Over the course of the existence of the Rhythm Hut, many things have changed– location, classes offered, administrators– but there has been a consistent presence that people have recognized, an icon of the hut and the Central Coast, one Ayila Freestone.
Ayila was probably one of the most intelligent dogs the coast has ever seen. Not only did she look both ways before crossing the road, she knew exactly what you were saying if you told her there was food upstairs or she should start begging someone else for a bite of their sandwhich. She was street smart & independent too– She fed herself for the first 17 years of her life, going out and scavenging all around the coast for her food. She also knew how to be the center of attention, and loved finding her place on countless stages during untold numbers of performances, finding the middle of many a drum circle, claiming her absolute right to be there. Even during her later years, she would dominate Rendra any time she felt like he wasn’t paying enough attention to her or someone else was taking his attention away from her– much to the amusement of many (sometimes slightly horrified) guests. So many people knew her in different contexts, it was hard to thing of her as Ren’s, and in reality, she was her own as much as anyone elses. People thought she was deaf, but she could hear a can open from down the road, and hear Ren call her to get a lift home halfway across Terrigal.
Ayila passed on at the ripe old age of 18 yesterday morning. We will miss her, but are so grateful for the time she shared with us. May she be reincarnated as a drummer.