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.
September 30, 2010
It has been pouring rain, I am not packed, the truck is not packed, need to be at a wedding tomorrow in Pennsylvania, I'm not going anywhere... need to not feel rushed, get a grip, have a feeling of fun desire about the next move for this journey. It is amazingly interesting, somewhat disturbing that I get stressed out, crazy and overwhelmed at the least prospect of anything having to do with, "I have an appointment, a deadline to deal with." Hahaha... after having time without obligations, expectations, responsibilities to anyone except myself and to the journey... anything else feels like pressure. As I move back (just a little) into life as I once knew it, I want to make sure good anticipation fills any space in my head that might be construed as pressure. I am starting a new page on this website. It will be found as a link on the left side column. It is called "Life with Mo." My an Mo's first experiences, our training, sharing of life, how things work, the personal relationship and intimacy as it develops... will be all written down on this link. It will be of help to me to write everything down and hopefully give others some tools and ideas concerning the stewardship of having a dog in one's life.
September 29, 2010
Bath, West Virginia
Finally, I got my photo drivers license in Pennsylvania. It had expired which was the reason I had to return east with a stop off in West Virginia that led me to Piano Dog Mo. The drive took an hour and a half from where I am staying. Mo waiting for me in the truck with the window open. What a great guy! I had too much on my mind to stop and play anywhere. Need to drive back to Pipersville, Pennsylvania tomorrow and I have not packed anything or cleaned the truck. Before returning to the cabin I stopped and saw some friends in the town of Bath which is also Berkeley Springs. As I upload and do my internet work "on the fly" the ground has been too cold for Mo to lay on. Now I take his rug from on top of the piano and he uses it on the ground next to me while I work and he waits for the next adventure.
September 28, 2010
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
A lot of time is being spent with Mo. I'm giving myself this time, allowing it so he can learn quickly to feel secure and trust me. Mo must learn what to do, how to be with me personally and in the world so... no time for piano playing today! In just eight hours time, Mo has learned to chase trucks, guinea hens, people, dig deep for ants and chew up anything and everything. I wrote about piano dog Boner everyday for a year. I'll probably be writing allot again about Mo because my purpose with this website is to share the process of my life within the mission of this journey. Mo now sleeps at night outside his cage and in the room with me. Last night he went into the cage to sleep. Probably because he had a choice. He is used to being in there. It is a den for him. I keep the door open. When he wakes up in the mornings he jumps into bed with me to get me going, ugh... although part of me wants this. Mo makes for a great alarm clock.
There has been three small instances of resistance from Mo to date. I am realizing how I create them for and in him. I am responsible. Mo, in a self centered mode of play, wild abandonment, wanting attention or any other agenda will go and for example... pull a towel out of the bathroom and into the living room to chew apart. I will say, "no" and put it back. He will go again and get it with or without me around and as soon as I see... I will repeat my actions and commands stronger. "Stronger" is the key word... If Mo is not in a mode to listen and obey... my "Stronger" just creates "Stronger" in him... Stronger resistance to my command and desire for obedience. A cycle of stronger and stronger resistance begins to grow in both of us... not good. The solution was to redirect his energy and play with him for just a few minutes chasing him around the room. After I helped him to release some energy with a spirit of fun, friendship and respect (this journeys mission)... he jumped up on the sofa and gave me a break to write this blog.
My past thinking... "if I give him any positive attention when he does something wrong or something that I don't want him to do... he will begin to always do something wrong or what I don't want him to do to get attention." This is not true, it is not fact. The key word is "Redirect" with positive attention. I must catch him in the act of doing whatever is undesirable... and then have some patience, take just a few minutes to show him something better. Consistency is everything. If I show him negative energy he will create negative energy. If I resist his behavior he will resist my behavior. If I show him "my kind of play" he will show me "my kind of play". If I show him positive energy he will create positive energy, a positive response. Of course if I am lacking in patience then I just put him on his leash or in his cage for a time out. When I need to take a shower and don't want him loose and getting into everything I just pull up the bathroom rug, bring him into the bathroom with me and close the door have him wait until I am done and can keep a better eye on him.
September 27, 2010
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
I'll be talking about Piano Dog Mo allot because I want to share his puppyness with the world. He was exhausted last night after his first day with the Traveling Piano. Already coming into his own... when we got back to the cabin he was like, "I just wanna be left alone for awhile, enough of people petting me and giving me attention and wanting attention back without a break for hours on end". Mo has interacted with two dogs so far... a huge chocolate lab and a huge long haired poodle mix named Marley, my friend Dawns dog. Mo was not shy at all. He was all over them like a puppy should be and trying to mount them from the side to show his ability to be dominant... at five months old. Fortunately, these were easy going dogs. Later he laid in my arms and I watched his eyes roll into the back of his head, he was so relaxed with me. I love when that happens. I met new neighbors Tom and Alison today. They own the chocolate lab. Tom said, "Let Mo drive my dog crazy to give him a taste of his own medicine because he is always driving us crazy like that." Ha. Alison jumped onto the piano to give it a go... People seem to becoming increasingly progressive musically on the piano in less than a minute... lately.
