HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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October 31, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Part of me wanted to go create music on the street tonight and interact with everyone for Halloween but it was supposed to rain so I did not think it was going to happen. Then I came down with a cold or flu from someone over the last week and I'm sick again so... playing on the street, no way. Most of the day was spent in bed. A friend sent me some money and told me to treat myself. In looking for some childhood halloween stimulation and feeling... lol, I went onto ebay and found some! (vintage/my-youth-time halloween decorations) When I got back from Washington DC a few days ago, it was all waiting for me at the post office. Now I'm going to chill in my little space with some goblins... until the demons all pass..
October 30, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
I'm going to stay where I am for a few days. The weather has turned a bit dismal again. My health is feeling raw, and I want to catch up on some work. A friend told me to treat myself and I purchased on Ebay a bunch of vintage Beistle halloween die-cut, cardboard decorations to enjoy. They give me the feeling of enjoying the season, familiarity and comfort if only a for a few days. They were at the post office waiting for me when I returned. When I leave here they will stay here of course. There have been several small bucket list items I've been able to address this month... the fall season and color, towns in Virginia and DC with the Traveling Piano, enjoying some halloween season with music and decorations, it all feels good.
October 29, 2014
Originally, I was going to spend the night here in the panhandle of West Virginia and then head on into the center of the state where I've never been to spend halloween and because the weather was so nice. I've been wanting to visit the area for years. When I woke up summer had vanished and it was back to cold, dark and rainy. I wasn't going anywhere. Also, the last few days in Washington are catching up to me. As I sank into the recliner, everything about me, began to shut down. That can feel really good as long as I don't beat myself up for allowing it. Thank god I can do what I want to and need to do and... presently have a place to do it.
October 28, 2014
Pasadena, Maryland and Washington DC
My friends Bonnie and Dave drove with us to an open area for a few moments with the Traveling Piano before leaving Pasadena, Maryland where we stayed for the last two nights. Thank god for friends. While on our way we stopped and a gas station to use the bathroom which had art in it. Pictures, sculptures and then at the cash register a wall of dog pictures from customers who have visited so of course I had to engage with the husband/wife owners. After that it was off to Washington DC to visit with my friend Dan before heading back to West Virginia. I saw the president drive by with his motorcade, sirens and all. Dan said he sees that often. We parked curbside in the Tenleytown section of the city and could have stayed there all day interacting with people. I've always thought of Washington DC as simply a political center and it was refreshing to experience it as a vibrant city with all levels of society, neighborhoods, cultures, etc...
Mo stayed in the truck while Dan and I took the Metro into Dupont Circle to meet with more friends. The metro was awesome, clean (probably because of all the cameras watching everyone) and surprisingly quiet, yet crowded with people. While people still read newspapers riding the subway, there is much more tablet use and It is really interesting to watch the culture turn to constnatly looking down into IPhones. Very few people look at or seem to notice each other although you can be sure everyone knows whats going on around themselves at all times. While heading into the subway on an escalator I passed Nicholas a young German guy who was on the Traveling Piano a few days ago in another area of the city. That felt very unusual even though I know it is typical for my life. The temperature was in the mid-eighties, a perfect Indian Summer day.
October 27, 2014
Riverdale and Bladensburg, Maryland
In the beginning of this journey I enjoyed being exhausted. I know I have been complaining about it more and more and wonder if it is because I'm older or if I'm just tired of being exhausted. Whatever, being exhausted with this journey is worth it. I met with Rev Bobbie today in Riverdale Maryland... wow, I'm so exhausted its difficult to write but if I don't do it right now I'll forget everything. We met in Virginia a few weeks ago. She has a ministry for the homeless thirty seven years and running named Street Lights Ministry. She is a self-proclaimed, "Total Jesus Lover." I called her to task about finding a place for me to stay for a few days and she followed through with a Paster Ben that she works with who has a parish house. I phoned him but he didn't return my call. She really wanted me to visit and without conditions offered me all types of gift cards she had to help offset the price of a motel room. I said that would not be necessary, her sincerity was all I needed. So I met her with paster Ben and another guy named Dr Bill and also met a Spanish minister, they all work together.
Ben turned out to be a really nice guy and I'm glad I kept a sort of open mind about his not calling me back. Sometimes we all get caught up with too much life, eh? They are a strong group together, true and committed to helping and feeding people who need it. I could feel them and throughly enjoyed our interaction. I was treated to lunch, they gave me a huge amount of food from a cancelled business conference at a local hotel and made a sizable financial contribution to my journey so it would be easier than dealing with gift cards. So there was this Spanish guy, religious white guy, a Jesus loving woman and an extraordinary liberal. Ha, I bet they will laugh reading that. Am I labeling or what? Thank God for people who "walk the walk" and even more... for when they include me and Mo and the Traveling Piano. I tried to arrive before noon because they were distributing lunch for people from several sources. A road detour took me past an elementary school with about a hundred kids running around in the school yard. I had to stop. Mo jumped onto the piano. I jumped on and began to play. And then... screams as the entire crowd flew to the fence. A hundreds smiling, screaming with joy kids climbing on the fence having a great time... what a start for my day.
Rev Bobbie and I drove to an apartment complex with a police outreach station in it. For someone who exudes courage she has she is very cautious when it comes to danger or breaking the law. I was like... let it all fly. Lots of kids got onto the truck all African American and then I drove to the other end of the complex to find mostly Mexicans. On the way out back to Bonnie and Dave's place my new gps said there was an accident on the way. I ignored that and then it said fifty nine minutes was about to be added to the route... would I like to try an alternate route. Hell, yes! Wow, that saved me an hour of sitting in traffic! Good gps... good gps... It felt really good to bring a feast back for dinner. It will also feed me for several days. The group also gave me a huge insulated bag to keep food warm or cold and that will be very useful! Those bags cost a lot of money! Finding "like" people is so enjoyable. The kids I met today... they were beautiful. It was a day full of Fun, Friendship and Respect.
