Making Noise With New Toys

I am like a child; give me a few toys and some friends to play with and I’m content. That pretty much sums up the past couple weeks. A motorcycle and a guitar were the two things missing from my life. We all need transportation and music; it’s great fun to be in the driver’s seat. And even greater fun to have your friends along for the ride. My brothers Gabe and Jared are in town for the month along with a host of other familiar faces and the good times are a rollin’.

We rounded up a group of these aforementioned familiar faces and our bike gang headed to the jungle for a little tour of the Smriti yoga experience. It was my first time riding on Scarlett, my new blue 2006 Avenger. I’ve finally upgraded from four gears to five, almost doubled the horsepower, and the comfort upgrade over my old Vietnamese bike (may she still be puttering along somewhere in Thailand) is astronomical. Bumps that used to punish my rear end are no longer a pain in the ass. The winding roads through the forest took us all the way from the beach to the farm.

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My new whip.

At the farm Claire lead an asana class and Sid and I gave talks on philosophy and anatomy. Afterwards we headed off to the Mainapi waterfall, one of my favorite spots. This waterfall is less well known than the nearby Savari waterfall and you have to enter the wildlife refuge and walk for 5 km along the river. My favorite part of this waterfall is all of the moss and greenery growing out of the cliff face as the water plummets past. The sun dances off the chilly water as the forest provides music.

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A university reunion at the Mainapi Waterfall.  I love Sid in the background.

Music has always been a big part of my life and I have been trying to teach myself some guitar recently. Having my own guitar has greatly expedited the process as we hold daily jam and kirtan sessions, playing until our fingers are sore. Sometimes the tunes are melodious, sometimes they erupt into monkey howls, sometimes Gabe and I rap about the most ridiculous things that come to mind.

With so many musicians around it’s never any trouble to find someone to jam with and drummers are in high demand. A charity event for the local animal shelter hosted a bunch of local acts and I got to join a talented singer Suzanne for some impromptu djembe playing. Last Thursday there was an amazing performance at Cafe Inn. Amit Carmeli, a well renowned Israeli singer and guitarist, and his friend on an instrument that seemed to be a fusion of saxophone and clarinet, played the most mesmerizing, floor stomping tunes that had everyone dancing among the tables in the packed restaurant. A few days later Amit gave an introductory vocal workshop that was very insightful and powerful as 30+ voices joined in humming, sighing, and shouting together.

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Drumming for dogs.

Amit used a metaphor to describe singing that really stuck with me. He says that singing is just giving voice to the spirit residing within us, allowing it to return to the universe just like we return each breath to nature. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious when it comes to singing. Whenever I get over myself and let it all out I always feel uplifted, more in touch with nature. I’m sure I’ll find myself singing to the trees and the monkeys as I roll past on my new motorcycle. After all, we all need transportation, music, and good friends.

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