"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Medicine Park Flute Festival

I'm sure most people have those experiences where you want to do something, see a certain movie, go some place special.  Over time you build it up in your mind. You look forward to it with every ounce of positive expectation you can muster, but when it happens, it isn't all that you expected it to be. You come away from it feeling disappointed.

That was not the case with the Medicine Park Flute Festival this past weekend.

Two years ago, after my husband, Ronnie, got back to walking again after his surgery in August, he, my daughter, my one year old grandson and I went up for the festival.  It was miserably hot that day so after a walk down Main Street, we got back in the car, drove up Mt. Scott, then came home. We talked about how pleasant it would be to take a seat along the river in the late evening and just listen to the spirit healing music.  We planned to do so next year.

We didn't get another chance.  Ronnie passed away less than a year later.

This year, the Medicine Park Flute Festival was slated for Saturday and Sunday.  My friend, Dotti, said she'd go with me but she was selling raffle tickets at the Derby Dames on Saturday, so we didn't go until Sunday afternoon.

For those of you who are not familiar with Medicine Park, it is about fifteen miles northwest of Lawton, nestled in the Wichita Mountains.  It is one of those places that can't be described or explained.  It has to be experienced.

Mt. Scott in the background
Medicine Creek runs through the heart of the community.  There is a platform out in the river, which I believe previously was used primarily by swimmers as a place to sunbathe.  In recent years, the Medicine Park community leaders have constructed a bridge over to the platform for easier access with such things as musical instruments.

It was still pretty warm when Dotti and I arrived, but we found a bench in the shade near the waterfall and sat down.  We'd seen clouds in the distance on the way up.  They came on in and overcast the late afternoon sun.

Terry Frazier was the first musician we heard.  His music was awesome. It had the very traditional sound of Native American music that I have grown to love listening to Alice Gomez's cd's, "While the Eagle Sleeps" and "Journeys of the Flute".  Frazier is also a flute maker.  On his website:  www.frazierflutes.com  I found this: "It is not necessary to be a “musician” to learn to play a Frazier Flute. We believe that anyone can learn to play. We encourage you to learn in the traditional way. Separate yourself from all distractions. Preferably a place where you find beauty and wonder as your companions, then listen to the Earth and a song will rise up within your spirit. Often the voice of the flute itself may inspire your song. This is the best way to learn, your songs are then very personal private creations. The flute is then what it was created to be, an extension of your spirit."

Also on his website, he had samples of his music and, of course, his cd's are for sale there.

The sun was sinking below the hills across the river by the time the next musician Jonny Lipford (www.jonnylipford.com) walked out onto the platform in the water.

Between songs, he told us a little bit about himself. He lives in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. He grew up on a farm in Florida and began his music career at thirteen.  He is a stay-at-home dad for his four month old baby.  He talked about the inspirations for each song including the orange dragonfly.  For those who don't know, dragonflies come in all colors.  Lipford's favorite is the orange and he said one lit on him one day and stayed long enough to have its picture taken.  He composed a song inspired by that experience, "Orange Dragonfly".

Lipford's website says this: "Jonny Lipford takes an age old instrument and uses it to create not only the traditional sounds, but also sounds that are new and not commonly linked to the Native American style flute - a voice all his own. In every song you hear, you’ll experience the unbridled passion of an individual who has experienced far more than many people his age. Jonny’s innate sense of composition and mature understanding of melody touches the soul. Jonny’s hands play out melodies that are uniquely pure, invoking a variety of emotions that will warm your heart and leave you astonished at his musical technique."

I find all that to be true.

As Lipford played one delightful song after another, the sun went down, a cool breeze blew across the water. The visitors sitting along the river were quiet.  A few folks were swimming. The lights along the Riverwalk came on.  Two flocks of Canadian geese flew low over the water.  The locusts started their own chorus and behind everything we could always hear the waterfall.

I thought about Ronnie, and how much he would love this.  Then I noticed cars coming down off  Mt. Scott in the near distance and realized he is never far from me.

 Main street in front of the Old Plantation
Dotti and I finished off our evening with dinner at The Old Plantation.  We had the most delicious chicken quesadillas I have ever had.  These were different.  Besides the chicken, onions and cheese inside, they also had sweet corn.  They were served with "woodroasted salsa" that was to die for and sour cream.  We also ate the scrumptious light fluffy rolls with honey butter and shared a piece of apple pie a' la mode.

Leaving the restaraunt, we had the opportunity to stop and say hello to Mr. Lipford, and to thank him for the excellent music presentation.

A beautiful night sky accompanied us back to my car.  I bought three of Jonny Lipford's cd's. I put one in the player for the trip back to Wichita Falls.

I couldn't ask for a more perfect evening.

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