It has been a great Run!
Sort of an open letter to my flute friends, I miss you folks, let's play sometime...
There are just a few weeks remaining before my degree in nursing is complete and I then spent about a month preparing to take my board exams. Then the real work starts, where I return to the working world as “the new guy”, with a beginners mind and great enthusiasm to start over in a different but related profession. Turns out that this is the type of milestone you’d think it would be and this gives cause for reflection about a lot of things in my life and yet another re-balancing of the ledgers of my life’s energies.
As I struggled to maintain the work of the West Virginia Native American Flute Circle, amidst the near constant efforts of nursing school these past two years - I have been greatly anticipating a larger amount of time for music and flutes. There was so much that needed to be done for the flute circle and so much growth that I wanted to stay abreast with in my own music, so I really felt that I needed the flute and it has been frustrating to not be able to play it.
I came to the flute at a time in my life when I was adjusting to becoming a stay at home dad for my then young son. While kids are absolutely the best thing that will ever happen to a person – adjusting to the stay at home thing and role changes can be challenging regardless of your gender and I found that I needed to learn a new skill in order to have something that was still mine. This was a time of great selflessness and opening of myself at the same time, and the music of the flute allowed me to really get in touch with transformation by giving it a voice, letting things flow more, and enriching our home with music – which I had not experienced since my own childhood. The flute changed me in such a powerful way that I went to every flute circle meeting that I could and those supportive and understanding folks not only welcomed me, but encouraged me to start my own circle.
The West Virginia Native American Flute Circle has been a wonderful experience and allowed me the opportunity to teach and share the flute with others. It has been the doorway for me to meet all of the flute players in the region, and as I suspected, there are more of them than I thought! We have helped foster the Timber Flute Festival in Elkins which I hope will return some day as the great week of multidisciplinary sharing that we all loved for three years. Our circle helped create West Virginia’s second flute circle and I never thought we’d have two flute circles in West Virginia either. We have held a players retreat, and flute building workshops, and have built and shared free PVC flutes with all kinds of folks – allowing new players to sprout in some unsuspecting places. I even have enjoyed my first taste of woodworking, laughed a lot, and met some of my dearest friends all through pouring myself into a flute circle.
A few months ago I said something out loud and let it sit until now for contemplation. What could I do with the time and energy that I currently invest, and have poured into our little circle, if I were not maintaining it? Something that has given you so much and has such wonderful potential is difficult to let go of or put aside. Folks who know me realize that I do not just stop something or say “well, that’s enough now…” and yet with so much passion for the flute and a bit more time appearing at the end of the tunnel (which has been school), it seemed a question worth asking.
My friends at Northern Virginia Flute Circle and Potomac Flute Circle are always looking for help. The revived Flute Fall In near Finncastle, VA. is now run by an active committee. I am regularly (not enough, but some) asked to play out for folks or to teach an occasional beginner lesson. Meanwhile I miss my own instruments, have not learned a new song in two years and really want our instrument represented at the Augusta Heritage Festival someday. Golly that is a long list, telling me that I do miss the flute and need to get back. I will do that, but I think that until the need comes again for a monthly flute gathering in Elkins I’ll invest my time in seeking to attend and assist other circles with their efforts. I’ll remain available for demonstrations (you can hardly call me a player these days, I am too rusty!), and I’ll play and refine my skills in building these instruments as I have the time. I think I can then use my limited energy more effectively to make beautiful music and share with those wish to do so.
I’ll leave this blog up, long after I make all the follow up calls to “close” the circle and hope that a “virtual circle” will remain part of the picture as I love to share news, pass on good information and learn. I think that more facebook and web circles are cropping up all the time and folks like this outlet and its level of commitment. I hope anyone who is close to our meetings, which will go away, would consider attending the Tri-State NAF Circle (http://trristatenativeflutecircle.blogspot.com/) they are an active and wonderful group.
So thank you all for a great run – I hope to see you at a not-so-local flute circle meeting in the near future and I’ll tell you about how much a new RN really needs to play to flute in order to relax…