May 18th 2014
After a rather unusually restless night(I have so few of them)…I am reminiscing with thoughts of a friend from my past. With those fond, inspiring memories I watch through the windows in my cabin as the sun goes higher. The bird migration is in” full swing”. The traveling visitors to Keweenaw Bay lift from their night rests and join with the sky once again to zig zag, dart and glide with ceremony toward their destinations. The frozen lake has broken up and the ice is churned into bergs which collide with each other, forming other more complicated ice islands which float with the wind direction around the bay.
One of them sports an eagle. Perched solidly, the eagle peers into the water around it , riding the raft of last winters frozen water. I watch through the binoculars(while I listen to music and recall the memories of a dear friend) The eagle is still holding ground on the ice flow… headed steadily north after a couple hours. I pay intermittent attention to its progress.
All the while I watch and listen to the music and travels of the friend who occupies my thoughts this morning. The inspiring story and gifts from his life mingle with my own musical journey as I reflect on how a few years ago I started teaching myself to play guitar. Well, actually it went more like this…
I bought a vintage guitar at “Billies” local garage sale with the romantic idea that I would entertain myself…hummmm…it was a lot harder than I thought so the guitar retired to a nearby corner of our cottage where I could see it. I really wanted to learn. However, until a friend gave me the idea of starting out with a smaller version(the uke) I did not progress.
The uke idea worked. It was smaller, not as intimidating, and soon I was picking favorite tunes to strum out and having fun with it. One day, to my amazement, I picked up the old Harmony guitar, still lounging glamorously in the corner, and discovered I could play a few chords. Something about “muscle memory” . What a concept! I had to work at it! I thought this stuff could just be “natural”. Yes. Naturally… you have to put some effort into it.
On my birthday, in February, my husband Joe gifted me with a brand new guitar. He is a connoisseur of musical instruments and could no longer bare the sight of me struggling to depress the keys on the high action of the old guitar. I was thinking that “to struggle is to grow” but this is not the case with learning to play guitar. A few weeks after playing the new one I was making much more progress(in leaps).
I found myself searching for songs to encourage my interest in learning and I recalled the life of “Walkin Jim Stolz” . He is the friend of my attention this morning. Jim did a benefit concert for our wildlife center in about 1995. It was a great success. We did not know how to thank him enough and so we came up with the idea of having him release one of the owls we had been caring for,back into the wild. Of course he loved it!
This brings me to the reason I have added this post in my blog. With his passing from earth a few years ago, Jim left a rich legacy of music, art and heartfelt messages about nature and life as a whole way of being. His non profit organization remains in place.
So,here is another tip from me…I would like to draw attention to Jims website www.walkinjim.com/ From there you can visit his gift of music. A great way to start this and any day. It lifted me.. and not to mention the inspiration for continuing my guitar endeavors.
Thanks for reading this…if you got through it.
with sincerity and faith in the wild places.