September 26, 2010
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
It is official!!! The Traveling Piano Man has partnered with Hound Dog named "MO" a five month old Beagle-English Bull Dog Mix... a Miracle! I am very blessed. I can have the opportunity to love completely more than once in this world... experience the same love to give and share over and over again and accept in return.
In Berkeley Springs today I took Mo around to old haunts and introduced him to friends. He sat on the piano for the first time with the Traveling Piano in full operation mode. Everyone was amazed. He was so good, so natural, so at home. I am having so much fun, so grateful.
September 25, 2010
This is day five with Mo. Wow, this dog could not be more cooperative! A fast learner, he had never played with a human before and it was so funny to watch him develop a "tug of war" game with his toy. I was concerned this dog might be too docile for me. Forget that concern. I awakened the animal in him. Now when walking he is going crazy wanting to hunt, when playing I must tech him to calm down and be more careful. I have never experienced a dog so comfortable in his body. He is like a young kid exploring himself loving to stretch, use, physically feel, be felt. I opened the truck door for him to jump in. He hesitated and went to take a pee first. Already he knew not to go into the truck and pee again! I had to run into a store... what to do, what to do... with the temperature in the nineties I could not roll up the windows. I figured I would leave the leash on him and tie it to the outside window in case he jumped out, that way he would land on the ground with some room. As I opened the door the leash wrapped itself around the stick shift by accident. I left it there and he ended up having just enough room to put his paws on the door ledge to look out for me and it also gave him full range inside the truck. How perfect was that? He waited for me no problem, no wining or barking, it was fantastic. I thought, "see how things can work out."! What a journey... music and otherwise!!!
September 24, 2010
I am having already having an amazing life experieince with Mo, a new buddy, a dog who has entered my life. What interests me most is to watch, observe the creative process of my life unfold with him. It is so out of the box for me to sit and watch my life. When I left Montana I knew it was the right time. Nothing told me that, I just knew it. Yesterday I was told the winter snows began immediately after I left. There was no way I would have gotten anywhere had I stayed. I would have been stuck. When the Canada boarder entry got boggled up and the need to drive back east came into the picture I knew it was right and meant to be. Nothing told me that. I just knew it... totally, I could not feel more sure.
I felt strongly about stopping in West Virginia verses going straight to Pennsylvania. Once I returned a chain of events happened which led to a woman coming up to me saying she had a dog, a pup that needed a home and she just knew we were to be together, a perfect fit. "Yea right," I thought, "She's trying to get rid of a dog." Even though, I did not negate the spiritual environment... connection I felt from the conversational exchange. Feeling my way with the situation, total open mindedness, open to opportunity, ability to flow back and forth between changing my mind, examining my motives, intent, needs, wants and priorities for example... "what is more important, intimacy in relation with the journey or intimacy in relation to a human or dog. It certainly does not look like I will have a human partner ever at this stage of the game (although I'm open) so another dog? I have been actively seeking dog fixes like stopping at human centers to look at them and I took a dogs for a walk once so... if a dog comes into my life and feels good should I say no its not the right time to train a dog while traveling on the road?
September 23, 2010
This dog named "Mo", having him with me... the process has been consuming my life. The thoughts surrounding his being in my life are draining me emotionally. He found the sofa; he's no dummy, took to it immediately. He waited till I took him outside today and did both number "1" and number "2". Good Boy! We went for our first walk. It was short but I was so exhausted I just laid in bed for most of the afternoon afterwards while telling myself, "your allowed to do this." The weather is really warm and I wanted to just "be" in the warmth without obligation or expectation for my life. This dog and I are a perfect match no question about it. I am not so sure about the timing for my life. I really want to do some things I have not been able to do with a dog in my life. Like right now, I need to go get my drivers license photo but can't leave the dog in the truck because he's not trained. I'd like to go and see three movies in a row. That can't happen without a lot of working around the needs and responsibilities. At the same time there is something to be said for having accountability and commitment to intimacy with another living being in my life.
Friends gave me their dog cage. To travel with Mo I would need a smaller one to fit in the Traveling Piano tuck but... when I saw how Mo rests and sleeps... no way, he needs a large cage. This guy likes to stretch out to the hilt. He sleeps on his back, head tilted to the side and with all four legs splayed out to the sides, way funny and way cute. What am I to do? I gave him a bath. He could not have been more cooperative. While petting and rubbing him today I was thinking, "are you ever going to get tired of this." I mean, its constant. Towards dusk we took the Traveling Piano to the park. After a walk up the mountain Mo jumped into the back of the truck on his own. I put him on top the piano... he stayed for a short bit but was not too sure about being up their so I let him stay in the truck bed where he was very comfortable. I was very careful to be easy and gentle with the music because he is not used to it. I played like I would for a child. Sometimes I am amazed about how caring a person I can be. I do not think that I am anymore caring than any other human being. Everyone is caring... some people just don't know it. I am conscious and aware and most definitely... very grateful for my ability to care. It took many years to learn what caring means... is, how to do it productively, know when enough is enough, that I can do it, to allow myself, believe in it, etc...
