HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
Use the links to the left to read a past Month or Year... and then there is always your Backspace to return to a past page.
June 30, 2010
Look for the place where I am staying in todays pictures, can you find it? I am having my first stay in a camper. While sitting on a mountain top this morning I realized that where I am living or staying, my quality of life has mostly been based on judged and discerning where I sleep at night, the conditions. I am discovering that where I sleep or the conditions I sleep in really has very little to do with living my days, living my life. As soon as I arrived last night I could feel the solitude of the land. I was going to spend the next three days completely focused on my video audition to create a television show with Oprah's new OWN network. I have until July 3rd to garner votes and comments on this link... Traveling Piano Show
There is no internet where I am so I would need to rent a room in a town somewhere with access if I was going to do anymore work for the show audition. Bottom line, I put the idea out into the world, did a limited amount of contacting people and now I want to let God and the Universe take over for a bit. I've reviewed my priorities in life... they were my dog, nature, music, people... with Bo now gone it came to the forefront of my consciousness that I have been dreaming about the exploration of Glacier Park and Montana for twenty five years. My present priorities... nature, music, people. Here I am in nature! I am going to stop to... "Smell the Mountains" ...with the journey running my life this is a challenge.
I walked through a field and counted about twenty-five varieties of wildflowers each with their own color. The moths here at night are HUGE. I hear thuds of them hitting the sides of the camper. Amazingly, I have found myself on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. For three years I have been looking to create music on an Indian Reservation. Why I have no idea but without question I have been constantly drawn with desire. I did it in Browning Montana today. A family sitting under a cover in a park were selling wares. I began to play for them and they all came out onto the field and began to play a game of ball alongside of me with the music. When they were done they came over to the piano. Later I ended up at an camping spot near the house where I am staying. I tried to get on the internet while one of the guest played away for a good half hour on the piano.
June 29, 2010
East Glacier, Montana
There are three days left for me to create awarness for the OWN television show. (July 3 is the last day to vote) Traveling Piano Show I would like to ask everyone who has an appreciation for what I have to offer for the world... to go to the link, watch the video audition, vote yes and then make a comment. I got a very late start (two days ago) but I also believe... better late than never. The idea is now out and open and into the world. More than vote numbers... desire, interest and intent is all that is needed now.
As I was leaving Sarah's place today in Klispell, Rick her next door neighbor game me a sleeping bag. Everyone seems to think I may need one. New visitors arrived as I was leaving and we had a Traveling Piano moment, very special fun! I headed towards Browning, Montana to stay with a guy named James. He lives in a house in the plains out in the middle of no where. Somewhere between East Glacier and St Mary's. He is a thirty three year old waiter at a restaurant in East Glacier who has purchased ten acres of land for himself, lives in Hawaii for part of the year and is fixing his house to create a rental vacation property. The road to his house is about mile from the main road. No phone, no internet... I got lost on the way and traveled to a campground... knocked on the door of a camper and asked if I could use their phone. I phoned James and asked him to come get me because I could see nothing in the dark.
The road was a huge challenge for the Traveling Piano truck. If it rains I won't be going anywhere because of the gullies and rocks. It takes about a half hour to get to Browning and forever to get out to the road. I could see the lightening storms shining from below the curvature of the earth. In trying to find James house I first drove down the long rural road into a Buffalo farm. The owners were at the house with workers and one young guy says, "Hey weren't you just staying with Sarah my next door neighbor? I had met him the other day when he was walking horses across the field. A very strange coincidence indeed to be constantly running into connections in random rural places hundreds of miles from each other. Its too long to write about but I also encountered four stray dogs on the road today. If one had jumped into the truck he would have stayed with me.
The windshield was so covered with bugs by the end of the day I could barley see out. When I got into East Glacier I turned down a side street and stopped at a Mexican Restaurant to ask for directions. First, I asked for the road and then a landmark and then I thought I'd throw a shot into the dark and asked if they knew a guy named James in the area where I was heading. They said, "are you the guy with a piano on a truck?" I asked how they knew. James had told them. The Mexican restaurant happens to be where James works.
June 28, 2010
Coming down with a bug, ugh! Getting ready to leave Sarah's house tomorrow, ugh. Waiting for my replacement License plate that was stolen, ugh. I've been here in Kalispell, Montana for two weeks! Wow, crazy feels like a couple of days. Most of my time today was spent emailing people one at a time asking them to give me a vote of confidence. If I did not get to you... please go to this link and vote "Yes." Traveling Piano Show Wish I knew how to mass mail better! Don't want to take the chance of going over my mail limit like I always do and then it takes days to fix the system. No time for that. I have come out of the closet with the idea of creating a television show. Please go vote for it... Traveling Piano Show I applied two days ago and have four days before all tallies shut down. Traveling Piano Show Someone posted this on the voting page...