October 26, 2014
For several years I've wanted to visit the "hood", ghetto", "skid row" of Washington DC with no specific idea why. With no fear I enjoy connecting with people especially those I was taught not to connect with throughout life because of prejudiced ideas. A "stay away from them because" mentality was ingrained in me from an early age and I always knew it was wrong. I always knew that if you approach a person with respect, they can smell that and will almost always respond with respect. For any that do not well, I leave that up to, turn it over to a god as I understand. Anyway, no longer am I going to identify any neighborhood as a ghetto, hood, or skid row. Its not appropriate. Washington doesn't have any of that anyway. There are better and worse sections and thats it. Better or worse is all relative anyway. A friend sent me a link to an article with the most dangerous areas in the city. (finding "real" information on the internet anymore is almost impossible) I looked on a map and there was one business, a chicken and rib place so I got the address and put it into my gps. It was a beautiful drive on a beautiful day from West Virginia except that route 70 is getting more and more crazy with every year.
The route took me into DC along the Potomac River and it felt strange driving in Washington DC through woods, along a canal. All of a sudden on the right I saw the Jefferson Memorial which I had never seen in real life, up close. To my left there was the Washington Monument. I was like, "fuck the ghetto, I need to get a picture with these buildings." Lol, It was a first for me! A young guy named Nicholas from Germany was sitting on a park bench and I asked him to take some pictures for me. He did and then of course he got onto the piano and I drove him down the road while he played to get another few pictures. Off driving again via gps, I found the neighborhoods for the most part very clean. I reached my destination and the area was basically bare. There was nothing around so I drove on, found a group of apartment buildings on one side with streets of houses on the other and simply pulled up to a curb. People were hanging out on the other side of a fence as I began playing. Of course to them, I was an alien having arrived from outer space.
No one would come over. I called to them and said they were acting like chickens. Some were too high from smoking crack and getting drunk. Thats a big thing to do on Sunday afternoons for many people. Ha! People began to hang out there windows and give me a thumbs up and then finally a few guys came over. One had the sweetest most tender pit-bull imaginable. The pit-bull got on top of the piano for a picture with Mo and then jumped off real quick. A young boy played for the first time and I watched his creativity develop before my very eyes in a matter of minutes. That was beautiful. As it got dark I knew it was time to get out of there. I was very tired. When I was playing curbside with the sun going down I had to tell myself to keep my eyes open because I've been playing in nature all by myself more and more often with my eyes closed. In a neighborhood hood full of strange people who feel strange about me being around... playing music with my eyes closed... not a good idea. We headed to Pasadena, MD to stay with my friends Bonnie and Dave. They were one of the first people I ever stayed with on this journey and now I consider them close friends.
October 25, 2014
Edinburg, Woodstock, Maurertown, Strasburg in Virginia
Full sun in seventy five degree weather on a beautiful fall day... thank God for days like this. I decided to head south and pick up where I left off last week in Edinburg, Virginia on Route 11 Traveling north. I felt no shame or embarrassment or discomfort in simply pulling up to a curb with no one around to create music. Sometimes I still have to push myself even after all this time. Isn't that crazy? I've had an agenda specifically to play in these towns since I rushed through them several years ago on the way to hurricane Sandy. Today, having stopped I could see spending a full day in each individual town. They were quiet, easy and unintimidating. A guy told me that the towns along this road came to be in consideration of a full days work depending on how long it would take the oxen and mules to deliver resources from one town to the next back in the colonial days. I would like to write about each and every person we met but it would take way too much time.
I met a guy named Mark Strauss outside his art studio in Maurertown. He's a successful oil painter with only three fingers. He is also eighty five years old and a Polish holocaust surviver and... did not begin painting until he was thirty five years old. I was given a tour of his studio and he showed me how he paints. His work is awesome! He never played piano before and it was so enjoyable to watch him explore with his hands. I said, "just pound the keys with your fist since you don't have fingers." He was actually able to manipulate the notes one by one with what he had to work with. Some people who passed us in one town found us in another. In Strasburg I had just missed about a thousand little kids having their Halloween event. I think it was a good thing I missed all that. It would have been too much activity for me today.
A classical pianist from Edinburgh, Scotland fiddled around a bit on the piano and a whole group of FPI's found us. FPI stands for Female Paranormal Investigators. They were serious about their work and were setting up for a ghost walk through town. Then when I thought the day was over this guy Chris appears. He wanted to take my picture playing I said no, I'll take yours playing, he said I'll drive you around while your playing, I said I'll drive you around while your playing and with all that said in a matter of sixty seconds with amazingly quick and spontaneousness energy (lol)... he jumped on and began banging on the piano keys while I drove him up and down the street. We drove past his family waiting in their vehicle and then they all got out and jumped onto the truck. Turns out Chris had buried his grand-mom today and she was a piano player! It was all great fun.
October 24, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
It feels like time is running out. Decisions must be made. There are bucket list items I want to finish up with on the east coast. There is the middle of West Virginia, (I've always been in the panhandle) Monticello, Virginia, (but really want to read a thick book I have on Jefferson first, good luck Danny with that) Nashville, Tennessee (which I realized isn't really the east) I've been wanting to visit skid row around Washington DC for several years (why, I have no idea) I'd like to not be alone on halloween, (hmmm...) don't want to backtrack anywhere, must pace myself to not burn out or go crazy. I wanted to get some video footage using a drone here at the vortex I frequent. Looks like its too late for that, almost all the leaves are off the trees. Then there's the west coast bucket list. One of those is to get on a television show for fun. One of those shows I wanted to approach is going to end in a month. So do I plan or just put one foot in front of the other. The best I can do is the latter. I drove to the park today and played my brains out. Literally, I created music until I had no thoughts in my brain. Then Mo and I went on a long walk and spent some time with friends.