September 22, 2010
So... this dog Mo and I are spending some time together. The ride out of his place and into town to visit some friends was bumpy and the road was curvy for quite awhile. Maybe thats why he peed all over the truck seat. The seat acted like a baby diaper for him. I could not figure out why my cell phone did not work that night. I went to change the battery and it was all wet inside. Mo had filled the bag that holds my wallet, phone, camera etc... with pee! He was sitting with his ass up against me I thought, "cute" having no idea he was peeing on me because the seat, floor an all my stuff was already soaked. I don't think he could help it. We spent a long time in Berkeley Springs with friends on the street. For the entire second half of the ride back to the cabin he held tight until we got out of the truck and then... he let loose on the ground, lucky me. Back at the cabin he was great until he began to dump big time on the floor rug. His cage was almost set up... too late. I don't know if I am going to be able to deal with this process of training a dog again right now in my life and while traveling on the road? He certainly has been a lover... kind and gentle all day. He's been farting a lot, really bad stuff. I think he has fleas... needs a bath. What the hell am I doing?
September 21, 2010
Cherry Run, West Virginia
Carefully I step, slowly, thoughtfully I move... Today I spent time with a dog named "Mo" we took the Traveling Piano down by a river access area in Cherry Run, West Virginia. After going for a walk and his hearing music for the first time a guy named Crazy River John came over and talked with us. "Mo"... is a five month old Beagle, English Bulldog mix wanting an owner who can give him more attention than he is presently getting. NOT that we are going to partner... I am just exploring, experimenting... getting a feel. So I have been dealing with an emptiness that existed before Piano Dog Boner came into my life. Part of me says, "learn to live with just yourself." Another part of me says, "why, I don't have to if I don't want to." Lots of people go through life with partners, marriages, pets, etc... Ha. If I ever took stewardship of another dog it would be a courageous move for my life. It was bred into me that having another partner would diminish my love and relationship I had with Boner. I know this is not true but never the less... While we hung out my commitment issues were rearing their heads big time. They were manifesting with thoughts such as...as "Mo" sat next to me in the truck, "damm, he's taking the space where I just throw all my stuff while traveling, he is shedding MORE than Bo, where is his tail he has no damm tail... his nuts, look at those two little black things... disgusting!" Realty... this dog is a major cutie.. a complete lover, attentive, gentle, expressive, I think he may be very smart, wants to please, doesn't bark like crazy, is happy, happy, happy and loves people!
September 20, 2010
Oak Forrest, West Virginia
I negotiated a lot of self in having piano dog Boner with me. It was all good. Now he is gone and I fully except that. This is also good. I would give almost anything to have him in my life but must except the reality of what life is and how it works. The thoughts of having another animal in my life, the responsibility, the sharing, the concessions... there is one thing I am clear about. My decision would not be related to Bo it would be related to my life today and what I want for it. There are many reasons I can create for not having a new partner but none of them hold any credibility except for the responsibility. Today, I have no one and nothing to answer to except myself, no responsibility to care for anyone or anything else but myself. With that thinking in mind... life has shown me that being connected to Boner often helped to keep my mind sane because... if left alone, by myself for too long a time in my head... this can be dangerous. This I know.
September 19, 2010
Hedgesville, West Virigina
Most of the day was spent with new friends Joslyn and Joe. Joslyn wanted me to meet Mo... a dog. She had heard me talking the other night with a group of friends and thought we would be perfect for each other. With a spirit of keeping an open mind and not missing any life opportunity I went to meet him. She was correct. He is a lover, attentive, cute, special (even though I try to avoid that word) all that but... Anyway, Mo is an emotional dog. The first thing he did was come sit next to me and then he marked me. Peed by my side. Ha! Piano Dog Boner and I have a very interesting history concerning that. So anyway this new development has brought up lots of thoughts. The family invited me for dinner. I played some music for them. They jumped on the piano but Joselyn was not going to have her face show in a picture without her makeup on! Ha, she is beautiful I was surprised that she ever even wore makeup. Thoughts, thinking, thinking, thoughts...
September 18, 2010
Cacapone State Park, West Virigina
Today was full. It began with my attending the homeowner association meeting and picnic from the neighborhood where I am staying. We could not get the truck close to all the action so only a few people got to experience the Traveling Piano. I've had personal and several social interactions with most of the neighbors around the cabin where I am staying. This feels good.
Afterwards, I headed up to the Cacapone State Park overlook. I was in my shell until two women opened me up. We had a great time; they speak my language with how life works. I hope we become socially connected. There were many different interactions with many different types of people. I met another woman from Germany who has just moved to the area to begin a new life. She lives in a nearby gated community. A tattoo artist family from Martinsburg, West Virginia jumped onto the Traveling Piano. A young woman with her boy friend appeared. She is an opera singer visiting the area from Virginia. "Do you read sheet music" she asks. It so happens she had just brought a new opera manuscript yesterday, Mozart... I practiced sight-reading in order to accompany her, which I used to be pretty good at and she practiced singing her new piece of music while sitting on top of the piano looking out over the hills and mountains. She was beautiful and her voice was amazing.
I am sitting in the park lodge right now to publish this blog. It is a decision to drive back to the cabin and enjoy the peace and quiet, which I realize many people would die for. Balance is the key. I enjoy both quiet and chaotic fun. Dealing with an old emptiness inside and feeling ok being by myself minus Piano Dog Boner. This is on my menu for the rest of the night.