"I have never met a man quite like Danny Kean . His music thas the ability to take you to a place where the world around you is forgotten and you experience pure euphoria. It is amazing to listen to Danny but even more amazing to watch individuals who have never touched a piano create music for the first time. We spent a little over a week together and in that short amount of time I witnessed about 150 unique individuals lives change by having such a spontaneous, positive experience. Danny's un-assuming approach and magnetic vibe relinquish all fear enabling even the most shy to accomplish the joy of making music. Absolutely incredible! "
Have I met amazing people in my life or what???!!! I feel pure gratitude and appreciation for this comment on Oprah's site. Traveling Piano Show
June 27, 2010
I woke up this morning feeling crappy and with a mind set that I don't have any friends. I started my gratitude stuff and reviewing what my life is about. That helped me to start dealing with the day. There is no license plate on the Traveling Piano truck, it was stolen last night and I can't do anything about it until tomorrow. I spent the day asking facebook friends to give me a vote of support for my idea of creating a television show. By the end of the day almost 200 people did that. That crappy feeling... and those thoughts I had were wrong. I went to the Oprah site to check it out... two people had posted a recommendation for me. Here is one of them...
Danny is real He holds a passion and respect for people from all walks of life. I have watched the love for life that he shares with people he encounters. He invites people to climb aboard the bed of his truck and sit at his piano and play. Most people are shy and are reluctant to do this, probably because they feel they can't play the piano. Before you know it, Danny has talked them into playing. With gentle persuasion, he encourages them. He says that even one note is music. Then he tells them he'll count to 60 and they should play until he gets to 60. He counts quietly out loud and somehow untrained fingers begin to create music. I saw a young woman on her birthday, who reluctantly sat down and played while her three children listened in surprise. I saw a young husband and his pregnant wife play together for their unborn baby. These people had no training but you could see the change in their faces as Danny allowed them to be free, encouraging them along the way. He empowers people to get in touch with themselves through music. Did I say that he can also play a spirited piano too?
I cried on reading that... Please help vote in "yes" as many times as possible and ask all your friends in everyway to vote for this idea. I have 5 days and got a very late start. So what's new? Traveling Piano Show
June 26, 2010
First things first. Please go to this link and vote yes for...
Traveling Piano Show I uploaded a last minute raw video audition for Oprah Winfrey's new Own Television network. It is a contest to find a new host for a television show of their own making and I have 6 days to catch up to the top entry who has 8,753,037 votes as of this posting... ha,ha,ha... Really though, I don't want to look stupid and could really use your support. One vote is better than none. Your vote could help to keep this journey alive! Traveling Piano Show
Aside from that... I went to a singing group concert that my friend Sarah played the piano for tonight and while at the concert someone stole the Traveling Piano's license plate off the truck (what a predicament)... I am driving with no license plate! Check out the video audition and please vote! Traveling Piano Show
June 25, 2010
Glacier Park, Montana
Today, a new friend Rick joined me to help take Traveling Piano pictures in Glacier Park. The Road to the Sun opened so we did an entire loop of the park which took all day. It rained, the sun shined, it was cold, it was hot, it was touristy, it was not. I was too focused on taking pictures of scenery so not much music happened. In fact as I look at the pictures I realize that I missed a lot of reality too concerned with pictures. There will be some amazing pics posted to Boner's site as soon as I get the chance. The sky here in Montana is as beautiful as the ground. We found a pass named Goat Lick Pass. Guess what we found there. Mountain goats sitting on rocks licking themselves.
June 24, 2010
Woodland Park, Kalispell, Montana
Kalispell Montana had a Thursday night celebration to encourage people to come into the center. Seeing as I had not yet played downtown I thought I would give it a go. I was welcomed but they already had a band at the one end of the street... lots of sound already around and the Traveling Piano music just did not fit in. I would have had to be banging it big with energy for anyone to be interested. It is clear my days of performing for, or in events are over. I headed to the local park and felt back in place. The kids who played on the piano were given a Raggin' Piano Boogie poster. The joy on their faces could not be matched. After a while I thought I'd try again at the block party but it was not meant to be... clearly. I enjoyed the crowd and afterwards went back to Sarah's where friends Rick and Bill cooked a wonderful veggie lasagna as a special treat in my honor... for dinner.
June 23, 2010
Hungry Horse, Montana
Maybe its the full moon coming, maybe its another birthday coming, maybe its my health, maybe its... its... its... whatever. I having a hell of a time keeping my wits about me... where am I going, when, where am I staying, money, I want to chill out but how... is it possible, focus... foucs... focus... I began at Glacier Park today checking out cabins and motel rooms. Don't even want to go into it anymore right now with writing... I began to meet people with the Traveling Piano, that was fun. Looked for a place to create some music on McDonald Lake and found a beautiful spot on a private property where I met two very funny caretakers opening up a house for the season. Drove to the Hungry Horse reservoir which needed a lot of tender love and care. This place was surreal, burned out trees, bombed out looking cement, deadness, smelly...
Did see two spectacular osprey nests centered perfectly high atop dead tree poles with the birds nesting in them. The nests were at least four feet in diameter. I drove into the center of town and ended up having some fun outside one of the stores. On the way back I stopped at a church that had a sign saying "free food." It was a small church providing a food pantry no big organization, no questions asked. There was a mother wanting to drop off some bread with four of her seven daughters. I got them onto the piano but they did not want to have their pictures taken. The church pantry food was as the guy said, "food to keep people alive." I got some goodies to take with me because I want to stay alive... today. It was a perfect day in every way just wish I could have been more in the present moment with it.