October 23, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
It was a nice day today! We drove into town to get some water from the community well. I had changed my voter registration to West Virginia some years ago as this was originally going to be a home base so I voted to get it out of the way and so I would not forget. They thanked me for voting and I thanked them for not asking for identification like some corrupt state laws are now doing in order to make it more difficult for people to vote, especially people like me who are homeless yet a contributing member of society. Mo and I did some errands, the post office, supermarket... and then stopped at the local park again. It was too cold and windy to create music in my usual spot so I went down and into an area with less wind. A few women separately found us and then my friends Paul and Joanne. We talked for a while did a little walking and I also created some music. As a recovering Halloween fanatic, I've had a slip and for the first time in ten years and have been going halloween crazy with the stimulation of the season and desire for the old childhood feelings I know and love so much. I've been sending friends Halloween music out the schnoz via email and went onto Ebay to find a few vintage die-cut cardboard wall images that I associate with the holiday. Good thing I do not have a home and all my old decorations anymore. They would be out and everywhere. Like I would have the time do deal with all that?
October 22, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Wow, another cold, rainy day, its ok. I post posted another 200 pictures to the galleries. The rain stopped as it started to get dark. I went for a walk with Mo, began to climb a mountain and fell down for the first time in years. Luckily my foot caught on a tree limb or I would have hit some heavy rocks. Went back to the bottom and took a long walk in the dark on flat surface to clear my head some. Ouch!
October 21, 2014
While still rainy outside I'm wondering if i'm going crazy and why. I could be feeling this way for one or several reasons combined. Concerning the issue of staying with strangers and this journey... it is a different world from when I started in 2006. Many people in general are more non-trusting of each other, more needy, have a more of a what do I get out of the deal mentality. Sometimes I wonder how much my age has to do with it now being an older guy. I would never have lasted this long in the journey without staying with strangers. Most of the experiences that mean anything to me have come from staying with strangers. The only thing that equals it is being in the beauty of nature and the experiences of relating with people on the Traveling Piano itself. There came a point where I got burnt out of staying with strangers. It is a lot of work and demands total flexibility and consideration for the people I am staying with. But... its still needed and also I still want to give of myself on some level to those situations. Most importantly I want to reap the rewards I get from them.
I've been reaching out with little success. For example one in six people through social networks and organizations would respond in 2006. Now its like one in sixty. So the hassle and work in looking to find my kind of people... burnt out... although I was looking last week before I left. No one responded. Originally the plan was to go south along the Blue Ridge parkway and then over to Charleston, Virginia, then head to maybe Nashville, Tennessee and back up through the middle of West Virginia where I have never been. That did not work but, last night I was on Twitter and a new connection said, "come to my neighborhood to visit." As always I said, if you have a place to share for a week we will visit without hesitation. Ninety eight percent of the time I never hear from the person again. This new person said, of course, we would welcome you. What are the chances... they live in Nashville, Tennessee so, we've already spoke by phone and have tentative plans to connect in early November and... thats the way it works. We shall see.
October 20, 2014
Its been dark with drizzel on and off all day, a good day to be lost in no where land which I was... all day but not in my head... in the computer. These pictures are from Reddish Knob on the West Virginia, Virginia boarder the other day. The last one is the tops of tall trees. They look like bushes because the evergreens are taller and poking through.
October 19, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Ha, two days after leaving... I ran back to West Virginia. Sort of glad I did... I think. What I am sure of is that I'm in a flow of doing whatever it is that works for my life. I could not fall asleep last night until six in the morning. Thats crazy after two grueling days of work, staying in a motel and all the driving. As I have always said, no matter how long I am stationary, once I get going I make up for lost time and more. I did that again. Most of the day today was spend blogging it all, creating the pictures and processing pictures for those who emailed me for theirs. I went to the local park with Mo for a short hike. I woke up at eleven in the morning. Thats crazy too and... I wasn't tired from not enough sleep or sick, worn out, no bad effects from being out for the last two days... with all the time and effort I put into this blog and everything else I had a passing thought. Why? What purpose does it really serve? I don't know and really don't want to think about it now. Ha, I've already thought about everything enough times. I'm just glad it is all documented. It helps me to move into whatever is to come next. I'm glad I'm up to date with this blog. It helps me feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of satisfaction, consistency, reality, etc...