September 17, 2010 ...again
Berkeley Springs, West Virigina
TWO blog entries for one day? What is going on!!! I was sinking emotionally but now I am ok. I spent some time with old friends tonight. It was difficult at first without Bo. I have begun the process of seeing people I have known for the first time without Piano Dog Boner. There are many people who do not know me without my dog. They have never "not" seen the two of us together. On and on this process goes. I was randomly stopped while driving on the road tonight and was questioned by the "sobriety check police." They asked where I was going. I wanted to say, "to Mexico, I'm going to sneak in." It felt like European history repeating itself here now in America... police using fear tactics, control, random detainment without cause. They were using the general population to scare the local younger folk attending a nearby highschool football game. The authority possee... with a huge tracter trailer van and six state sqaud cars quit the shenanagans at twelve midnight which would have been a better time to begin if they were for real?
I entered a local cafe to see a musician with a friend. By coincidence I ran into this guy "Kimmon" randomly unrealted to music one night over a year ago in Winchester, Virginia. All the workers at the cafe remembered me from last year and one employee ran out to greet me... "Great to see you, I really appreciated meeting you last year. I think about you often, what you told me about creating music I'm still going with it." Ten minutes later another kid rode into the cafe on his bike. He ran up to me... "I'm here to see you! You just drove by me while I was bikng down the road. Three years ago I found you and your dog on the top of Cacapone park. It was misty and about to rain. I got onto your truck and you showed me how to create music." He went on to discribe in detail what had happened from beginning to end and how appreciative he still was. How random... how cool... what a gift all this interaction... validation... and the fun too. It feels really good to be apprecitated. With over twenty thousand people to date having been on the Traveling Piano truck from Canada to Mexico... I supposse I should not be surprised when I run into past friends who have met Bo and I.
September 17, 2010
The day was spent totally puting pictures on my computer desktop screen... all pictures of my dog Boner. It is what it is. I'm going to love him until I can no longer love. The pictures bring constant simles, tears, wonder... Should I be moving on? Can't... today. It is what it is. God, help me. The situation is both ok and not ok... a process I will go through until its done. Some days are good... no, let me clarify that even more... some moments are good and then some are not so good... in feeling the memories.
September 16, 2010
I wonder if I will ever get away from... or not be affected by the disappointment I feel when people say things like, "what are you going to do, are you ever going to get a real job, will you be setteling down now?" At fifty five years of age I have owned and paid for my life's neccessities and have also thrown away a lot of money for fun. I've purchased and paid for cars and a house along with the upkeep costs. I paid off my house, how many people can say that? I've paid taxes and insurances. I've run up major credit card bills through the years several times (never again) and paid them all off several times. I've donated money. I never paid a bill late in my life! There has been less than ten times in my life where I forgot to pay a bill. Ha, I wonder if I will ever get over the need to prove myself to others or to the world.
September 15, 2010
This journey is not over... yet, today! Just because the option exists, just because I think about it, just because I have returned back east where I started from, just because Piano Dog Boner is now gone... not one of these facts ends the journey. I am always thinking about how I can make this Journey of Peregrinating Musical Exploration more exciting, bigger, include others into it and share it with more of the world. Also, I have no desire to cloud the facts and always keep a happy face for the world. This journey is about being as trueful and factual as possible about everything for better or worse. I am not going to hide in my writings any doubts, the indecisions, the changes of thinking and ways of operating that may bounce back and forth, it all is what it is. The difficult times do not need to be deadly, horrible, an end... they are what they are... I just move through them. Outside of the cabin where I am staying I created music this afternoon. It felt awesome.
September 14, 2010
In this cabin where I am now staying, I have been wondering what is different today from when I spent a month by myself in the cabin that was given to me to use in Denver, Colorado. That was back a few months ago. Here today I am surrounded with old familiarities, a few belonging and many memories. In Denver I was working steadfast with the Traveling Piano constantly stimulated with the newness of my surroundings. The loss of my dog was fresh and excruciating at times especially at night before I went to bed. Here today I must travel out and away to do any Traveling Piano work. As far as work here in the cabin where I am staying... there is a major tendency to shut down, sink into and become frozen in past time with old memories. Should I run and get out of here... get super busy with outside distractions, or should I sit right here and busy myself (there is a lot to do) while dealing productively with old feelings and then hopefully move forward... naturally. I can't "try" to do this. (deal productively) if it is going to be done I must make a "decision" to do it and get on with the work of life. Now I am experiencing "emptiness" not so much a "loss", an old emptiness I know too well. It was life before Piano Dog Boner. With Bo I enjoyed the comfort from winding down after a long day of work in partnership with him. I felt so not by myself at night after a day's experiences especially the good ones. Before bed, after watched a movie tonight that made me cry in a good way, there was... silence, emptiness, nothing. I would like to feel completely satisfied and content with the enjoyment of my life experiences without the need to have my dog or someone by my side to go through it all with because... I don't see another dog or a person entering into my life to fill my voids. (not that there is anything wrong with that) I don't want to use any crutches or aids because the ones I tend to choose usually turn out to be detrimental to my emotional health. So... the only option is to decide to be happy with myself.
September 13, 2010
Was beginning to sink into a real funk... wanted to disassociate, isolate, play games of separation... love will not allow it. The sky, the couds, peace in my life, certain and significant people contacted me even though I want to tell myself no one is there to care. Part of me wants to regress into the past with my dog, create feelings of loss, drama. I've got to much to be grateful for. Can't do that, can't allow myself to regress... today.
