Cats are so fluffy and they purr so appreciatively as
their winter coats blow everywhere. Sweeping and
wet mopping only works up a sweat that catches all
loose hair, so soon a conscientious cat lover begins
to resemble his pets as days lengthen and warm.
Fortunately, there are outings to Long Island's John
P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden to provide a
respite of fresh air not filtered through cat hair.
Tones of the shakuhachi, the only melodic Zen
instrument, waft through the air providing a soothing
backdrop to taking in flora and fauna or decorative
displays in the garden's presentation area.
Barbara wanted more soothing water sounds than
presented by a nearby waterfall and asked me, her
roadie, to accompany her wistful airs with a rhythmic
whoosh of a waters stick. This instrument is made by
nailing the spines of a dried-out cactus into its arms,
putting pebbles inside and then plugging the ends.
Tipping it end-to-end causes the pebbles to bounce
through the inside creating a watery sound that can
be as gentle as a light shower or as torrential as a
pounding surf, depending on how the stick is tipped.
Protruding ends of the spines, though are painfully
sharp. And the cactus arms are prone to cracking.
To preserve a good instrument and to keep it from
ripping up your hands, it's important to sand and oil
it before playing. Dry everything outside because
linseed oil is prone to spontaneous combustion.