October 18, 2014
New Market, Mt Jackson, Virginia
I woke up and the day just wasn't going to happen. I had no sleep, my head spinning with thoughts about nothing and I was physically feeling the effects of yesterday. It was a good idea to "chicken out" ...to quit while I can or so I told myself even if it was only after two days and... run back to West Virginia where I could have some security at least for now reminding myself that I AM having the autumn I wanted. For several years I have wanted to play in a string of towns from Harrisonburg to Winchester, Virginia along route 11. Today was a day to do that. It was cloudy all day. The first town I reached was New Market where I met a 67 year old evangelical street minister who has for the last 30 years specialized in working for the homeless. The delivery of her communication was soft and sweet, her spirit strong and tough. She asked me, "who was my Jesus". I replied that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it is "personal." I told her I had been a church organist for thirteen different religions in my early years and she replied I must have been hurt many times. I said, no I am interested and like to learn. I called her to task to have one of the religious organizations she works with invite us into their home to stay for a few nights. She gasped in realizing I was talking about someones personal home and not a shelter of some type. She thought the house in the church complex where she works out of has a couch and the paster might let me use it but, I must call here Reverend Bobbie around everyone or I would not be able to stay there. I told here I have a problem with using names that denote authority or a hierarchical status. She asked if I had a problem using the word doctor. I said, "why not"? Ha, we had fun and then on the way north I stopped briefly with another church group making apple butter to sell. The women were very jovial, laughing constantly over nothing. I think it was simply because they were happy in the spirit of Christ... permanently. LOL
I stopped at a house sale to see if there were any rugs I might find for the cabin in West Virginia because when I get back it will be cold and because the floors are all tiled, it gets really cold inside. They had no rugs and were not interested in getting up on the piano but as I was about to leave an eighty six year old, less than five foot high lady pulled up in an old lincoln. She had never played the piano before was was game from the get go! Damm, that was fun. I decided to play Nola for her. (its an old ladies song) She never heard of it. Then I played the Maple Leaf rag and I could see out of the corner of my eye her legs swinging without her really being conscious of it. Can we talk fun? I drove on and saw another yard sale and a small rug. I stopped and asked if anyone would like to play some piano. One woman said her daughter in the house wants to learn how to play piano. So it was. I pulled onto the lawn with a bunch of Mexican woman sitting on the ground with tons of clothes. They sat there folding and unfolding them while the kids got onto the piano and created surprisingly thoughtful music for the first time ever. One of the women ran into the house to cook some food for me. Another was the piano player for their small Pentecostal church. She began to learn on her own two years ago. I began to do my thing and work with here for a minute with improvisation and she began to cry. Just last night she had told her minister she wanted to stop playing because she did not think she was good. She felt free to create music on the Traveling Piano without judgement and that gave her a change of heart. She played only about four chords arpeggiated over and over but it was her music, an expression of her spirit. Everyone in the congregation wanted her to continue because they were not interested in whether she was good or bad they enjoyed her and the musical part of her spirit as in... it is what it is. The husband of the house came home and we got some family pictures. Two all black pimped out cars drove into the driveway and behind the house. I was told it was a brother and friend and they would never come over. They did, and got onto the piano together to jam and mess around. It was great that I happen to have flyers in spanish and could tell them the Traveling Piano has been throughout Mexico. Wow... talk about energy flying around. I had to get going. They gave me some fruit and the rug as a gift.
The next town was Mt Jackson, Virginia and I just pulled up curbside on the street. These are all small towns each separated by several miles. Right away the fun started. I was so excited from what I had just left that I was tripping over my words and telling other people what had just happened. There was no context of what I was saying for them to associate with. Ha, I had to get myself into the present state of being. Its just that here is nothing more gratifying for me than to come across people who give to me with the same spirit that I give to them. There were a lot of interested people on the street in Mt. Jackson. it began to rain and was getting late but I could not stop. A guy working in a gift shop where I was parked was wearing a cosplay outfit. Cosplay is short for costume play which is tied into anime characters. I'm not sure I understand totally but lots of people like to dress as and represent specific story, game or cartoon characters. There is a growing commercial industry surrounding it. Something like back when people were into the gothic looks and like now others are into a biker culture or the transvestite culture that has been around forever. This young guy had a spirit about him that created a feeling for me to want to wait around until he could get out of the store and get onto the piano for a moment. Then his sister who owns the store arrived just in time and I was "really" glad I waited around and that I met her! She is involved with a private network of private individuals that help homeless people. She goes to church, but what she does is not associated with it. She does it because she has a passion for people and helping them without an associated agenda. What she does is right up my alley. I was meant to meet her for sure. She validated who I am, what I am about, what I do, what I want to continue doing simply through what she does. We talked about how others try to judge why people become homeless. They try to judge whether people deserve help before giving to them rather than simply giving because it asked or needed. Wow, this is so important for me!
If someone asks for something, you give it to them and not judge whether you have it to give or of they are worthy your giving or not. I am talking about the homeless and people who do not have access to resources or do not use the resources available for whatever reason. In the winter homeless people usually work their way south. In the summer they work their way back up north. Where I was has been a stopping off point over the years for the homeless. Many going south at this time of year can not make it because there are no jobs for them to get money for gas, other transportation or food. They either get stuck or try to get back north. There are people living in the woods everywhere I go. I see and meet them almost every day I am out with the Traveling Piano. I recently spent some time with a guy who refuses to go into a shelter because he's been bullied, humiliated and robbed by other people in there. Shelters have no privacy and it reminds him of living in a sewer so he chooses the woods. Local people know him so he gets food, water and clean clothes most days, but now winter is coming. Care for these people. There are private networks of people everywhere helping just like there are cat and dog rescue organizations. Get involved with the homeless. They are of all persuasions, ages, social backgrounds and genders, women, boys, girls, men. Most community governments and business are trying to push out the homeless even to the point of offering them a days work and pay far away in another city. They transport them there... and then leave them there. I find that disgusting. As the homeless numbers grow so will the people dying in your neighborhood woods and in the street. I've even seen where towns clear out the woods. I used to think it was to get rid of the deer and now I realize its to get rid of people. As I was about to leave, the mexican mom who I had just left came running up to me. She had passed us driving on the street and took a detour to her church pantry and returned to present me with two bags of groceries. What can I say? Thank you God and the Universe for people that are like myself and for my ability to share life and experiences with them. I only reached two of about seven towns I wanted to visit today but thats ok. Luckily, it got dark, began to rain, etc... that forced me to stop because as I have said... can't stop once I get going.
