Friday, April 23, 2010

Catching notes on the wind

Hiking a boulder-studded hill, I heard lonely, haunting musical notes on the breeze. Where were they coming from?

Then I saw him, a flute player perched on the highest rock of the hard-scrabble hill, playing his echoing sound to the sky and wind and birds. And me.

At this distance I could only imagine his fingers moving over the instrument's holes to alter the pitch, the resonance.
Like a gentle sigh, I could feel his breath in the length and clarity of the notes. I was flying, floating upon them.
Did you know that flutes are the oldest known instruments? One made from a bird's bone about 35,000 years ago was discovered in 2008 in a cave in Germany.

I was still smiling from my close encounter with the wild flute player when I rounded a bend in the trail and came upon a man singing.

The world is alive with music and joy. Sometimes, we're lucky enough to stumble upon it.


That was about a month ago. When I returned to that same area yesterday, I didn't find a flute player, but I was amazed by the splashy abundance of brittlebush.

The hill--from base to crown--is covered with this desert member of the sunflower family.

Brittlebush is a tough survivor of southwestern deserts. It's light gray leaves reflect sunlight to keep the plant cool during the hottest months, and the hairy surface of the leaves act like a blanket against extremes of heat and cold. In springtime, it is a common sight along roads and canyons, but I have never seen such a widespread carpet of the plants on this hill before.

It is a fine spring. Even the birds say so.

fantail of orange

across blue sky--red-tailed hawk

kissed by sunlight

There's been a lot of chat lately on blogs about what writers should blog about, why we blog, what's the point, what's our focus, etc. I like to visit blogs that both inform and entertain, that are extensions of the blogger as a writer. Beth Revis started a fantastic discussion about writing love triangles and what makes them work or not. It's worth your time to read her posts and the comments. That's my favorite kind of blogging--where writers interact, share ideas.
What do you enjoy about blogs you read?


Anonymous said...

Oh Tricia, you know how much I love that story don't you? I love a world filled with music, especially in places you don't expect to find it.

Bish Denham said...

The wild flute player. A rare sight and sound indeed. I hear they may be endangered. I like the consistent beauty of your blog. As for others? Each has it's own gift to offer.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I like blogs that inform or entertain, too. :)

Rick Daley said...

I like the variety. Sometimes blogs are funny, other times poetic, occasionally informative, and often inspirational.

Tabitha Bird said...

Well, I have missed reading your beautiful words :)

I love reading all kinds of blogs. My favs tend to be the ones that make me think, 'gosh, I wish I could have written that!'

Unknown said...

What pretty pics! :)

I love interacting with everyone via blogs. Especially hearing about their successes and supporting each other through this crazy journey of being a writer. :)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Paul C said...

I, too,like bloggers who can share some useful, interesting perspectives, and who engage in other conversations. I found this post so interesting, the music of the artist, and the music provided by the beautiful flora. I like the photos of the terrain, an area we would like to visit some day.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I find I'm attracted to the voice as well as the content. Loved your post today. What a gem.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wen: Thank you. :D One reason I love visiting New Orleans is the unexpected music and joy that comes with that.

Bish: Ha! I hope they're not endangered. What a bleak world that would be!

Jennifer: Thanks so much for commenting.

Rick: Indeed, variety is spice, and we all like a bit of that.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Tab: *waves madly* I'm so glad to see you back. And, believe me, anyone reading your blog would wish they'd written those posts.

Karen: I can't imagine what it was like when support was so much harder to find. The people I've met have been so amazing. Happy weekend to you, too!

Paul: Having recently discovered your blog, I have to say I really enjoy the conversations you start. Thanks for your kind words. I wish we all could visit every terrain this planet offers--so much diversity and beauty to be seen.

Karen: Voice. Yes, I think you hit on a good point. And thank you so much!

Julie Dao said...

Lovely! I've toyed with the idea of taking my violin out and playing to nature, but I'm afraid of being overheard :)

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post. I like blogs where I feel a connection to the blogger either through the tone or content of the blog. I like interesting topics that might not be related to writing always. And I like blogs that make me think and feel. :)

Liza said...

I love yours. The pictures you take with words, the pictures you take with your camera, and today, the sound I heard of the flute.

Sherrie Petersen said...

How cool to stumble upon that flute player! Love that story!

I kind of get annoyed when people write a post about not knowing what to post. Just write. Or don't write.

I love connecting with people through their blogs, learning about them, where they live, why they write, what they write. And I love that you can go on a hike and hear music. Sounds like a great scene in a novel :)

Donna said...

Found music. How lovely. Reminds me of a scene of the protagonist playing cell in a Japanese film I liked, Departures.

I also liked a photograph of the same scene with and without flute player and flowers.

Since I read and comment on a few blogs, but don't have one myself, I can only say that writers' blogs give me a hint of whose books I would enjoy.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Julie: Oh, please, please, please take your violin out into nature. You will make someone very happy. Spontaneous music is magic.

Sarahjayne: Yes, that's it. I want to think and feel, and it doesn't need to be writing specific.

Liza: *big smile* You heard it, too? Thanks, my friend.

Sherrie: It is the unexpectedness that makes it special, finding something magical where you aren't looking for it. Thank you so much!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Found music! Yes, that's what it is. I don't think I've seen Departures--I'll have to check that out. (I realize you meant cello, but for a brief moment I was trying to imagine playing a cell phone which would be funny)
I liked the contrast between the scenery shift, too. It's amazing how it changed within a few weeks.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

opps, last comment for Donna

Suzanne Casamento said...

Where is this magical musical place? I want to go there!

KA said...

Makes me want to take my flute and run away into the wilderness with it...

storyqueen said...

I've got a flute carved from bone in one of my stories!

There is something about hearing certain musical instruments in the open air which is truly breathtaking.


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Suzanne: Who knows, that place may be just around the next corner. ;)That's what I like about musical magic, it's unexpected.

Kaylie: Yes, yes, yes! I hope you do.

Shelley: You're right. It certainly takes my breath and makes me smile whenever I encounter music unexpectedly--on a street corner, on a beach or mountain trail. It's a treat.
You would have a bone flute in your story, of course! :D

Unknown said...

Aw! *blushes* YOU are the one who made the conversation on love triangles so interesting!!

Just Wendy said...

How extraordinary to have stumbled upon a lone flute player - then a man singing - effectively in the middle of nowhere. That was a little bit of magic.

What do I enjoy about blogs I read? Well, the content of yours is always inspirational and fresh, accompanied by lots of wonderful pics. I quite like it here :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Beth, for both comment and links!

Wendy: It was a big of magic--one of those moments that stick with you. I'm so pleased you like it here!

VR Barkowski said...

Wonderful story and amazing photographs. Music is joy.

I too like blogs that inform and entertain, but I also like blogs that surprise. There is magic in the unexpected - like discovering a flute player perched atop a boulder on a lonely hill.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, VR. Your comment brings me joy. :D

Tess said...

'it's a lovely spring. even the birds say so'

that's a fantastic image.

and, did you really find a rogue flutist? that's a pretty cool find.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Tess: Oh, I did, I did! You can see him sitting on top of the boulder in the first picture (if you look at the second photo you see there's no one on the rock) It was most cool.

Talli Roland said...

What a beautiful spot - I cna just imagine flute music floating around it on the wind. Gorgeous!

I don't really have a preference for what people blog about. I just love reading snippets of people's lives!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Talli: I love that concept--reading snippets of people's lives!