Shakuhachi roadie

What guy hasn't wanted a gig as a roadie. Of course being
a rock n roll god seemed like the top job when hormones
hit in junior high school. However somewhere along the
line one learns that being a musician takes talent and luck,
not necessarily in that order. Being a roadie just requires a
good back, a desire to see the world and the romanticism
to revel in nature's beauties. The more beauties to revel in,
the merrier. Even a few decades of desk jobs can't quite
kill the wanderlust stirring deeply in a man's soul, so it
was with great enthusiasm that I accepted a call from
Barbara Nyoi Krooss to help her tote what sounded like
"rock" gear from gig to gig. To my shock, it was "shak"
gear, as in shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute used to
foster Zen meditation. Clearly, this is going to attract a
different set of groupies than might be drawn to a Rolling
Stones concert. But what would a middle-aged man do
but disappoint were he swarmed by a rock god's castoffs,
especially since Barbara's my soul mate. I love the sounds
she gets out of an instrument that defies me, despite years
spent earning a master of music degree from Ohio
University and doodling since. She has the equivalent of a
black belt on coaxing sounds out of a humble stalk of
bamboo. She's even helped write a book the art of
blowing meditation on the shakuhachi called
Sui Zen.
Learn about it by clicking the link. Besides the thrill of
sharing more time with my favorite blonde, rewards for
sore muscles from toting gig gear are hearing fine sounds
and seeing some amazing places. The
Humes Japanese
Stroll Garden, Locust Valley, N.Y., is a real treasure. A
healthy selection of jack in the pulpits is what draws many
visitors in the spring. Throughout the year, though, it's a
space that has many faces. Its tranquility invites visitors to
pause to revel in the beauties of nature. Hardy trees
contrast delicate blooms, some lasting only a day. A
dragonfly perches on a reed while seeking a rendezvous
with a mate. Bullfrogs bellow their desires across a pond
filled with ravenous koi. Sure there are mosquitoes in such
a moist still environment. Yet even if you forget to prepare
for the visit with a preemptive spritz of repellent it's
almost tough to whack a bug that's just doing its job in a
Zen garden. Buddhism, after all, is quite accepting of the
foibles of various species, fauna and flora alike. The wide
footpath wends up and down the 4.5-acre garden,
offering splendid views from atop and chances to peer
closely at plants without catching poison ivy. Benches
along the way are great for relaxing while watching the
parade of nature and the patrons who admire it. Some are
inspired to leave mini-shrines along the paths. Offerings to
the rock gods? Or thoughts of a roadie.
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Bob Sterner
photos © 2009
Shakin' Roadie
Barbara Nyoi Krooss
Dragon Fly
Hungry Koi
Fungus among us
Lily Pads
Old and New
It's a pulpit, Jack
Personal Shrine
Flowery heights
Light thru leaves