October 17, 2014
Reddish Knobb, Virginia, West Virginia
I woke up in the dark (motel curtains closed) and had a sharp feeling of aloneness. Had to get out of that state quick by using my mantra of fun, friendship and respect followed by, "thank you for the bed, thank you for Mo, thank you for the covers, thank you for the room", etc... I let Mo outside and the room service girl was next door. There was also a humungous brown spider on the ground by the door so I told the girl in case she wanted to kill it because I was too grossed out by the idea. She didn't want to kill it either but did anyway with her broom and then a load of babies came out of it and began to scurry everywhere. The safest place for the girl was on the truck. (i'm just kidding) She did get on to play some music and I also played for her. I opened the lid to inside the piano to turn on the sound... spider webs everywhere! Originally I was going to head to the Skyline Drive today, about thirty minutes away but really wanted to go somewhere I've never been. Someone had mentioned Reddish Knobb the second highest peak in Virginia in the George Washington National forrest. Off we went. As I drove out of the parking lot a woman was leaving with her young girl pushing a shopping cart with their belongings. Someone must have paid for an overnight room for them. The idea of so many people becoming homeless here in America while a few are becoming as wealthy as shit is very disturbing.
If I'm going to be able to continue I must establish a routine. That does not happen for me by trying. Routines sort of fall into place naturally for me which in turn become all about the grace of god as to whether they are productive or not. By routine I mean as soon as I arrive at a place I must set it up for myself first thing. Put out my shaving cream, shaver, toothbrush, Mo's food bowl, etc... and then ready the clothes I'll wear for the next day, set up my coffee to brew, etc... If I'm going to travel to a destination I can do one nighters but if I am going to play around with the Traveling Piano I need to stay at least two or three nights in one spot do be able to interact with people, take care of myself and do all the online work. The drive west to the mountain was beautiful with mennonite and church of brethren farms, the smell of fresh cow manure, horse and buggies... I was on the lookout for a farm mart to get some homemade soup and bread where they sell fruit and vegetables and while looking came across perfect pumpkins for a dollar each so I got two, one for me while thinking if I put it in my motel room it would make the place feel more home-ish with a natural familiarity and another for someone else besides myself. The pumpkins ended up making nice hood ornaments for the piano all day. Mo didn't seem to mind.
The road up the mountain was steep, curvy and one lane. It is always unnerving because, what do you do if someone comes in the opposite direction? Its either a ditch or off the cliff. It is always interesting to me how that problem never seems to materialize. It was obvious that no one had been to the top for awhile because all the leaves on the road were untouched. I found out later the weather has not been good in this area and this was the first nice day in a long while. We came across a downed tree across the road and there was no place to turn around. I thought, "what are you going to do" and then... "you just do." I did. That was amazing. Luckily, my truck is small. I had seen one other truck go up before me and thought they must have taken another route. At the top I met them and sure enough they got through the same spot. The Traveling Piano day began. I had planned to clean the truck, eat some snacks I had purchased, record some music, hike a little, just enjoy and relax. Seeing that its Friday I figured only a few people would be around, wrong. People began to arrive and they continued until after dark. It is amazing what we all can do when we have to... as in get around that fallin' tree and get by each other on a one lane road, amazing.
I met loads of people, many were kids from the universities in Harrisonburg. Several were part of a growing culture of dumpster divers who will not tolerate all the food that is wasted everywhere. They go behind the local supermarkets everyday and supply themselves with food that is thrown away or cannot be sold. A group of environmentalists appeared to do some filming about proposed fracking for the area. Republican lobbyists are trying to buy off politicians in order to sway the US Forest Service into allowing business people to frack the George Washington National Forest for natural gas profit. The Traveling Piano was parked smack dab in the middle of the West Virginia, Virginia boarder line in the forrest. With people dying and the water supplies being destroyed from fracking... the idea of allowing an abomination like this is just so wrong. It can destroy the water supply for the Shenandoah Valley and Washington DC. People can be so blind, non caring and greedy. Everyone needs to speak out and make politicians more fearful of losing there jobs from the general public verses a few assholes with money and self-interests. A couple who met online and recently just met in person two days ago, the woman flew in from Minnesota, they drove up to us. All of us being the same age, we had some fun talking about sex and coupling at our age. Friends, one in the group who was very ill and in his last stages of life got onto the piano for some fun. We both were reminded of how when life is almost over all complaining means nothing. Enjoying is all that matters. Mo had several dogs on the piano with him today.
I created music for the sunset and stayed to interact with people until after dark. It became very cold and windy. As I drove down the mountain, several cars were driving up and still to my amazement every time it just happened to be in a lucky spot where we could get by each other. I realized the Reddish Knobb is a huge party spot for kids at night. It is a destination point where people have been visiting again and again for their entire lives. If you like wide open areas, this spot is a bonanza. After a few hours I realized that it is also a vortex. I could not stop the energy flowing from me all day. No time for water, food, rest, in fact if the film crew had not asked me to stop the music for ten minutes while they filmed I would never have seen the full circumference view of the mountain top. The walk around the entire top took about three minutes. I drove down the mountain smelling fresh pine and autumn leaves. I remember saying over and over in my mind, "this is exactly what you were looking for" and then without realizing... I was saying, "thank you god for this experience" over and over and over. Back at the motel, just as I was getting out of the truck a couple from Ohio walked by showing interest. The guy had heard me in the morning and was trying to convince his wife of what he had seen and heard so of course I had to take the cover back off and spend some time with them. They ended up getting the extra pumpkin. It was a perfect way to end the night.
