Tag Archives: music

Of Recalibration, Gardens, Bees and the return of Spring 

2 Jun

So today I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written anything here.  But you know, Life has a way of getting in the way…wood stacking, shoveling, sweeping, doctor and dentist appointments and of course work.  I tend to get caught up in what needs to be done.  But as my beautiful wife reminded me the other day, it’s also important to take time for the things you love!

we laugh a lot…still, after 14 years…my redheaded wife and I. 

chicken antics.   

my beloved pups.  

and our crazy, hunter supreme cat…Oliver T Posh.

So in the past few weeks I’ve been trying to incorporate more of what I love into my life.  See above and below photos.

Music, photography, and walking/hiking our land with my canine and feline friends.  Some  of my favorite things!

First fire of the season a few weeks ago

Full moon rising over the hills to the east

The flowers are blooming and the first of the garden put in…that’s mostly my wife.   And after years of research and a little bit of trepidation, my honeybees have arrived and been installed.  I am now a beekeeper!

That’s a lot to be grateful for!


Hippy Dippy

15 Jun

So a week or so ago at work I asked if anyone would mind if I played my iPod instead of the scratchy pop 40 music coming out of the boom box on the window sill. Let me just mention the antenna for said radio is a screw driver… ’nuff said!

Most therapist were like yeah whatever. But one eyed me suspiciously and asked what exactly was I planning on playing and it wasn’t gonna be too weird was it? I was kind of surprised by her reaction.

Now I pride myself in an eclectic collection of music… a few outlier sort of artists, but mostly folk, alternative, classic rock and some relaxation music including classical music… nothing offensive or outrageous.

As the day was winding down and we were finishing up our computerized paperwork, I asked her what she had thought of the music. She answered it had been pretty good and not what she had expected. So I obviously asked what it was she had expected.

Her answer perplexed me to no end and I’ve been having fun with it ever since. “I though you were gonna play punk and metal and you know hippy dippy stuff”. I just looked at her and asked her what she meant by that. “Well, you know you’re a kind of hippy dippy sort.

I just stared at her in astonishment because frankly no one had ever mentioned such an impression of me before. REALLY, I said what gave THAT impression. Is it the incomplete tattoo from my most foolish of times in my 20’s? It was a homemade job my first love had convinced me would be cool.

However we had run out of whiskey before it was finished and well it never got finished. So if you don’t know what you’re looking at “WEEZA” doesn’t come jumping out at you.

I’ve kept it for a couple of reasons; to remind me not to listen to every idea someone else might think would be cool, to think carefully before making crazy decisions and it’s kind of an in with my tough guy/girl or Navy or Army cliental. Trust me it has opened more than a few doors to connection than you would think. It’s funny the false impressions people get of you in such limited exposure.

But anyway back to the hippy dippy comment… I know I do tend to ramble. I came of age more in the 1970’s rather than the 60’s. I’ve always thought I would have made a great hippy but I was a bit too young and besides was being guarded by the Nuns in the latter part of all “that”.

This last weekend home I managed to come across a tie-dye T-shirt of my wife’s (She’s certainly not likely to wear it since she’s not one for crazy colors and has always been 54 internally.)

Friday’s are wear our jeans day at work for 2 bucks towards the employee assistant fund. I’ve been doing that most Fridays because it’s a win-win sort of situation. Tomorrow promises to be a brighter day than most Fridays cause I’ll be damned if I’m going to be called a hippy without showing up as one… tie-dye t-shirt, homemade headband and all!

Just giving a fair warning to everyone. I might even play some of that “going to San Francisco” and a “Dog Named Boo” sort of music. Be Prepared

Honestly, how hippy does that look? I’m wearing LL BEAN for crying out loud!

Saving Phrases

16 Mar

Saving Pictures

Years ago when I was living in Great Barrington, MA, I went to the library and borrowed 2 books.  One was about 800 pages on the history of the Ottoman Empire.  The Empire lasted over 6 centuries and was the most culturally, religiously and geographically diverse in world history.  It was a very interesting read and went a long way to explaining the present day instability of the Balkans and Middle Eastern nations.
The other book was about Linguistics.  As a kid we used to have spelling as well as vocabulary tests in school.  I devoured the study guides for vocabulary.  I just love knowing where words originate from.
And it was dangerous for me to look anything up in dictionaries or encyclopedias.  I was a goner… lost for hours as one word led to another again and again.  It’s like that for me even today on the computer as one link leads to another.  I re-read that linguistics book twice.
The National Geographic magazine has done several articles on the disappearance of certain languages as the native speakers age and die out.  It makes me sad to think about it… just as the extinction of some of the fauna and flora around the world does in our mad rush to be “modern.”  I’m absolutely fascinated by languages.