June 22, 2010
Coon Hollow, Montana
Sarah, Rick, Bill and I traveled deep into the Montana Boonies to visit Helen, Dan'l and a neighbor. We were in Coon Hollow, Montana. I created music deep in the woods,. We had a fire going with fine food, I brought hot dogs for myself everyone else ate healthier, I cooked them on a stick over the fire for the first time. The water to drink came out of the ground next to where we were eating. There was an outdoor sauna to enjoy where we all got naked. The beautiful cabin is as rural as it gets with an outhouse, no electricity, any light comes from twelve volt batteries and kerosine lamps. Helen and Dan't have raised two children in this house the eldest just graduated college from Tufts University in Boston. Everyone I was with plays music but to get them to feel comfortable improvising on the piano was like them trying to get me to jam with them in their band... definitely out of our comfortable zones.
June 21, 2010
It has been a rainy day here in Kalispell, Montana. Most of the day was spent indoors posting archive pictures to the Boner The Dog website. Sarah treated me to her famous sourdough waffles and the boys next door came over to join us. Later on I treated her to a Philly cheesesteak Danny style... a big lightly toasted Italian roll, minute steak, muenster cheese, butter peppers, fried onions, mushrooms with ketchup, salt and pepper... greasy with contents fallin out of the roll and all over the place. We went for a little walk while the rain stopped and play some musical duets on the piano. This is the most time I have spent with a Traveling Piano host doing things. Sarah's husband Roy is on a two month journey with his daughter around the Mediterranean. I have a feeling Roy and I would hit it off as Sarah and I. I'll be leaving this house at the end of the week but I will stay in the area until the Going to the Sun road opens up and I explore that area... snow still makes it impassable.
June 20, 2010
Avalanche Lake, Glacier Park, Montana
It was time for a hike. It had not occurred to me until today that a few long hikes would be a way for me to detach totally from working with the Traveling Piano for awhile. I would like some personal time away from all possibilities of thinking about work. Piano dog Boner died four months ago today. I had not yet hiked without Bo and we very much enjoyed exploring in the woods and even more sharing the feeling of accomplishment and laying together after we were done. While walking I thought about my conscious decision to live after Bo passed which leaves me with no choice but to open myself to new life experiences like today... the park rules would not of allowed him to enter. I cried as I thought about the experiences I am now having that I could not have had while he was around.
I headed to Avalanche Lake in Glacier Park. It was over a two mile hike into the forest to find an awesome lake with a cirque of high mountains. Multiple waterfalls created the backdrop. I was there for about ten minutes before my camera batteries died and heavy storm clouds began to cover the area. I was just wearing a tea shirt and was thinking about a hard wet trek back but then I thought, "you have had the best times in the rain, embrace it, don't let anything ruin this most amazing visual moment." I continued to hang out and explore the area. On heading back, the rain held off until I reached the truck door and then it began to pour. My feet, oh ma' hurting feet!!!
The hike was tough but I took it like a man. I almost did not get started. In the parking lot people began to show interest and it was non stop for the first two hours. Almost every other day now I met a someone traveling just as I am. There were friends celebrating birthdays, people who had seen me over the past few days but had not had the opportunity to approach me for themselves. Everyday I meet people from the area where I originated back east, there were vets on Bikes with a mission, families celebrating fathers day, on and on.
June 19, 2010
Glacier Park, Montana
My twenty-five year dream of experiencing Glacier Park manifested into reality today. I sat high atop the Traveling Piano in the mountains with glaciers and created music for the earth. I consciously watched my dream come into reality. Sarah was with me. We witnesses three avalanches from high above. The snow is melting quickly. Mountain goats arrived and we watched each other with interest. They titled their heads with curiosity. There were many people who jumped up onto the Traveling Piano... two exceptionally awesome experiences... one woman drifted into neverland as she sat looking out at the view while creating music for the first time truly in the present moment. Another woman came up to me as I was about to leave, "would you please play more of the music you were playing earlier, my husband has died and when you played I felt his presence." She cried as I played. What a gift for both of us!
I cried over Boner a bit today. Sometimes the grief overwhelms me. It will be four months tomorrow. His water bowl broke today. Another object to let go of. I loved filling Bo's water bowl, seeing it filled and watching him quench his thirst every day for fifteen and a half years. I started to look at the blog pictures with Bo since January. Now I'm a mess! Onward... Sarah and I took a short hike by some amazing waterfalls that had unmatched visual imagery.
The way the day started out... ha, was a major contrast with my park experience. A bunch of people were going to the Montana diversity parade, (gay pride) so I tagged along and got cajoled into joining with the Traveling Piano truck so... I sought out the perfect hood ornament and found Mia a beautiful transgendered woman in a huge frilly, pink prom gown. Hahaha... she was a perfect accent for the Traveling Piano, a great sport... she sat on top of the piano with her parasol and waved at the crowd while Sarah and her friend Helen hoola hooped along side us for the entire parade route.