September 12, 2010
Cacapone, West Virigina
I am back at a home base in West Virginia. Took a drive to one of Piano Dog Boner and my favorite spots in a nearby park to create music. Numb would describe my state of being. There is not much feeling yet there is... security in it all, balance, relief, in having my own total space and time... in a cabin with no cell phone, internet or television, people... of course I'd rather have Bo with me. It is very peaceful in the moment. While creating music I realized that I have emotion but don't really want to have much else. Emote what? Its weird. I'm not sure what to do with myself. I am ok being myself but its weird. This is a new chapter in my life for sure. I am experiencing the opportunity of a deeper level of... "by myself."
September 11, 2010
It is very surreal to be sitting on a outside deck porch on beautiful, warm, fall day... a very familiar deck. This is the last "den" like place Piano Dog Boner and I shared together in total harmony on and off for eight months, last year. Yea, yea, yea... I can feel and see him with me in spirit here but nothing can replace the enjoyment of our reality together, nothing. I run to gratitude in my head. I have a tendency to create distraction... organize something or have anger over mundane things and people but... I have been doing something I find more interesting. I think I've been doing it all along. I am just better now because I am more practiced and conscious. I think the ability has come from the nature I have been enjoying. I have been automatically at peace and happy in and "at one with nature" for much of the last three months. It has become an enormous life coping tool for me.
Concerning the reality of being totally by myself driving... and now here at this place I have been given to use... I look at what is in front of me and get real about what "is" for the present moment and then... I have a choice (something I never had before) ...to run into a safe place mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I run deep inside myself. How crazy is that!? I can do it. I did it several times last night on the way here. I did it just before I began writing this. It took over thirty years of wanting to... to be able to do this. Find that secret place that is all mine deep inside. There is a little tendency for worry... like I won't be able to come back out. Ha, it is a conscious state of meditation. Hmm.... Yesterday a Sheriff jumped onto the piano to play. I wanted to share his pic.
September 10, 2010
Somewhere Outside of Chicago, Illinois
Did I drive straight for the last twenty hours from Madison, Wisconsin to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia? Yes and I am still alive, I saw the sun rise for the second time in a week! The tolls on the roads back east are almost unbearable. I was either nickeled and dimed in short distances... or outright gouged. Almost twenty bucks just for tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I wasn't half through it. Before I left Wisconsin I set my intention for the day... fun, friendship and respect... musical empowerment and inspiration but as usual... also had serious doubt it would happen because I would be driving all day. I did want to believe. So here is what happened.
On a whim, I left the tarp off the truck while I drove which is unusual for long distances. I stopped on the highway at a Mc Donalds. (internet access) I needed to renew my driver's license online. The service was down. A few hours later I tried again at another spot and then one more tim at yet another. I'm sitting at a random reststop outside a McDonalds trying to find the friggin' form online to take care of business and this young chap with a big smile walks up to the window inquiring about the piano. He wasted no time in asking if he could play on it and just in case it mattered assured me that he knew how to. He said he was in fact a concert pianist. I laughed and knew in the moment my days intent was manifesting into reality big time.
Sean Bennett from Chicago is not just a classical concert pianist he is a "Monster Classical Concert Pianist." I must say my joy meter hit the top. It was bouncing all over the place. To have a professional peer, an accomplished classical performer embrace some messing around and musical fun through a synchronistic and in the moment encounter on the Traveling Piano... with beat up clicking, glued and often non-reacting piano keys and a squeaking foot pedal... well, I drove him around the rest stop complex in circles and he played a bunch of stuff including a Vadimir Horowitz transition from the Oprea Carmen. He is one of only two people in the world that plays it. We ended up way back deep in an overflow parking lot away from the tractor trailer engine sounds. It was a shady spot. We wanted to make a short, on the fly video for fun. Check this out...
Sean Bennett Roadside Traveling Piano Performance
September 09, 2010
Madison, Wisconsin is a unique place. In what way I am not sure. It may be the mix of being a state capital and also a college town. Anyway, I was driving around feeling a lack of enthusiasm and energy trying to figure out how I was going to get started with some work for the day. The work of fun, friendship, respect, musical empowerment and inspiration. The city is built around a lake but I could find no places to park the truck directly by the water. Bicycles are used quite a bit here in Madison. All the college kids seem to use them, thousands and thousands of bikes. I stopped at a music store named Good N Loud Music. Is that a great name or what?
A guy named Ian who works there took an interest in the Traveling Piano and said, "I should drive you around town while you play on the back." Wow, bingo! That is what we did. We took turns switching seats. (not while the truck was moving) On the way back Ian's experience playing piano on the back of the truck went from surreal (slowly through neighborhoods and around campus) to exhilarating (fast down the main drag) to daring. (big time traffic buildup) Back at the music store owners Steve and Chris jumped onto the piano and also offered for me to hang around. They asked if they could get me a pizza or anything. I said, "extra cheese, pepperoni, mushroom!" They gave me access to their internet. Students and parents had a go at the piano as they arrived for music lessons. This was the first music store ever... in my life, that took an interest in me as a person. It was not all about music and business for them.
