A Persistent Effort Pays Off

John McManamy Health Guide
  • In my most recent blog, I reported that we are still in the era of “dumb meds,” and how this is due in large part to the fact that pharmaceutical companies make no effort to listen to their consumers, namely us.

     

    But I have a far more important issue to discuss right now. You may recall that a few weeks ago I purchased a didgeridoo. A didgeridoo is a wooden tube, five to six feet in length, used by Australian Aboriginals to produce a spiritually musical drone. In the five years I lived in Australia I never displayed the slightest bit of interest in the instrument, nor in the culture that produced it, but in my new home in the mountains of southern California, suddenly a didge made perfect sense.

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    Significantly, when I first ran into Jack the didge guy in our local coffee shop, I just happened to be wearing a tee-shirt with Aborigine art. The next day I arrived home with my new purchase, perplexed at why I wasn’t able to master the thing in five minutes. I used to play the trombone. What could be so friggin’ hard about getting one note out of a glorified stalk of desert yucca? Don’t these things come with tech support?

     

    The ensuing week was spent producing noises reminiscent of the beans scene from “Blazing Saddles.” The only reason I persisted was because I knew it could be done. Which leads to this little enigma:

     

    Picture yourself in the Australian Outback maybe ten thousand years ago. You pick up a hollowed-out piece of tree. You try tooting into it. Nothing happens. You try again. Nothing. Okay, maybe some Blazing Saddles sounds. That might go over good with the boys around the camp fire tonight, but what would motivate this person to keep persisting with the implement?

     

    Keep in mind, the Wright Brothers saw birds in flight. They knew flight was possible. They were willing to put up with failure. But the first didge guy? There would have been no suggestion that “beyond flatulence” was feasible, not unless gorillas had outback orchestras, but there are no gorillas in Australia. In this situation, failure would not be a step to success. The sensible course would have been to throw this stupid log on the fire.

     

    But this did not happen. Why? What kept first didge guy going? What on earth was going through his or her mind? The burning philosophical question.

     

    By the end of the first week I had progressed from Blazing Saddles to fog horn. But I cold only sustain the sound for five seconds at best. Clearly I was doing something wrong.

     

    It was a dark and stormy night. I should have been working on my Newsletter, but there was my didge in the corner, mocking me. An hour later, hyperventilated and discouraged, I began asking myself, how well does yucca burn? One last toot. Something happened. Something that faintly resembled the sound of a didge.

     

    Over the next few days, I was able to work on reliably producing the didge sound and sustaining it beyond five seconds. One day, I felt confident enough to take it out into the back yard. The woodpeckers offered encouraging percussive chatter. A hummingbird flitted over and checked me out. Good omen. I responded with my new repertoire of didge effects, such as the dyong! dyong! of a kangaroo.

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    My backyard experiences started to take on a spiritual quality. By now I had the drone going for twenty seconds, with a range of subtle tones and harmonic overlays, and I was making progress on my circular breathing. Looking out across to the mountains under a cobalt sky, I was able to produce the OM of the universe. Everything stems from vibration:

     

    “When all things began, the Word already was … So the Word became flesh.”

     

    The other night, for the first time, I took my didge out under the night sky. Where I live, they polish the stars every night. On this particular night, some Forest Service people had just finsished lowering the moon to just above tree-top level and thoughtfully provided an ambient soundtrack of croaking frogs.

     

    I held off on my didge, allowing myself to become one with my surroundings. Then, I brought the didge to my lips, content to just blow air through it. Finally, I was ready. I drew in a relaxed breath, and looking up at the canopy of the heavens, I sounded my OM into a frog-enriched cosmos.

     

    Thank you, First Didge Guy..

       

Published On: May 03, 2007