June 18, 2010
It was cloudy and spritzin' but I headed to Glacier Park anyway. I ARRIVED! After asking a family to take my picture at the park entrance, other families began to arrive and I had to run or I would have been there the entire day with the Traveling Piano. And then... I drove right out of the park without realizing it. After about ten miles on a dirt road that could win an international pothole award and miles of burnt forest... I passed two guys collecting logs for a ranch farm fence. They were curious and so I stopped. We had fun. I was already up halfway to the next park entrance so so I continued onward. Twenty two more miles and I would have been into Canada. I found this small town... ish named Polebridge. It had a gas pump and a bakery, and a lot of locals hanging around.
I had to get gas... four fifty a gallon! Everyone including the town sherif had a go at the piano along with two ladies from Argentina. There was a saloon that was closed and behind it an outdoor stage that had a piano on it! What are the chances of that!!! It was an old timey piano so I played a little Maple Leaf Rag. God, that was fun. I was about to leave and the owner Heather happened buy. She is an amazing singer, songwriter and created music for me. What a treat. We bonded with the way we live our lives bigtime. I keep meeting people who live deep in the mountains and woods of rural America, people who are accomplished in there life work, crafts, talents... and who consciously choose to live a simple life style with nature and community. On the way home the sun was setting on snowy mountain peaks. I saw my second bear cross the road here in Montana.
June 17, 2010
It rained all day I did not mind a bit. I'm in a very comfortable house with a great view and a great piano. I played it for about two hours today. There is a pond of water sitting on top of the Traveling Piano tarp outside... so it goes... I sat watching horses, brown black and white running friskily across a field of tall grass... grazing in the rain along with deer outside the picture window this morning. I improvised for a few minutes of video and uploaded it to Utube... Piano Improvisation Sharon my host and I went to a yoga class and then to a Celtic music jam in Kila Montana. I've been meeting very progressive, educated, relaxed, happy, rural, inclusive and friendly people!
June 16, 2010
It took me twenty five years to realize my dream of visiting Glacier Park. I'm here! It has been raining all day so I've been inside. I feel like a kid at the ocean for the first time unable to wait and have my experience of the sand and water. Last night I wanted to drive to the park entrance even though it was dark and I wouldn't see anything. Sarah and I talked late into the night until we didn't know what we were talking about. She is a life long music teacher and started teaching music a year earlier than I did, at fourteen years of age. It is her passion. She is an amazing pianist. She has a wonderful piano in her home and you know what that means for me! To have a real piano to play on and and explore... yea, baby! Sarah's husband Alan left on a two month trip with his daughter on Saturday. I'm going to really miss getting to know him. Sarah is a completely non-affected musician totally competent and confident with her craft. She completely gets what I am about and when it comes to music to use here word, she likes an "organic" approach. I am very happy and thrilled to be here beyond words... even with the rain! I hope people are with me on this journey through the blog and pictures and in spirit because all I want to do is share everything with everyone.
June 15, 2010
Seeley Lake, Montana
On the way driving north in Montana today I realized that I have allot in common with cows. I could graze all day long. I don't think I would ever get tired of eating! After about two hours of driving I officially felt very far away from everything man made. I traveled through plains of grass no trees into forests of trees along side of huge beautiful lakes with mountains on all sides... I stopped in Seeley Lake, Montana because someone had asked me to play a tune there as it was there most favorite spot in the world and so I did. At frist I stopped at a local bank to get some cash for gas. All the bank people and some customers came outside for a tune. I stopped at a coffee-gift shop and as I was leaving met Scott along with a young married couple... April from Seeley Lake and Joost from Holland. April landed on top of the piano while Joost played and I drove the Traveling Piano truck back and forth, back and forth... through the center of town which was only about a quarter mile long. Afterwards we drove to the lake to create some music with the beauty of nature.
Moving on, I ended up stopping for some chips and a soda at a gas station on the road... met the owner and her uncle and also Buster their four months old pup. We threw him up on top of the piano and I had a MAJOR Piano Dog Boner "fix". Buster looked and felt a little bit like Bo. it was wonderful to hug him, create music with him sitting in front of me and rubbing my nose into his puppy dog fur to intoxicate myself with memory and feeling full of love. On arriving in Kalispell, Montana I met my host Sarah. She is in a marimba band and we met at her band practice. I walked into a huge warehouse with six major marimbas playing... sometimes with a flute, drums, a little trombone. It was a fun... very fun, wow introduction for the start of my dream here at Glacier Park.
June 14, 2010
I tried to take it easy today but it was not easy. Tomorrow I will be heading out and up towards Glacier Park to fulfill a twenty five year dream of experiencing it. I have mixed emotions about everything. Can I have this experience and have it separate from the journey? It will be bittersweet without piano dog Boner. Being a perfect day today with beautiful weather, that helped me to deal with it all. I posted two hundred more pictures to Boner The Dog My new piano electrical inverter came and I tried to set it up. Sparks began to fly and I stopped. I asked Jim a local electrician to help and it turned out to be a long and involved process. I would have had big trouble without him and he didn't charge me for more than an hours work. He had seen me on television. Man, those television spots have really helped this journey! I cleaned the truck and painted the piano. As soon as it was done everything was dirt covered once again from trucks flying down the dusty road. All in all everything is perfect and wonderful, I'm just having some difficulty allowing myself to feel that. I had a brief Traveling Piano moment with Doug's grand-niece Kyrie, her husband Timm and daughter Emily from across the street. Timm just got back from a second military tour in Afghanistan. Kyrie played piano and improvised beautifully. I wish I had met them earlier during my stay. Angst.