October 16, 2014
I woke up this morning not rested and not ready to go. Why not? Its too late for the fall season, I don't have to leave, I can't get everything including my head together in time, money... thats my biggest excuse. (motels, gas, food, misc) I've been living life with fear about money forever! Money does not denote fun, friendship and respect. I have enough. I'll worry about becoming stranded when that happens. Fact is I'll probably always worry about becoming stranded. When will I l stay learnt about not caring about fear? So I become stranded and die. Good. At least I can go out saying I've had fun, purpose, a legacy and... did it all the way I wanted, my way. Uncomfortablilty in not being able to have my complacent surroundings, no one answered eight requests I put out to stay with people, I'm out of shape, too old, can't handle the urgent feeling, won't find a place to stay (god forbid I need to sleep in the truck) I could keep the excuses and reasons coming and the drama of fear... thats worth allot to deter fun!
I waited for this period of my life for my entire life. A time where I do not feel a sense of commitment to anyone in order to be free and do whatever I want to do with my life. Its here, its been here and you'd think I'd want more, more, more. I do... it is just the practical parts of this journey, the way money teaches and the fact that I am not wired for a feeling of security. I've been shown how to live life through faith, living in the moment coupled with a natural desire to share and be part of. I have tons of tools to help keep me in that state of mind. We ended up in Harrisonburg, Virginia at a Motel 6. The place smells like a vintage car deodorizer on steroids. I booked two nights, every other place (cheap) along the skyline drive is booked and more expensive. I drove around wondering what the hell I'm doing. Mo and I got lost and found a place called Keezletown. There was a church and I pulled into its parking lot. After taking the cover off the piano I began to create music. Then I realized what the hell it is that I do. I create music for no reason except for in of itself. I watched calfs run up and down hills, the sun set, farm houses, once in a while someone would drive by, see us and wave. For dinner I went to the supermarket and got some fried chicken while forgetting that supermarket chicken is the worse you can get. On the way back we found a brand new dog park and even though it was dark there were a lot of people there! That was crazy but even crazier, I thought it would be a half hour drive back and it was right around the corner from this motel6.
October 15, 2014
Last night I went to bed with the window open and without ear plugs for the first time in years because I wanted to hear the rain fall on the autumn leaves. I woke up and cannot describe the feeling except to say it was the best in a long while. For the last twenty hours the rain has been steady and really needed. I think it only happened one other time in over eight months when I've been here in West Virginia. It stopped before dark so Mo and I went for a walk. With a little more than half of the leaves off the trees, the depth of color while looking into the woods was awesome! I kept reminding myself to be present, that I am having a personal intimate experience with nature and it is all for me. I have a somewhat large presence in the world because of the internet and I've been doing what I do for coming on thirty years now. (piano on truck full time) If I did not share all that I am with the world my life would be no fun at all. The validation I get drives me but on the other hand I must remember that I live for me first, enjoy for me first, the enjoyment others feel or get from me comes through me first, so... if I don't take care to enjoy and have fun for myself first, then their can be no fun for me to share with anyone else. It can be easy to get sucked into the validation and then life becomes an agenda as a result.
October 14, 2014
It was amazingly warm and humid today with drizzle that would stop and start every five minutes. That was driving me crazy ha, gives you an idea of my state of mind. I was going to create music but that was not meant to be. Mo and I did get a little walk in. I forgot to bring my bag that has everything in it. This is not an acceptable mistake because with living on the road I must keep everything important with me at all times. Not just things like my camera but my passport, wallet, important numbers etc... Not having the camera to photograph nature was a good thing. It forced me to be in the moment and experience the reality of everything around me without distraction. Losing reality can happen through habit very easily with me.
October 13, 2014
After waking up at one in the afternoon I entered into an excruciating state of indecision. Outside it looked like it was going to rain again any minute and is forecast for several more days. When will I learn forecasts usually are worthless? So anyway, once again with the late start I'm thinking... should, can, how, if, when, where, which direction, is it too late to leave tomorrow and still enjoy some fall color somewhere. Then I ate a large piece of carrot cake. Then Mo and I went for a walk. Then the answer came. There is only one option. "Danny, your in it, your in it, look around, feel, enjoy, your in the color right now, this is what you wanted. Stop anticipating. There is no need for more, better, the best... you are in the best right now." It was true. There's nothing worse than getting caught up in the idea of taking pictures so much that you don't even experience the pictures your caught up in taking. Live in the present moment. "Its ok, I'm ok, stop the crap and relax." I'll get on the road when it is the right time. I always do and I'm not missing anything.
A friend brought up the idea of inserting the word "mutual" into my mission statement and that reminded me that there is nothing mutual about this journey. People have perceived me as being a "do-gooder" in sharing everything without an agenda and by giving so much, blah, blah, blah... but the truth is all the relationships and partnering, everything is all about me... always was, always will be. When I focus on me, my fun, friendship and respect... always, everyone else and the world benefits. That is a natural outcome, a normal result. Everything is about intent. Life must be all about me in order to be part of and to share... or life can be all about me in need and greed. But for the grace of God, I have learned that being part of and sharing garners much, much more than need and greed for my life.
October 12, 2014
Outside today it was very cloudy and almost dank but wanted to see how much the trees have changed color. We drove to the vortex. Before having any opportunity to play a couple came walking out of the woods celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary and we had some musical fun together. After they left I played for about thirty seconds when my friend Alleson showed up with some friends. The timing of that was the usual-unusual happening. We all had a Traveling Piano experience and as soon as we finished it began to rain. Off and back to the cabin where I thought as far as being able to continue on this journey... (which feels difficult right now) I can either stay in one spot as in retire and wither... or somehow find a way to keep going and keep going until I drop. While talking to my friend Becky, she brought up the word "dwindle" and I realized my reality. I am not a person that can sit and wither, (wilt, fade, become dry and shriveled even cause harm or damage to) to wither is not in my nature but I can dwindle. (diminish gradually in size, amount, or strength) Is it possible to dwindle to death but not possible at this time although the feelings of wanting to dwindle come and go often.
