Monday, September 6, 2010

Whitewater, Sunday September 2010, 1:00 PM

This hike was a bit more chaotic than the usual. Lots of folks on the trails and a few mishaps. But also, some pretty intense moments. the meditation included another on cue airplane which I SWEAR I did not know was coming. I guess there just is a rhythm to the planes and I am getting in touch with it?????

Most notably for me was a moment near the first stepping bridge where I noticed the water near us and water down the path mixing in a very interesting poly rhythm as well as the water features near the second small bridge where the water level has reached a place in which a very high pitched sound has begun to emerge. At this time, my cell phone went off despite me telling everyone to turn their cell phones off and the fact that you can get no cell phone in the entire park. Guess you can get reception after all. Good to know. It was also at this time I noticed that I had forgotten my walkie talkie!

If I hadn't mentioned this before, I use these cheap two way radios I bought at radio shack to cue the first drummer. I actually had to rig it with a headphones type plug with nothing attached to make it so my unit wouldn't make noise as I send a chirp to the first drummer. That way they know when we are headed back and can start playing without having to guess and run the chance of playing too late or for too long.

In any case, the hike continued and I must admit to having been a bit distracted by the lack of my walkie talkie and started to think of ways I could signal them or just make sure they were playing by the time we rounded the valley. I decided I would attempt to text them since I had found cell reception but figured that they most likely didn't have cell phones on. Then I thought that if I just made the hike a little longer, they would realize before long that something was wrong and start playing.

This paid off, not in drums, but in the fact that we hiked a bit farther than we usually do and stopped for longer times in a few places. The mysterious valley was bustling with bird and animal noises which is extremely beautiful as it is a very quiet valley and the reverberations from one end to the other are spectacular and various. Especially as you go up the wooded hill behind you. We then hiked almost all the way to the loop at the end of the trail and stopped just shy of a beautiful sounding water feature which resonated in the valley as several birds continued their song but closer up this time. We stood there for a long time until finally a gentle wind slowly filled in the whole space with sound.

As we hike back more slowly, we encountered a pair of woodpeckers sending signals across the valley over the last wooden bridge. The first was really near us and pecked in a sort of strange rhythm while the other was far off and barely audible and almost sounded like an echo but the timings were so varied that we knew it was another woodpecker.

As we hiked back further, I got to the place where we usually start to hear the first drum but realized that it wasn't there yet. "Too bad" I thought. "Now we won't really hear how this part of the valley resonates". Just then, a group of motorcycles started revving their engines in the distance and pealing out on the highway. This sound carried all throughout the valley and filled it with all sorts of high and low sounds which traveled and echoed at different speeds. Who needs drums!

Finally, after passing the musicians who were a bit caught off guard, we ascended the stairs to a sudden flurry of drums and voices, making up for lost time. The first drum hit in the main valley really woke the group up and as we rounded the corner and started to hear more reverberation we started to take some long breaks. A good idea really because I often forget that I am in pretty good shape and that these stairs leading up the hillside are pretty strenuous to climb up. I remember years ago when I was in not such good shape how bitterly I would complain about such things. Plus, stopping gives you a chance to really listen to the valley below as the drum becomes more distant. A really nice experience.

It was a busy day at Whitewater and Inspiration Point was quite full so I left the group to take a turn when they got a chance.

This was the first time I got any negative reaction to the drums as a family that was on the cliff edge already started to yell down in imitation of the voices. At first I was pleased as I thought the kids were really getting into what they were hearing and wanted to join in. Who knows, maybe they were. This was soon silenced by the voice of an adult yelling "stop that! You don't have to do what that idiot is doing. We're not going to play his game!". Then, "hey, there he is, he's just down by the stairs! Hey, LITTLE DRUMMER BOY!!!".

It was kind of funny really but the family then descended the stairs. I told them that they had to yell louder if they wanted to hear the echoes and they kind of embarrassedly sulked down the hill. Later I heard that they also harassed my musicians in the park as they walked by and later, we found discarded candy wrappers under the tarps. Guess they showed us.

Music in the park is not for everyone, but I would say one bad reaction out of about 400 people in the park is not too bad. I usually do much worse!

The drummers thought that this one was especially intense so I guess the drama at the beginning helped.

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