June 13, 2010
Hauser Lake, York, Montana
It took a lot of driving through dusty roads and having no idea where I was driving to in order to have fun today. It was worth it. The day was beautiful, in the 70's (finally) full sun. After driving to the bottom of the Canyon Ferry Lake reservoir to play for the water falling I found myself in York, Montana and then at the end of the road somewhere... and then at Lake Hauser and then at the Helena's water reservoir on and on. It was all so beautiful, I felt sedated as the sun set, even with all the dust!
My friend Mike made a short television pitch for me to upload to Oprah's site. The new OWN television network is looking for someone who wants to host their own television talk show. I've been thinking about this. They rejected the application who knows why. Maybe because it was too short, they don't believe I have the release forms for everyone appearing in it, (they could have asked) maybe something better is in the air... maybe they just want me to do it again. Don't know if I will but... I wanted to give Mike the respect he deserves for the work he did so I uploaded what I have. No original music was allowed so that meant no music period because I believe that when someone plays just one note on the piano, that's original!
June 12, 2010
I have life priorities more important than fun, friendship, respect... musical empowerment and inspiration ... which is my work to live in this world. These priorities often get lost in the shuffle of my personal priorities. Eat right, drink water, exercise. When my personal priorities are not front and center... I become dead meat. I can get seriously sick. I mean lose all energy, not be able to breath, have total body ache, not be able to think or go to the bathroom, a buildup of stress starts to show, unconscious fear, chaotic indecision, anger takes over and my body functions tense up to the point of collapse in everyway. Seems the only way I can save myself once it is all in full swing is through medication which opens up an entirely different set of worms. Gotta be careful. The way my life works... when I spend seventy five percent of my time taking care of my personal self I accomplished two hundred percent work. When I do not stay conscious of my personal priorities I sink into stress, pressure, anxiety, etc... and then that seventy five percent of effort accomplishes only twenty five work. Its a pain in the ass to stay conscious all the time (when I can do it) but... it is well worth it.
I needed to take it easy today so I gave myself a reality check concerning physical, mental and emotional limitations. I meandered... drove deep into the woods... began to take a nap on a grassy plot by a stream but then thought better because there were six inch bear paw tracks all around me... drove back to where I am staying and thought, "you have not seen the center of this small town and it is only a city blocks distance away. I made a left turn instead of a right turn. It was about five in the afternoon and I noticed people tearing down stuff. I had missed Clancy Days the towns yearly celebration. There had been a parade with a few fire engines and four tractors. The parade went through the town twice because it is so small. I missed it!
Oh well, it does not get dark until around 9:30pm here so there was still pleanty of time to create a ruckus. The neighborhood dinners and night partying were just beginning. I ended up meeting a lot of fine people and fun they were! I had been feeling worn down, but as soon as the Traveling Piano energy kicked in so did mine. It started with a bunch of grownups getting into the truck and we created a second mini parade while driving around town. Hahaha... what a riot. After that, the usual Traveling Piano experiences happened with people jumping onboard to have their own musical moments and then again before I left.... I gathered about seven neighborhood kids and we rode all over the town parading and banging the crap out of the piano into the new developments, around the ranch where I am staying, through the town and then back to our starting point. Fun, friendship and respect... music too!
June 10, 2010
Ennis, Virginia City Montana
It was cold and rainy this morning and I'm sick of it and also, I told someone I would visit a friend in Ennis, Montana so onward I went. It was almost three hours away and nine miles of it was a construction area. I drove through miles of four inch deep Montana crud as in mud. Once I reached town I found a gas station with a hose and spent a half hour scraping and watering off the mess. It was not pretty. The three people working all came outside and jumped onto the piano, they thought it was just so cool!
Topper was the name of the lady I was to visit. She had recently let go of all her material possessions and even had to give up stewardship of her dog in order to move to a nursing home. When I first met her she was taken off guard and waited the entire time to find out what I wanted, what I was looking to get. The workers at the home were able to handle the synchronicity and spontaneity of it all which really was wonderful... and unusual. I backed up the Traveling Piano three feet from the front door and everyone was rolled out into the lobby entrance. (it was too cold, freezing to go outside) Afterwards, I played and improvised some music for a short while on their piano inside. The dishwasher lady approached me outside while I was leaving, "I watched everyone's spirit rise up in the room and float the entire time you were playing." Not for the the old songs they knew, my personal music is what "floated their boats." This amazes me. I think Topper thought I was paid a fee as a present for her, oh well... thats ok as long as she enjoyed it.