October 11, 2014
There is no question I am playing a resistance game with myself. I'm holding off again for dear life from moving forward with this journey. No matter how many times I stop whatever, it is never easy to get going again. The day was dank. Ugh, it is very difficult to focus and push through the day. I'm not depressed at all just resistant. A person could not move slower but... I'm always moving forward even if it doesn't feel that way.
October 10, 2014
A lot of time has been spent in my brain trying to find a food fix. I have plenty of healthy food to eat and don't want to binge on crap so I've been in no-where-land in needing a fix with no answer and no ability to negotiate satisfactorily with myself. With the water situation where I've been staying, I've been rationing it. After taking a shower for the first time in a while I shaved and also cut my hair. There's been no need to shower or shave so why waste water, a shaving blade, shaving cream, effort. Ha, without question this might seem like trite stuff to write for some people. Sometimes I get in a mood to resist just being me and writing what I want but hey, as with the same attitude that began this journey, fuck em' if they can't take a joke. Family siblings would be most offended, those who can't tolerate laziness in themselves and those who are stuck on a hamster wheel with thoughts like "get a job" or "why is he able to be who he is and do what he wants" etc... My thought on all that... I've done my time and also I'm still doing my time. Fortunately, I have people in my life who love me not because of what I do or don't do. Ha, am I physiologically working something out in my head by writing this? Feels like I am rambling a bit. Being able to do whatever I want feels really, really good. It rained all day today.
October 09, 2014
I give up with being concerned about my sleep schedule. It is what it is... at least for today. I don't waste too much time so what does it matter when I get to bed or wake up especially when there is no pressure from anywhere else but from inside myself. After getting up at one in the afternoon with eight hours of sleep I did my online work and headed out for a hike in the woods which has not happened for a while. Mo and I are so... perfect when being in nature together. After the hike, it was just him and I creating music in such a personal environment with the mountains, water, trees, sounds of animals and birds, etc... then a woman found us. She had dog treats that Mo loved. He acted ridiculously needy for them and for basic attention like he hasn't had interaction with people for a year. Sometimes he gets jealous when I'm running off with my mouth to someone and constantly tries to shut me up with winning so he can take center stage. Its both irritating and funny at the same time! My music seems to be more quite with more nuance these days. There is less manic energy. I wonder if that is because I have less energy or more control with desire in how I use it.
October 08, 2014
It was such a beautiful day there was no way I could not go out. We were at the local vortex in the park recording music and met some people there. One couple was honeymooning. I was taking the truck cover off while thinking how much easier it is to deal than the last cover even though it doesn't keep water out completly. Then I began to think about all the ways this journey has become easier through the years. There's the present, not as great truck cover. Then there is the new less quality made speaker that also has an amp in it. That gives me a little more room for storage in not needing a seperate amp and then... and then... and then... I guess thats it. Nothing else has become easier! lol...
October 07, 2014
Today was rainy a little but I didn't want to go out anyway. My space is clean, I'm enjoying it and am secure at least for the next twenty four hours staying here. The water trickles through the faucet but at least its trickling. I'm taking life one day at a time. I did not get done what I wanted to do but thats ok. It is a great feeling to be able to live in the present moment and not worry and deal with all the usual feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. I'm doing that right now, living in the present moment. There are a lot of things to do and to plan for as well as decide about, but all that really matters is how much I am enjoying being alone, the privacy, cleanliness, my bed with its goose down comforter, the food I made over the last few days, candles, my computer, not needing to do anything, having all the company and companionship I could ever want or need that being Mo by my side well, usually on my lap while I work processing pictures and working online... just Mo and I. As much as possible I remind myself that I made the decision when he came into my life four years ago that if I had to choose him over everything else this journey could offer... I choose relationship with Mo. Nothing else has to be accomplished for my life. There are the benchmarks, goals and dreams I have which would be nice to achieve but they are not my true purpose in life. My true purpose in life is to enjoy my time in relationship with Mo as much as possible. Thats it. Everything else... we shall see as it happens.
October 06, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
The first half of this beautiful day was spent cleaning the place where I'm staying. I'm always getting ready to leave wherever I am and think I may have lost the feeling of being able to feel secure concerning ever having a home again. Then a friend came over and I gave her a Musical Spa Therapy Session. Thats when someone lays in the recliner all comfy and wears a headset. I also wear a headset and improvise for about twenty minutes, the two of us immersed in musical creation together at the same time and without distraction. Its very relaxing always for everyone. After that, it was off to the laundromat. I met a homeless guy sitting outside and kinda forced myself to sit and spend time with him. He's sixty eight and slept in the woods last night. His thoughts were strong about his father and how he became troubled with a nervous breakdown after being humiliated in the military as a young boy of nineteen. He was also very comforted by the bible which he had read and studied. I wasn't too sure of the last part and wondered if he pounded out what he says about religion to everyone in order to beat pounders to the punch. He was a strong spirit who just must do things his way no matter what. A shelter was not for him, never no way. Another young homeless guy came over to talk but I had to get my clothes and be on my way. Of course I'm feeling grateful for my situation in life. He told me several stories of how people have taken care of him through time. All day I was aware of how vulnerable I am right now with absorbing other peoples energy. If someone is depressed or mentally ill, need to be careful to not absorb, stay objective and open.