Finland has a non-Indo-European language.

As a musician, when I hear other languages, I hear music.  Most have a different rhythm and sound, just as different styles of music do.  Take some of the languages of Southern Africa for instance.  They have clicks and sounds that don’t appear in any other language group.  How did that happen?
One of my favorite audio books to re-listen to is “The Adventure of English” by Melvyn Bragg.  It follows English from an obscure dialect imported from the northwestern corner of Europe to become the global language it is today.  I’d recommend it be listened to rather than read since English has evolved in sound and pronunciation greatly over the centuries.  English has also picked up multiple loan words along the way from just about every country and culture it’s come across.

Montreal, Canada. Still a mostly French speaking city.

Over the past the past 2 years I’ve traveled to 3 different countries with 3 different languages, one of them a non-Indo-European language: Finland; Montreal, Canada; and Honduras. I kept a journal, saving words and phrases in each place.  Partly because I wanted to at least attempt to speak the native language and partly so as not to be perceived as an arrogant American.  I’ve been told I have a good ear for other languages.  I think that’s probably because I spent my first year or so in Italy and was beginning to speak before I came to America.

Trying to communicate beyond language in Guaimaca, Honduras. Guitar and music were the answer.

Keeping track of words and phrases has been a lifelong affair.  Not just something I started to do when I began traveling to other countries.  It used to be scraps of paper and then notebooks.  Now it’s files on the computer… Saving Phrases.  When I read, hear or think of an interesting word or phrase that’s where it gets recorded.  Eventually they become part of a poem or song.  So the poem below is part of that file.  Some of it written down while driving… not easy or probably safe but doable.

Just another dawn morning.

Driving Towards Dawn   Weez March 2012

dawn comes on quick feet
with great shouts of color
while the mist ahead
kisses blue on blue
of water and sky
announcing the lake
at daybreak
jet trails blaze orange arrows
across white clouds
to spark a rainbow
of possibilities along
with the new day
and out on the western sky path
a storm approaches
and in the marriage of sky and earth
the sky is the dark of a groom’s tux against
the bride white snow of the mountain

Westward Glances

Searching for the Song Gods within

28 Feb

My friend since 1980

I picked up a guitar for the first time Columbus Weekend 1970 when I was 14.  At Thanksgiving my Aunt Pat gave me my first guitar… a Harmony Classic.  She’d done her research and figured it had the most pleasing sound.  She didn’t like the tinny sound of a steel string and she loved the folk songs of Peter, Paul and Mary.  I’ve played a Classical guitar ever since.  My fingers get all crowded on a regular guitar and the sound just isn’t right.
And it was Aunt Pat who gave me one of the best pieces of advice I ever got about music, when she heard me trying to sound like Barbra Streisand.  Stop trying to sound like everyone else and sing with your own voice!
My original guitar got stolen in a Boston bus station on my way back to boarding school a few years later and I played a 3/4 Silvertone Sears guitar for years after that. I never had to polish my own boots in Army Basic Training because my fellow recruits would rather have me sing and play than polish boots.  Ah, the power of music!
And in 1980 a woman I barely knew gave me the beauty I still play today.  As she put it, “My dad bought me this and I’ll never play the guitar like you, so you should have it”.  I don’t remember her name but I think of her often and wish her well every time I pick up my lady.

My Lady's Provenance

I taught myself to play by asking friends one chord at a time, buying chord and song books, listening to the folk songs, perseverance and just plain stubbornness!  I played when my fingers were tore up, when friends and family left the room (’cause I’d play the same thing over and over again just to get it set into myself), when I thought I had no friends in the world from moving town to town and school to school and even at night so I could hear the right way to play the chords.  I’d even make up chords ’cause they sounded good.
I’ve taught guitar lessons to a bunch of kids and have seen some of them to go on and make music for a living.   A wonderfully personal, and satisfying example of playing it forward!

Over 30 years together... almost like a married couple

And through it all, I’ve written… sometimes song, sometimes poetry and sometimes just the thoughts that later became song or poetry… what I call saving phrases.  There have been times when I can’t grab guitar and pen fast enough to set down what the muses send me and then times when the connection has been broken and far away.

Human, Wood, Rainbow, Feather and Song

 Over the years I think I’ve begun to figure out the demands of the Song Gods… part of it is giving up personal control and releasing the wildness of the Song Dog within me.  One has no hope of control when words require release… sleep and deadlines be damned!  Luckily, one of my personal touchstones is my old wooden and string friend of more than 30 years.  She’s finally taught me to let my heart dance like a feather  And it’s from that place songs emerge!