September 08, 2010
Today was beautiful. I said goodbye to my new friends Allan and Darlene and head ed for Amy's house in Middleton, Wisconsin right outside of Madison, Wisconsin. I called her at the last minute to ask if she could host me and was surprised when she said yes... a very trusting person, a single woman whom I have never met inviting me into her home. I almost thought she was going to blow me off. I arrived and she did not answer the phone. She thought I would just arrive and was outside painting the front of her home. I waiting and called again from a local park and then began to look into other alternatives. Not desperate at all I was trying to decide wether I should just drive onward, get a room somewhere or find another person to stay with. I actually drove into a monastery to see of they would give me a room for the night. The place was completely open with no one was around anywhere. I was laughing at myself for having the hutzpah to even investigate. When I got back to the truck I found a message on my cell phone from Amy. She said to, "just come on by." I played a little bit of music while she finished her house painting. Amy works for the local university, has been an inner city school teacher in Los Angeles, cooks great cookies and enjoys her home. While driving on the way to Middleton today I stopped at a random humane center somewhere in Wisconsin and took one of the dogs for a walk. This was a first. I needed a dog fix. Also another first... I pulled into a rest stop jumped into the back of the truck and took a nap. That felt weird but also great on this warm, sunny and breezy day. Wow, Glacier Park is over... what a Major Wild Dream Accomplishment that was. Thank God I have all those pictures to remember...
September 07, 2010
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
I must call everyone I was to visit in Canada and Alaska to tell them of the change in plans. My life is spinning big time.... time... ha. Writing this blog, keeping up with the pictures, socializing, playing music, doing my work, traveling, taking care of business... yikes! I am now staying with Allan and Darnell right outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have been feeding me and... oh my God the feeling of a nice bed... in a bedroom... in a house... it has been a while! I did not know that Minnesota is full of lakes, over a thousand maybe two thousand of them... made from Glaciers. It has been warm, cool... I can't tell wether it is spring or fall. I am really glad I stopped here. The driving... it is back to city driving. I feel like a hazard on the road because I have been creating impatient braking and maneuvering because I will only drive as fast as sixty five miles an hour, the speed limit. Everyone else does eighty, so it seems. The piano speaker had water in it from rain but it still works. I started out today playing some music for Allan's neighbor while he worked on his car and then Allan and I went driving around to explore the city. I pulled up to a street curb because I saw a huge rose garden that I wanted to check out. Three women walking by engaged us in conversation about the Traveling Piano. I played for them and they were going to jump up to play after I was done but began to back off quick as soon as the time came... chickens, but... two other women discovered the music and threw themselves into the opportunity.
Allan and Darnell are Christian Scientists. Darnell is a Christian Science nurse. Allan a retired air force vet has been a life long Christian Scientist. What an education they gave me. I never thought of a Christian Scientist as a Christian! Ha, they follow the bible and everything that is Christian. Mary Baker Eddy who created the church said, "Follow me only so far as I follow Christ." She was all about analyzing Christ and how he worked, what he did and how he made life work. To my surprise, my thoughts and way of living have a lot in common with the Christian Science faith. I am a huge believer in "physician heal thyself" and I am an analyzer... for better or worse, ha! I probed these people big time to find a chink in their spiritual wall and could find none. Hahaha... I love them! They gave me more understanding of life. Again and again I find that people who "walk their walk" or "work their religion" ...in a positive, progressive and loving way... people who focus on spirituality or just goodness in life... they flow with grace, share there lives openly and are unafraid... of inviting strangers like me into their homes :)
September 06, 2010
Ha, I thought I would try and drive straight through back east from Glacier Park, silly me. Why do I think these things? After many hours of driving, almost midnight, it was pitch black and on back country roads... I was two hundred and fifty miles from the interstate and thought... you better get some gas. While pulling into the first town off the road I felt very lucky that a friend had told me you can purchase gas from a closed station if you have a credit card the pumps will work... if you see a light in the pumps. I have a debit card that acts as a credit card so that was that. This was a small town ! There were a few houses, a bar and a gas station, I'm not sure there was even a grocery store. As I drove pass the bar I stopped to ask where I was. That ended with a Traveling Piano scene. They all jumped on and off the truck, banged on the keys, handed me enough money for a full tank of gas, offered to make me some food, I gave them a signed poster and then had to get on my way. We had fun! I saw the sunrise for the first time in many years. It was right in front of me as I drove through Bismark, North Dakota. It had rained all through the night. As the sun rose... power lines, telecommunication antennas, telephone poles, chain stores, corporate buildings, oil tankers... ugh. After months of being in nothing but the beauty of nature well... anyway, it was fun entering North Dakota for the first time. I might have tried to stop and play but the rain returned after the sun rose. I kept driving.