October 05, 2014
Choices in Life: The well where I am staying went dry again, do I... hold taking a dump until I drive somewhere to do that, go be like a bear in the woods, use my drinking water to fill the toilet for a flush. As you get older, timing can be everything! Such small details in life can be big when you are used to certain conveniences. Makes me think about people all over the world where water is scarce and who have never even seen a toilet. My sneaks ripped. Went to a mall and found a big shoe store thinking, damm why so many choices and why a specific sneak for walking, running, hiking, jumping, etc... found out... do you know the only difference between those options? The thickness of the sole. So if your running... the soles are thinner than for if your hiking. What you get is only a matter of how long you want them to last. Hiking in running shoes, the soles will simply wear out faster. There goes 20 years of confusion about sneaks although a few brands do add a feature to make themselves seem better. Also, in the old days I could never find a width wide enough and now everything is wide width. Only one brand in the entire store was not an extra wide width. A friend sent me some money and a few friends send me a little via this website. I used that for the sneaks, food and gas this week. The time has come for... help! Help me, help me!!! Lol... I've been hold up where I am staying because the friends who own the cabin have been letting me stay here without cost and I want the journey to last as long as possible without charging fees or soliciting money.
October 04, 2014
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
When I woke up the sun was bright, the air crisp, today feels like autumn for the first time this year! There is a lot on my mind, nothing new about that. It was difficult to get going. Carol, who I met last weeks asked me to come into town today to be with a bunch of friends on the street so that commitment got me out and about. On the street in downtown Berkeley Springs ha, the first people I met, it was a group of belly dancers. I had to get them onto the piano, they were so colorful. With the wind blowing strong they all made for a fun picture. The wind, that made the day a little difficult because it just kept getting colder and colder. I was reminded how the days are numbered playing outside here in West Virginia because it gets too cold for not only myself but Mo does not have very much hair anywhere. He easily gets cold in fact today he could have used his sweater. When we left the local banks sign on the street said it was fifty five degrees and the time was 5:55 pm.
There were a bunch of drummers on the street. A guy named Greg came over with his congas to help me with Mo. Mo needs drum therapy. He's scared of drums so we worked real light together with my improvising while Greg drummed next to him from inside the truck. Another woman came over later on with her drum and all three of us did some work. There was fun time with a couple of brothers visiting town, actually a lot of people but the most special thing that happened... last year on todays date I had a very synchronistic encounter in Cacapon park with a couple living in Bucks County Pennsylvania about fifteen minutes from where I owned my house. They were getting married in the park. The groom knew me from performing in events back in the day and found us at the vortex in the park while walking around taking pictures. I have pictures of them wedding gown and all... in the truck. Check out today last year in this blog! The park is about ten miles away but they were in town celebrating their first anniversary today and we ran into each other again! It was pure and typical journey synchronicity.
October 03, 2014
Seriously, I need to stay up to date with these blog posts. I missed only three days and am totally mixed up. So today is October 3rd and I'm writing about yesterday October 2nd and October 2nd happened on October 1st which is why I wrote on September 30th I didn't know what I did that day! Lol... Its probably because the water well where we have been staying went dry again which is very unsettling. So anyway, (yesterday) after driving to town to get some water from the community well, I was driving around aimlessly in Maryland and in an aimless yet manic reach for comfort, found a very reasonably priced mennonite country roadside food stand. Binge! ...zucchinis $1 red raspberry and peach jelly just like mom used to make $4, mom's sour cherry pie and chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon buns, fresh picked lima beans, sweet potatoes, the most fresh looking string beans I've ever seen, bread fresh out of the oven, a huge piano seat squash $4 and the most fresh, delicious light and salty handmade potato chips ever! ...and a head of cabbage.
After that I found myself in Hancock, Maryland at a usual spot on the river where I took a picture of my bounty because I was so happy with it. Then people wandered into the area but most were too afraid to connect with us. Then the journey fell into its fullness until almost dark and it felt oh, so good! I met lots of people who were full of wonder in finding us and I just soaked up all their energy and kept recycling it back out. When I am in full journey mode the greatness of all that life is abounds with total perfect, relational synchronicity and spontaneity. The last woman to come up to us said, "In life I have had very few truly perfect moments and today you created one of those for me, thank you."
October 02, 2014
Nature, how many years have I returned to this area in West Virginia and been here in the fall and thought... this will be the last time, better enjoy the fall colors to the fullest! Ha, one...more...time. I went out to play today and it began to rain as in major down pour. Water is getting into the back of the truck. There's nothing I want to do about it so thats, that. What will happen will happen as it has for years. Something might stop working and then I'll fix it. Something might get soaked and it will dry out. Something might get destroyed and I'll replace it. I can't deal with getting another tarp at this time. That would be too emotionally draining. Coming to terms with getting on the road and staying with strangers again is really tough. I've had it, did that done that but... what are the alternatives and is it a component of this journey too important to let go of? Too much thinking and not enough doing maybe.
October 01, 2014
Oh God, its October. I'm constantly reminding myself to put one foot in front of the other no matter how slow life goes. I do the best that I can and as long as I do something like one thing a day that matters for the future... I'm doing good. I'm constantly reviewing my priorities in life and that helps take off some pressure. Like... my main passion is what I do one on one with people in relationship with the Traveling Piano so... if I do nothing else in life, accomplish nothing more, move in no new direction that could be interrupted as forward to become bigger or better as a result or whatever... thats ok. My concern is that the passion for the work I do presently is now a default mode for me and then I think, so what? Its a good thing so embrace what is and what you have. Enjoy what you can do. If more or bigger or better happens well, nothings going to manifest with pressure to "do." So day by day I live with my passion the best I can. Having a home, where and how dominates my life these days... its become a necessity now with this journey. So how can that happen without going back into the same old same old before this journey happened? And how to I keep my living comforts at a level that enables me to do my work? Why does the idea of money always have to seep in and complicate my agendas? Money has never solved my problems.