I drove forward to Nevada city where I had visited twenty five years ago. Nevada and Virginia City have stayed authentic as small old Western towns with clapboard buildings and wood slat sidewalks. Virginia City was the first city to have electricity in Montana and they got cell phone service for the first time just two weeks ago. The music hall in Nevada city (about a mile away) is a museum full of old player pianos and nickelodeons. I pulled up in front and asked the old guy collecting the entrance fees if he liked Ragtime. (thats what most of the pianos inside play) He said, "No, I listen to old country and western." I asked, "Do you like Boogie Woogie?" Answer, "No." I wasn't about to ask if he liked improvisation. I just sat down to play some improvisation and then out of no where I hear him yell, "now THAT, I like." Nice, eh?
In Virginia City I played on the street. I went inside a coffee shop to ask if they had internet that I could use after they closed. My conversation started with, "I have a piano outside..." The girl interrupts, "Are you the guy with the red pickup truck?" I said yea, how did you know? She had seen me on television. She and her co-worker came out to hit a few notes on the piano. While standing outside a couple came up to me, "Hey, your the guy whose going to stay with us up near Glacier Park on Tuesday!" It was Alan and Sarah. They know about me but we had yet to meet. They live three hundred and fifty miles away from Virginia City! Alan will be leaving for a trip on Saturday so I would not have had the opportunity to meet him. Was that a coincidence or what?!!!
During the drive home with two stops at the Madison Valley lookout I thought, "After I go to bed tonight, If I should die before I wake, I want it said that I will have died a completely fulfilled and happy man as a result of experiencing the nature of beauty here on this planet." The drive across the earth today was stupendous. How wonderful to have a way to experience it all... the directions, the roads and the means of travel... and a physical body to do it all with. Ha.
June 10, 2010
Rain, rain go away, come again... no... go away period! Only sunny days for the next few months. I demand it!
June 9, 2010
I am finding myself creating recovery days. I took today easy. That means no driving adventures, no playing of music, interactions with people... I sat indoors working on all the usual stuff for most of the day. It rained on and off. A couple dozen black angus cows were delivered for the pastures where I am staying and all day long outside the window it was "Moo, Moo, Moo let me Outta this fenced in area." Eventually I got so fed up I went out to take a picture of them. Later on Doug's nephew and his wife invited me to dinner up the road. I've been having unusual connections. A past friend from Philadelphia who I would never had expected to hear from emailed me. Having seen me on the news in Bozeman and learning that Boner had passed they sent condolences. They are here in Montana and just an hour from where I have been staying. I found out today that my friend Charlie (past home base near Philadelphia) ...his brother coincidentally lives less than a mile from where I am presently staying. In the past week I have met three people from my old neighborhood... here where I am staying.
June 8, 2010
I went to visit Laura's parents in Elliston today. I met Laura with her grandchildren yesterday. As I drove out of Helena I could smell lilac bushes even while driving on the highway. There were two scenic high points along the way. I stopped to create music at both of them; one was Mac Donald pass on the continental divide. I met a musical family from Minnesota and we had some fun. I passed over the continental divide twice today. At the top of the continental divide here in Montana, all the water that falls on the one side ends up in the Gulf of Mexico and the other side it all flows to the Pacific ocean in Oregon. In Elliston I met a bunch of neighbors, we all had some fun. The town only has a few hundred people in it. On the way out I stopped in the business district. That translates to a gas station with a small grocery store and a bar. A guy named Bob jumped up onto the piano and then took pictures of my playing while trains passed by across the street. On leaving I thought, "I can't tell the difference between city and rural folk."
On the drive back I decided to take the road less traveled. Oh boy, did I end up taking the road less traveled!!! It was called Mullian Pass. I had no idea where it lead to. After about an hour and a half, because I could only drive ten miles an hour through the deep trenches and rocks, I wondered if I would end up in Canada. I was glad it was not raining and that I had filled the gas tank before I left. My GPS kept shifting to about from 12 and 53 miles and everything in between until the next turn. With no clue to where I was my cell phone went dead. I began to roll downhill forever thinking, "I never drove a third this high up I wonder how far down I could possibly go. I wondered if I would ever see civilization again.
I stopped along the way to create music in a lush valley and decided to stay until the sun set... which I realized after a time was not going to happen because it was descending not only down but sideways following the curvature of the mountain. While creating music I watched the beauty of the landscape, the sky constantly changed, wild animals forging for food in the distance, I listened to the strong flowing stream in front of me and smelled the change of day into the night. Every once in a while a train with about five cars on it would pass. The solitude was pure. Onward... it was just awesome, a life experience I will never forget. The road criss-crossed constantly over train tracks. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone driving on a hobby train platform to nowhere driving along the train tracks... through down and around hills, up onto vast plateaus, into mountains and plains. The railroad tracks curved and turned corners in front of me like on an amusement ride. I passed beautifully abandoned barns as well as distant active ranches set deep in the fields. As I drove up the highway earlier I wondered what it would feel like to be on the grassy hills in the distance and here I found myself on them. This was a major adventure but I thanked God when I found paved road. Gotta love this little Traveling Piano truck. It could not be more fragile with wear, tear and age and "its still going."
