Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Not out of the woods yet...flutes needed
These images are from tonight's meeting of our local recorder society, which as you will see, read on, was very timely for me, at least!
So HP is not out of the woods yet. It turns out that HP's ability to move that leg that caused all the grief does not necessarily mean he will walk again. His physio said they can not tell yet if he will ever walk, that we need to plan as if he will not. This is really difficult news to process. They're not hopeless, but are advising he will leave rehab, March 24, in a wheelchair and we need to adapt the house to some extent in case he doesn't walk.
They're working on strengthening his upper body for that contingency. So today does not look as bright as yesterday did. Let's hope the next two weeks help him a lot.
So it was very good that I managed to get to the Recorder Society March meeting, this evening, since the subject matter was perfect! a master shakuhachi flutist and teacher performed, and demonstrated and taught us some ancient Japanese meditative melodies that he plays on the shaku and we on the recorder.
It's closely related to Buddhist meditation, not unlike a musical version of walking the labyrinth, and I got a lot out of it. He's American but has studied for many years in Japan with Japanese teachers, and has been officially granted the right to teach shakuhachi flute -- it's a long tradition dating back to the warrior classes in Japan, with a lot of twists in turns in the history. He explained the relationship of this music to Buddhist chants and meditation and to tai chi.
Those figures you see in Japanese prints of men with a kind of strange rattan hat on that comes over the face, with eye holes, playing a wind instrument -- those were shakuhachi players, very privileged people.
You had to be of a certain class and a certain group, and definitely male at that time, in the medieval period, even to be allowed to play. But nowadays it's okay for anyone, though women players in Japan do face discrimination from people who still think it's a boy's game! stringed instruments were more likely to be women's instruments, for some reason. Anyway, I'll post pix of this wonderful man, Glenn Swann, and some of my friends trying their hands at playing some of his flutes.
The embouchure is very much like the transverse flute which I play, and I was able to get a couple of lovely notes out of the one I tried.
So this was a gift of an evening, very helpful in all kinds of ways, and being among friends I hadn't seen for a while was good, too. We were able to bring home our copies of the music, which Glenn had transliterated into Western style music from the Japanese version he plays from.
Tomorrow I plan a meditation on them, using my flute. It's good for the spirits, largely I think from the intake of oxygen! and my spirits could use a dose of oxygen right about now.