After almost a thousand miles and not half way back I realized I was going to need a room to get some sleep and then I thought (now in Minnesota) that I may never get back to this area of the country, I'm in Minnesota, why am I rushing to get back east, I met so many people from Minnesota and Wisconsin over the last few months in East Glacier, why would I not visit their home. I randomly called a stranger, a guy from my travel book and asked if he and his wife would like to have a visit for a couple of nights, I was five hours away. He said sure! Amazing, amazing grace... ha. I became incredibly energized that these people would have me in their home with such spontaneity, the synchronistic timing, trust, openness... I ended up driving to the park with them to play some piano for neighbors. This was after thirty hours of driving. I sat the last twenty miles in bumper to bumper traffic... people heading back into the twin cities after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
September 05, 2010
The Canadian Boarder
This morning as I went to pay the motel bill, Judy the owner of the Sears Motel where I have stayed over a month... she cut my bill by more than a half. This was a huge contribution to the journey. Thank you Judy! It was a great sendoff and the ride up to the Canadian boarder was as beautiful as it gets. The areas around here are now showing shades of yellow and brown and today with storm clouds above... deep shades of white, blue, grey and black, wow!
At the boarder, customs sent me to the immigration office. Apparently, they wanted to interrogate me. The guy says, "Why are you coming here." Ans... To visit. "How long are you planning to stay?" Ans... I'd like to see Banff and Jasper starting out in Calgary and depending on for how long I can get a visa, I may winter if I get up to Yellowknife in the Yukon. It might not be worth the time to travel all the way up there and return right away because of the cold. I may just move on to Alaska after I see the Rockies in Banff and Jasper.
"What kind of work do you do, how are you going to support yourself?" Ans... I am on a journey, I sold my home to pay for it, I often stay with members of organizations who invite travelers into their homes. (I handed him my organizational papers and mission statement to review). He says, "If you sold your home what would make you want to return to the United States? Ans... It is where I live, have family and friends... I have no desire to settle in Canada. "How much cash do you have with you." Ans... I told him and he raised an eyebrow. I told him I have a debit card. "How much do you have in your bank account?" I told him. It is more than enough for anyone to visit for a few months. He went into the office to check on a few things. I knew he was going through my website.
He comes back out and says... "I'm not letting you into Canada, you have no home." I said absolutely, I have several homes, I have money to rent if I so wish and here is an address if you need one... I handed him my drivers license. He said, "Your taking bookings and trying to get into Canada to work." He shows me a copy of my paypal contribution page from the website. This began to piss me off but I kept my cool. Ans... That is a wrong accusation, I have not taken a booking in years and there have been only three small contributions for this journey throughout the entire year which is almost over. The page has nothing on it what so ever that eludes to fees and clearly has input only for contribution. I continued... if you look at my truck it says, "Traveling Piano" ....not... "Raggin' Piano Boogie." The website clearly documents what I now do... my mission... the journey... verses the career I once had. He says, "You have nothing to prove you can pay your way through here." Ans... I just told you how much cash I have and I can show it to you if needed. What more do you need. "You need to show a bank statement." Ans... Who carries their bank statements with them! "You need to know specifics with where you are going and how long you are going to stay." I thought... yea, right... this journey is about living in the present moment and not projecting specifics but... I said, Ans... I'll stay where and as long as you will allow so you set the dates and places and that will be it. If nothing else just give me enough time to get through Canada into Alaska. Then the total killer came as he looked at my drivers license. It expired last month. Damm!
Bottom line... this guy continually tried to put words in my mouth... he was focused on trouble and nothing else so what else was there to see. He was drawing his own conclusions with nothing to back them except assumptions. I hoped I would not get depressed and then I made the decision not to. Once again, I will now drive back east to take care of business. I feel this is a right and good path to move forward with and I am looking forward to the new route. I felt energized. That is the bottom line.
September 04, 2010
East Glacier Park, Montana
I am leaving Montana tomorrow and I have the Heebi Jeebies about it. After washing my clothes and packing the day was to be spent relaxing... not. Another one of the piano keys broke last night. I took the piano out of the truck, opened it up, the note worked, I closed the case... end of that issue. The piano's sound batteries are not holding a charge. I'll check that out after they have a chance to recharge during the six hour drive to Calgary, Canada in the morning. I'll have no phone service. Can't do anything about that until I get across the boarder. Money - check, passport - check, oil in the truck - check. First thing this morning, a young guy Steve comes to my cabin curious about the Traveling Piano. That started the day and really put my head into a tailspin. We had fun driving around, his friends joined... I ended up socializing around town, went into the woods for a short while to create music alone for one last time, said some goodbyes... it is crazy to think about having been here for three months! I started to get sentimental in the afternoon. A new life chapter is about to begin. I'll be leaving piano dog Boner's ashes and personal belongings behind in the most beautiful and perfect of places. (except for his leash and collar which is attached to the piano chair) Every time I move on... more detachment from the security of a conventional life as I know it... happens. This will be the first time (after I visit Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies) I will have no idea of... anything that may happen. If the country will allow I may winter in Canada... maybe I will end up driving straight through to Alaska and winter there... go to Mongolia and set up a Traveling Piano to take into China... find a Super Yacht to hitch a ride on around to different continents... go south for warmer weather... quit everything... honker down for a year and get some financial backing... take a cruise... ha! I'll just keep thinking about my mission statement and keep the faith. Boner helped create easy passage into and throughout Canada last time. I am going to conjure up his spirit to be with me tomorrow as I pass customs. Ned T. Bear joined up with me on the piano today. Check out his website!