June 7, 2010
I am a bit out of sorts with no reason to be. My music speaker has been buzzing and I think now I know why... it is my inverter. If a new one will fix the problem, so be it. I am constantly reminding myself that I need not worry about money. That is not easy to do when it is limited. I've been creating Traveling Piano experiences on the fly as I move from place to place and do errands. At the audio store, food store, I met more family from the ranch where I am staying today... At night I drove up to the top of a hill and played while the sun set behind me and the shadows lifted from mountains in the distance. I don't know when to leave for Glacier Park. I should be used to all this. Will I head straight to Alaska after Glacier and how long to stay in Glacier? I am pondering the creation of a television show and how much energy and life am I willing to put into it. All? For how long... hahaha, why am I investing in all this thinking. I want to keep it simple. I think I'll spend some time and breath real slow... tonight.
June 6, 2010
Today was an easy day. Yesterday I had jammed my finger which is now swollen and a bit black and blue. Playing long and hard yesterday did not help. We were expecting rain all day. I needed to get updated with this blog. I am experiencing major grief about Boner no longer being here with me. It is surprising but I need to remember it has not been four months yet. His loss is new. It is just that I am in awe of Montana's natural beauty and that is what Bo and I enjoyed exploring and discovering together most, natural beauty. I am staying on another huge old gold mining site with an old railroad path running through it. I stayed on an old gold mining site with an old railroad path running through it in Colorado. What are the chances of that? Maybe there is gold in my future or I already missed the boat and it was in my past. I tore apart the truck trying to figure out where speaker buzz is coming from. Hopefully it is not from the seven hundred dollar amp. I took a few pictures of the barn area where I am staying. My friend Doug has been a great host. He gave me the bed, and he sleeps on the recliner. He says thats were he usually sleeps but I wonder.
June 5, 2010
Helena, Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana
The day was filled with fleeting magical moments. As I look back through the pictures, I wish I had spent more time to let each moment sink in. Everything reeled outwardly at a speed way beyond me. It started with dealing trouble between UPS and USPS both claiming to have a package for me that was sent general delivery but not being able to find it. Four hours of dealing with that crap but... the journey weaved in through that several times. Outside the post office a young girl jumped onto the piano to play... she had major problems to deal with from the night before, much bigger and more serious than mine. I was able to give her some release from stress which in turn gave me some release from the crappy feelings I was having. On the streets of Helena I stopped and played for people and a few jumped onboard to play for themselves. I've been feeling that people have been a bit reserved towards me here in Montana but as I moved through the day... I was proved wrong.
Some people intuitively get what I am about and looking to do. On the street in downtown Helena a guy suggested I try out the Canyon Ferry Lake area which was about thirty minutes outside Helena. Bingo! After driving what seemed like forever and through several miles of dusty, rocky, torn up road (when they tear up a road here in Montana you just drive on that torn up road)... up, down into canyons and around a few hills... I found a huge reservoir lake... ultimate beauty... sacred unspoiled vistas of nature. I was out on the end of a peninsula type area at the Hellgate Camp Grounds with winds blowing about forty miles an hour and creating waves on the lake with layers of hills in the distance of what seemed like hundreds of miles in the sun with wide open sky and land and space forever and ever. No exaggeration here. I created music in all of that and for a few pelicans also.
I stopped throughout the day in different areas to explore some spontaneity and synchronicity with people and nature. A granddad who had been fishing with his two grandsons, they found the Traveling Piano. A family from Great Falls Montana found us and the one young guy with them turned out to be a terrific piano player. Another guy in the group found a five foot snake slithering on the roadside gravel and soon it was jammin' on top of the piano and then on the piano keys and then it began to find its way inside the piano. We almost lost it in there. I found beautiful Scottish Highland Bull, Steers and Cows at Norwegian Wood a golf course and was allowed to drive into the field and create music with them. This was a super dooper treat! They were amazing animals, curious and interesting.They looked like people in cow costumes. I met the family and friends. They come from Alaska and live here in Montana through the summer months.
My last stop stop was in a cove like area on the lake, another campground area. I thought for sure no one would stop by when two young teenagers bicycle up... "Hey, we saw you drive by up the road. We saw you on the news in Bozeman last week!" Ha, that started some fun. I gave them posters. They rode back to camp which ended up in a dinner invite as I was leaving with about thirty established campers from all around Montana who have been escaping for several years from their weekly successful careers... to create community with each other on the weekends. Doug my host phoned me to ask if I was going to need some dinner when I got back. I'm being cared for. I drove back while heading into the sunset with railroad cars traveling beside me and the awesomeness of living in this world of wonder. Can we talk gratitude?
June 4, 2010
Jefferson County, Montana
I've been really curious about this guy Doug I am staying with. He lives on his family ranch of several thousand acres. I am staying in a huge gulch. The place has an amazing saw mill and Doug has lived on the land his entire life. The cattle brand insignia on the ranch barn is the oldest in the state. I have mentioned several times in this blog about how the pine beetle has been killing pine trees throughout the country. One of the products this wood ranch provides comes from the dead trees. The mill turns them into chips and then daily... trucks load and transport them out to be boiled in water and used for steam energy across the country. I had a great tour of the mill and stock yards. One of the first things I did was to plant the Traveling Piano in the middle of stacks of wood and force Doug to jump on the truck to create some random musical notes. He was a good sport. Afterwards he treated for dinner.
