Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Humble beginnings keep you root bound.


When I was a young boy I would go with my Grandmother every Friday night to her part time job. She would clean offices for some professional folks in town. I would get bored in a hurry and try to find something to keep me entertained.

I would check out each office to find something interesting. Generally each section would have a front office and a larger back office. The front office would have nothing fun. If you would find something it would be the more fancier back office.

The back office would have carpeting and dark wood paneling. Some would reek of cigarette smoke, stale perfume and have faded out landscape pictures hanging on the walls. File folders would be piled up on a fancy oak table. Nothing of any interest to this young kid.

But there was one office that always intrigued me. The dude collected specialized toy trains and other collectibles and had them displayed on fancy bookshelf s. You could tell he did better than the others. His office had a classy feel and felt totally out of reach in the reality of the world to this young mind.

After while I would go right past the other offices and go straight into his on future cleanings and hang out there until grandma was done. Every once in a while I would sit in the fancy leather chair and put my little shoes on top of the dark walnut desk and act like a big shot. Grandma would look in to check on me and say “Kevin get your dirty shoes off there, you know better then that!” and turned around and snicker.

Then one day while I was hiding out under the desk I hit my head on some kind of lever thing. It looked like it could be activated by using your knee. I always had a mind like a curious cat and had to find out what this thing was for.

I followed the wire from it into a lower drawer. When I opened it there was a tape recorder. Even these young eyes and mind could figure this out. After finding the recording contraption the office lost all of it's luster to me. The room felt like a evil tomb. I learned that day about dishonest people working with dishonest people.

From that point on I was proud of my roots. We might not have all the fancy material things these folks have but I wouldn't give up humble beginnings where the spiritual is truly spiritual. And the path is not paved with gold but honesty.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Call of the Raven is sometimes bittersweet.


January's Old Moon was on the rise when I was coming home just after sunset last night. With the height of the moon just above eastern landscape it had a warm orange glow to it from the setting sun in the west. I just got done trail running before that and it was a nice way to finish the day. I wish I could have got a photo of it but I didn't have any camera equipment along.

This past weekend I was shooting video in the Chequamegon. The learning aspect of video can be quite a learning experience. A pleasant one if you keep it fun. It was a perfect day that felt more like March than January. Dead calm winds mixed with blue skies and sunshine warmed the earth.

When I first started to record I could hear a pair of Ravens in the distance. I always been fascinated by these large black birds. They are very intelligent and their cousins the crows are amazing. The sad part is they are not the most loved bird. All I hear from the naysayers that they are ugly and useless creatures.

I could hear the Ravens coming in closer. Well by the time I got to the third video recording I called them in with my flute. Apparently they like the key of F. It is turning into a most interesting video. I am trying to add a storyline that will help with the visualization and theme of the video. I hope to have it done sometime next week.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Growing tired of following the same ass.


I spent a lot of time on my grandparents farm when I was a young lad. My uncle was still living on the farm. We were closer in age and I kind of considered him more like a big brother.

One of the chores that needed to be done was to go out to the pasture and bring in the cows for milking. And that was me and my uncle's job. Grandpa would send us out early because he knew it would take us a while. Sometimes we would become warriors and hide out in the tag alders (brush) from the enemy (the cows). Or ride bareback on Trigger the horse. Or maybe get into a cow-pie fight. That was fun until you got hit by one.

Eventually we would get out to the cows that have been staring at us for the past hour. I swear a couple of them were snickering at us. Sometimes the cows would start back by themselves tired of waiting for us. They would follow in line and stay on the cattle path in single file order. You would walk behind the long column of rear-ends and follow them into the barn. Each cow has it's own stall and they knew which one was their bay.

I always was amazed how the cows followed the same protocol each day. I wondered what would happen if a cow broke out of line and started dancing around just for fun. Would they all start dancing? Or would they think Betsy got into some bad weed in the south pasture.  Or would they just be characterized the "goofy one" that was never normal in the first place. What would happen if one did something completely different and out of character and it became a new trend or vision.

Lately I have been feeling like a cow walking down to the barn following the rest of the herd. Not in 2012 though. I'm going to break loose and find my own path again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter solstice video. Spirit of the Cold Moon.


The first day of winter is a mild one this year in northern Wisconsin. Not much snow as of yet and little cold weather. It was 5 degrees above 0 Fahrenheit this morning. I thought it would be cool (no pun intended) to hike into a favorite spot deep in the woods and do some video recording.

It is about a mile in from the forestry road to get there. The place I hiked to is Big Bend on the Yellow river. When I started from the truck it was sunny with little wind. But I was going along with the trek the clouds started to roll in and the winds picked up.

