Friday, January 28, 2011

musical interlude

music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us 
dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, 
and for what,whence and whereto 
- ralph waldo emerson

the snows have mostly melted, leaving behind a cold that chills the bones. traveling back and forth on frosty roads between my home in the country and my work in town is enough to set your nerves on edge. even with the comfort of a large four wheel drive truck to get you there. we are far, far from spring here in montana, but the melting snow has inspired me to start a little early spring cleaning. it's truly amazing how much dust materializes in one's home when all the dirt outside is locked safely beneath a blanket of snow and ice!

once the renegade dust was relegated to its proper place in the vacuum and stuck to dust cloths, i turned my sights on cleaning out my bedroom closet. this, of course, yielded many new fragments for my cloth pile (so much for my wardrobe). but more than this, it unearthed my mountain dulcimer collection once again!  i always have my two favorite dulcimers on hand for impromptu music making, but it is also great fun to dig into my collection, tune up a forgotten or neglected instrument and re-enjoy the magic of music plucked from the strings of an old friend!

i think i shall spend the rest of my free hours relaxing in the dulcet tones of my old friend before heading to work this afternoon.  will get back to weaving fragments and clothmaking this weekend...

"music speaks what cannot be expressed, 
soothes the mind and gives it rest, 
heals the heart and makes it whole, 
flows from heaven to the soul.” 



  1. what a beautiful instrument, even without the sound.

  2. love the sound of the dulcimer. haven't seen one in a long while.

  3. Your closet, able to hold a whole collection of mountain dulcimers, sounds like room all its own! It is quite a beautiful instrument. And two great quotes, thanks!

    Its snowing ONCE AGAIN here at RavenWood. Though they assure us of "little or no accumulation", which is what they said on the last 6" of accumulation.... we'll see!

  4. Now you're adding playing a musical instrument to your resume?I have never met anyone with so many talents. I'm in awe. Next you'll tell me you did an interval with professional dancers. ha!

  5. Ha! You got me there! I'm not much of a dancer! A little square dancing in high school and a semester of modern dance in college is as close as it gets. I'm just too clumsy for it!

  6. valerianna, you might be surprised at how much my closet can hold. i frequently am!

  7. contents of joe's closet (for valerianna):

    14 mountain dulcimers
    2 guitars
    1 lyra harp
    1 german zither
    1 box containing roughly 2,500 lace bobbins
    1 box containing 4 antique bobbin lace pillows
    2 antique yarn winders
    1 box containing 18 drop spindles
    2 boxes containing antique and vintage dolls
    9 pairs of cowboy boots
    6 pairs of work boots
    12 pairs of shoes (ok, ok...i've got a problem)
    6 handwoven (by me) blankets
    9 quilts (because i had noplace else to put them)
    14 quilting hoops
    1 box of assorted shuttles for weaving
    3 frame looms
    16 pairs of sock blockers (both metal and wood)
    1 box of antique and vintage buttons
    1 box of antique loom spindles
    1 box of miniature teddy bears (from my bear days)
    1 box of cricket cages
    1 basket of hand knit socks (in various stages)
    1 basket with unfinished sweater & supplies
    18 jackets (again, i have a problem)
    42 shirts (ditto)
    26 pairs of pants (ditto, ditto)
    1 pair of sheepskin slippers
    1 pair of hedgehog slippers (don't ask)

    it's not really that big of a closet, either...but, i tell you, i don't think you could cram another thing into it without the whole thing exploding at the seams! it's a good thing i learned how to pack things!

  8. you might have a lot of "boro" fabric among all those clothes! would love to see all those buttons, spindles, lace bobbins, etc.

  9. weekends are tough for me cuz i work 14's both days, but will see what i can do, herm...

  10. I think music/vibrations come before words, especially on different levels of existence.
    I know about driving on country roads on snowy days, used to live in Vermont and the "white outs" at night on the country roads were scary.
    You are talented and organized : )

  11. My husband plays the mountain dulcimer...interestingly is seems the mountain dulcimer has it's roots in Iceland.
    The contents of my closet seem meager in comparison...however, when it comes to china and glass...I have no match :)

  12. cool, mo'a! i've only found one other person here in billings that plays dulcimer and he's more into electric dulcimers and very odd modernized playing on. i much prefer a more traditional approach. the mountain dulcimer has roots in iceland, germany and scandinavia, but is the only classifiably american instrument. its closest relatives are the zithers, though there are a few other obscure instruments that claim familial ties as well...