Like Kate my last host, I asked Doug how it is that he is so open to having a stranger stay with him. They both said it came from their parents. Both had generous parents who shared everything with anyone and were not materialistic. Kate is from the east coast and Doug is from here in Montana so I suppose their are people everywhere with this type of spirit for life. Here on this ranch in Montana, especially during the depression there were always people passing through who needed some work... a few bucks, a place to stay. Neighbors bartered goods and supplies with each other, they took care of each other, looked out for each other. They still do today. Needs are addressed. I asked Doug how he reconciles his sexual orientation with his religion and church. Short answer... he does it very well. He has many good people in his life and around him in every way. "We're all sinners" he says. I understand what he said.
June 3, 2010
While driving north in Montana today it became clearer that I am living in heaven. I truly believe this. When I experience pure nature and nothing else... it is what it is. I stopped by Kate's work while leaving Bozemen to say goodbye and met a few of her co-workers... with the Traveling Piano. The Traveling Piano stopped for a road crew while driving on a long rural highway today.
Ok, here goes... I was pulling out of a rest stop after filling my gas tank on a stormy night in Oklahoma a few months back. A guy came out of no where and banged on my window. He was excited to see a license plate from Pennsylvania and thought the piano on the truck was the coolest thing he had ever seen. Then out of nowhere he told me of a guy in Montana that he knows who would host me if I ever was looking for a place to stay in Montana. At the time I had no plans to visit Montana but I placed the call just to make the connection. Now here I am at that guys house in Montana. His name is Doug and he is an eighty three year old rural gay guy... life long ranch cowboy pentecostal church goer who is fairly certain that he is the number one blood donor in the country... definitely in the top five. How do I know all this? When we met today he had little interest in what I am doing with my life. So to pass the time I sat and drilled him with questions for an hour. Ha! I was loving my music today!
The first thing Doug said during our first phone conversation awhile back was that he had never been married. I could tell that he was interested in that fact that I also was never married. Then, in a later conversation he was telling me how he was about to plant pansies on his front porch. There were a few other things in following phone conversations and.... my "stereotyping horns" came out... I had a suspicion before I arrived here that he might be gay and my suspicion turned out to be correct. Ha, it is what it is and I'm glad he was ok with it. I had some trepidation about the visit so I thought it was important to lay all the cards out on the table from the start... concerning boundaries and limits for both of us. I experienced some uncomfortability with a past single friend I stayed with, it was with a woman that time :). I'll continue this tomorrow.
June 2, 2010
So... here I am in Bozeman, Montana. News Reporter Mike Mestas did a nice segment with the Traveling Piano for the local evening news. Bozeman Montana Traveling Piano News Segment The day was mostly overcast with constant on and off drizzel. I took a drive and drove and drove... ended up in Bear Canyon... sat down to play and it began to rain. Once I again I began to drive and drive ending up amazingly enough at the Montana Canvas Company in Belgrade, Montana. They fixed the broken snap on the Traveling Piano tarp, gave me glue and fabric to repair two holes and also two cans of spray to help weather proof the material... all without cost. The also made a template and took measurements of the present tarp should I need to replace it in the near future. They can make one and mail it to me for basic cost. This is how life is working for me! Major appreciation here. I created some video footage to do a television show pitch near the cities library at the end of the day and a couple young kids found the Traveling Piano. They jumped on board. Kate my host made a delicious dinner for me and her boyfriend. The sound speaker still has about an inch of water in it. I hope it dries out and the contacts do not rust. Tomorrow I am heading onward, out of Bozeman.
June 1, 2010
I would like to say the rain has not been bothering me but it is. This morning my truck speaker had two inches of water in it from last nights rain. It still works! After a break in the day with sun, it is now raining harder than ever. I don't want to think about it. The truck tarp has a snap that is broken. One broken snap is a big problem and I'll need some divine intervention for this problem.
The day started out with going into the center of town. A reporter named Mike from KTVM television Bozeman wanted to do a segment for the local television station. Fun... especially with the people who jumped onboard to play. It was one guys 20th birthday. Two girls had just arrived into town from back east... a mom with her two children had a great time exploring the piano...
I went searching around town for a television to watch the segment around dinner time. I ending up in a local auto repair shop waiting room where I met Lindsey a twenty six year old woman pretty much living on the road as I am but more globally and she is writing a book. She lives in her thirty five foot long horse trailer. She loves her horses (and dogs). After seeing the television segment we went outside to the Traveling Piano to play and three drifters joined us for a while.(with their dog)
Later at night Kate my host and I had a wonderful talk and looked through family pictures. She by coincidence also grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is dealing with a very difficult recent tragedy in her life. Her twenty three year old son Alex living in West Philadelphia, in January... brought a shot gun and blew his head off. Kate is dealing with life head on. Talk about staying connected... she has invited me into her home... has offered to share her food and anything else she has to offer... talks openly about what has happened... has given me the ok to talk about it openly... Kate has no interest in focusing on the death of Alex, how he died, her loss... she wants to keep alive the fact that he was a great kid. Kate is a hero in my eyes and a pure example of everything I work to live by with The Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration. She is a smart cookie... a lawyer, college professor, mom, computer support and software trainer, very non-materialistic but most importantly... emotionally progressive.