed to hang in the air:
“What if the grown-ups were right? What if the world ended because we didn’t do something? What if our humble collection of parents was not enough?”
We knew what we should do, but at an age of insecurity and self-consciousness, we were in a quandary. Then, somehow, the crashing rush of Lemon Creek rose to meet us and we began to tone! Our toning rose out of us, buoyed on by creek water. The creek showed us the way with its unceasing sound and our bodies settled more onto the rocks into the sound. In the midst of toning we began to feel: “This is a good life. This is a good place. This is a good earth.”
Then we went bouncing back along the gravel road, peering down forest pathways, enjoying the pattering of our feet in rhythm to the beaming sun. Did we help to herald in a new era of harmony? Who knows? But that day something special certainly happened. As night fell we went running through our familiar woods, giggling and gossiping, our gaggle of boys and girls delighting in the dawn of their own becoming. The memory of toning by Lemon Creek spreads through my mind like an arc of light. But at the time what mattered most was that we no longer worried the world would end! That day of Harmonic Convergence, we kids had found our voices, and so we had done our part.