The music of the 60's probably had the biggest impact in my life. The first single which left an emotional dent in my little boy brain was "Tell Laura I Love Her" by Ray Peterson. I listened to that vinyl over and over again, trying to understand the depth of Laura's loss of her race car driving lover, who was simply trying to earn enough money to buy her a wedding ring.
Then, with older sibs, I heard a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel and The Mamas and the Papas. My first and biggest musical superstar was and still is Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam. Check out the official Cat Stevens website. I bought every album he made, sound unheard. And I loved all of them. The next major musical event that happened in my life occured around the time that my grandmother, Anna B. (Braun) Schiesher died on January 2, 1994. Even though I don't clearly understand the reason , I know her death spurred me to buy a traditional 6 hole native cedar flute, made by Jeffrey Chapman, an artist and Teaching Specialist at the University of Minnesota. From the moment I first touched it, I was emotionally connected with it. The sound which emerged when I blew into it soothed me like no other. Not being able to read music, I asked the flute, whose name is Running Wind Horse, if it would teach me how to play, and it readily agreed to do so. Below, is a short sample of a tune which is a regular visitor.
Running Windhorse flute melody - 870kb
Running Windhorse and I have travelled long distances together. When I lived in the Twin Cities, I belonged to a spiritual development group which travelled around the country and the world to help heal the earth and to learn from its different energies and beings. I have such incredible memories of the moments we played together in such beautiful and sacred places. We played at the Treasury Building, carved into the stone cliff itself, in Petra, Jordan, at night fall, in a room, more like a cave, which echoed the sounds out into the narrow canyon. Just hours before that, we played on the top of Mount Aaron, at the burial place of Aaron, Moses’ brother, with a 360 degree view of the barren and beautiful mountains around us. We played in the Golan Heights of northern Israel, standing on top of an ancient stone circle. We played in Oregon Caves National Monument and Rushmore Cave in South Dakota where the waves bounced off the walls forming voluminous sounds which vibrated all the cells in my body. And the very sad tune which came out in Solomon’s Quarry beneath the city of Jerusalem, where countless slaves suffered and died cutting rock to build the city above it. We played on the shore of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, where the air was pristine clear and the energy perfectly balanced. We played in the Redwood forests of Northern California. Of course, we played in the North Woods of Minnesota and in the driftless area of southeastern Wisconsin, in my sister’s A-frame cabin, where echoes enlarged the sound. And once we played for the 100 Eagle Feathers Hoop Ceremony at the Minneapolis convention center for the Search Institute's annual conference. And once we played for a friends’ wedding, on a beautiful crisp autumn afternoon in a Hennepin County Regional Park. And last summer, we played in numerous locations in Southern California, Nevada and Utah for an audience of ancient bristlecone pine trees. Which reminds me of the times we played also in Southern California, when we went hiking in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, just Running Windhorse and I, surrounded by all the animals and cacti and mountains and star-filled night skies. And then there was the time amidst the old olive grove in Israel, and in the windy Gobi Desert in Mongolia and at the small village in Central China for an audience of Metasequoia trees. And the very special time we played for a group of refugee healers in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya, in a workshop to help them heal and nurture themselves.