September 03, 2010
East Glacier Park, Montana
While here in East Glacier I have been very fortunate to have hooked up guys in their early twenties doing different road trips together. I've been meeting them in the youth hostel that has allowed me to use their kitchen and internet. Myself, when I was in my early twenties the only buddies I associated with were in bars and clubs. They were not real friends to me. The guys I have been meeting now are out for relationship with each other as friends through hiking, fishing, hanging with new and different people... today Alex, Nick and Dylan, a couple friends since grade school, born and raised in Los Angeles... we hung out with the Traveling Piano. They traveled with me around town and down the road playing the piano on the back of the truck. They walked with me to visit Piano Dog Boner's resting place for the last time. It has been very fulfilling to be included in different "posses" ha. I am in constant awe of young men who are open minded, interested, playful, willing to explore, honest, always looking to understand with a positive orientation... this is what I experienced today from these guys. They validated me with words, told me what I brought into their lives. They were appreciative and communicated that. They offered their fun, friendship and respect with intelligence and good character. I was impressed, eh? It does not get better for me. For them... some messing around with the Lithuanian girls working at the hostel might have been better, ha.
Later in the afternoon one of my favorite Traveling Piano scenarios came into reality. Four strangers having met for the first time got onto the truck and I drove them around town. We were out to create a ruckus. The police were out giving tickets and sneers so... the beer bottles laid low during the joy ride :) A fun woman self described as a "Conservative from Texas" got on first and did a solo run and then Frank from Switzerland and two others jumped on to play. Frank played some fine jazz piano and usually plays only for himself so this experience for him was "out of the box." I loved it. I loved walking around the town listening to the music filtering through the air from the Traveling Piano free and almost still at times. Back at where we started I told Kathy who I had met last night that I needed for her to lay on top of the piano and show off her great breasts for Les her husband and also the rest of the world. She graciously complied and Les jumped onto the truck to have a hand at both the piano and his wife. The fun continued.
September 02, 2010
East Glacier Park, Montana
Today turned out to be super busy with both personal play and Traveling Piano work. Before I woke up the truck and tarp was covered with a quarter inch of ice. I'm glad I did not see that. As a late riser... the sun had been out long enough to dry it all off. I was told it did not look good. Still, the piano and speaker worked, what else is there to say about that. I had the most greasy, buttery breakfast of melted cheese, fried eggs and noodles and a big fat eight inch sausage. After that I went on a six mile hike to see if I had sufficiently clogged my arteries. Apparently I did not. I saw four black bears and spent time watching one eat berries for about ten minutes, forty feet from the truck window. I sat and watched a moose submerge itself in the lake eating grass. Ha, I would never had guessed a moose could keep its head under the water and eat for such a long time. The moose was really enjoying itself.
I went to Two Medicine lake and hiked the Aster Park View trail. It was measly compared to what I am now used to but I wanted to make sure I did at least one more hike before I left Glacier. I plan to leave here on Sunday. On the trail, for a while, I hooked up with a couple from India. When I was finished I still had energy, the sun was setting. I was by the lake with the piano, and there were few people around so I wanted to create music. Turned out I was in my element totally. The sound carried a mile up the trail. Everyone coming off their hikes... for some it was the six mile hike, others a full days hike and then there were those coming out of the back woods from the past days rain and snow... they were all dazed from the music and in finding the Traveling Piano. It was very gratifying. One guy from the back woods had to jump on to play. "Man, you brought me a lot of joy after three rough days." Others, "you really created a great end to my day."
Back at the motel, Judy the owner had been setting people up for a Traveling Piano experience not realizing that I would be dead tired when I came back. Of course I was not going to turn down anyones interest. For me... interest = energy. I played the Maple Leaf Rag for two barbershop singing guys form Nebraska. I am losing the ability to play the one piece of music I thought I would never lose a grip on. My hands hurt even when I improvised. I wonder if it was the cold, my age or just general wearing out. Two older sisters from Wisconsin staying in the cabin next to me jumped onto the piano and I drove them up and down the street and past the Glacier lodge lobby while they banged on the keys. Hahaha, very fun. People from the motel next door came and asked me to play the Bumble Bee Boogie which I bumbled really bad. A couple from Minnesota came out of their cabin, the woman wrapped in a huge white bathrobe because it was night time and cold. Wish I could remember their names. Great day, won't be hiking tomorrow thats for sure. Need to get ready to leave. I'm giving myself two days to get ready for the next chapter of my life.
September 01, 2010
East Glacier Park, Montana
When I first arrived in East Glacier a cinnamon bear cub stopped me on the road. I didn't know what it was. By the time I got my camera together it moved on and into the woods. Yesterday I saw the same bear in almost the same spot... over two months of growth in his size. Damm... I missed the photo shot once again. Its been raining and snowing in this area for a few days. Just before it got dark, I felt like I was going crazy. The rain stopped for a short while... temperatures in the thirties or not... I had to get out and create some music which felt really good. I drove to a nearby spot with my ski cap and winter top and coat on and played to the snow capped mountain peaks thinking, "and I'm going to travel north?" It felt good to play music. My head can get real crazy if I don't get in at least five minutes of creating music every couple of days. I laughed as I realized that I need to get my left hand moving faster. My right hand did not get too cold because I was constantly moving my fingers fast which helped keep them warm. The complacency I have settled into with my left hand, a simple rhythmic accompaniment pattern... that will need to change if I am going to be playing outdoors in colder weather. This journey... one day at a time. Yikes!