By the time I got to big Bend it was overcast and the winds were quite strong. I got the video recorder set up and by the time I started recording my hands were very cold. The place I chose to play from is a high embankment on the river and the southern wind was coming on strong.  The loud thundering sound you occasionally hear on the video is the ice settling on the Yellow river.

When I finished and packed up my gear the winds started to diminish. Half way out the sun was coming back out with departing clouds. Back out at the truck it was calm and serene.

I believe things happen for a reason and not always on a practical aspect. Because I felt more than a cold wind out of the south on that winter solstice day.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Surviving December skies

I don't know what it is that when the cold overcast days of December come every year you go into a different state of mind.  The north wind sinks into your bones and seems to just stay there until the warm days of spring.


...When I was younger and just starting out with a family to support I use to loathe the dank cloudy December skies. It seemed no matter how hard I worked I could never be prepared for it. What I mean by that is the property taxes were due, paying LP gas heating bills, medical bills coming all at one time. There was always a person dressed in a fancy 3 piece that could smell money. They wouldn't sit by you but had no problem taking a part of your paycheck. And when you earn logging and sawmill wages there was never enough to cover it all. It seem the only thought that came to mind was “if we only make it through December everything will be fine”

Since those times the children moved on and lead successful lives. I believe they learned from my mistakes and watching us survive. And now it isn’t so hard to make it through December.

We live in a small community that was hit hard during this recession. And the biggest request during a Santa sitting and talking to the kids was sadly food. The gossip trail didn’t take long to spread the word and since then there is a lot of food drives to restock the local pantry. With the strength of this small community we will make it through December.

I found this video of Merle Haggard and his song "Make it through December"  I didn't always agree with his viewpoints but like his honesty.  This song seemed to play in my head every December.









Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Watermelon and cedar. Is there a link?


This past week I’ve been working in the studio. Designing a fetish for a wood flute made of Berlinia keyed in low E. Creative thoughts are running through my mind mixed with pearl and ziricote.  Or maybe abalone.

But also this past week I started another project of the continuing series “rebuild studio shop” . Last spring I rebuilt a workbench and added a white top to it. You've probably seen it. I take the photos of flutes that I made on top of it.

My lifelong dream of having a nice shop/studio of my very own is becoming more of a reality. Yes I did say lifelong. Currently I do have a shop that does provide the means of producing flutes but I want to improve it.

I took apart a somewhat cobbled together workbench and want to replace it with cedar cabinets and a nice spacey top. Lofty goals but it can be managed.

The desire to build a working studio started back in my high school days. That was my dream to have my own shop and build my own creations.

Then enter our Industrial Arts teacher Mr. Piston. One day in the classroom we were taking a test and out of nowhere he says;

If any of you students are thinking of opening a small shop when you graduate from this institution of higher learning forget it. There is no money in it”

I don't like to make fun or talk ill of anyone but Mr. Piston couldn't see very well and had very thick glasses. We had to stop him several times from running into walls because his depth perception was not good. Every once in awhile he would be starting a lecture in the wrong direction and we had to guide him back to us. We did it in a tactful manner by asking a question to stir him in our direction. I always held respect for him. Until one day while we were eating Persian rolls from someone going on a donut run that he said:

What is wrong with youth these days? When I  was your age we would go down to Florida and chase after girls. Then after we would find some action we would take a big watermelon and pop a plug out of the top. Then we would take a large bottle of vodka and plug it in the top and let it saturate that melon. You just don’t see that anymore”

I was thinking you probably couldn't see it anyhow. Also I sat there and wondered who would say that to bunch of high school boys sitting up here in northern Wisconsin. Lucky we had enough gas to get our cars to school much less Florida.

We only had him for that year. I believe he transferred somewhere else (perhaps Florida) or he couldn't find his way back.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Amor Gitano. The freedom to find the elusive passion of life.


As I am writing this post the beginning phase of the Cold Moon is starting to show on the night skies. The Hunter is in the southern horizon. It seems I'm always looking at the night sky for that next song or wood flute creation. Maybe I'm like the hunter smelling the night air of creativity.

Sometimes  I work too hard to find the next creative event. It should be a spontaneous, out of the blue type of thing. For some odd reason I get a lot of creative thoughts when I'm trail running. Maybe it is the feeling of freedom or the spirit of the elements like the earth, wind, and the wild.

Lately I have been listening to a lot of Gypsy Kings. My Spanish isn't that good but I really like the song “Amor Gitano” or Gypsy Love. The song is about what a Gypsy would do to find the true love or soul mate of their life. Ahhh to find that elusive soul mate. I was lucky and found mine.

Maybe I like listening to it relating it with my 2nd passion or love and what I would do to find it's next step.