Twitter is a freakin’, shriekin’ bazaar, a riotous mix of people hawking their wares. Buy my book! View my artwork! Listen to my music! Watch my video! Subscribe to my blog! Retweet me!
I see Donkey in Shrek, jumping up and down, shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” I recall marketplaces in foreign countries, the air shrill with merchants’ voices.
There are so many talented individuals in our world. The Indie movement has decentralized the control of artistic enterprises, and people are showing their colors everywhere. But for each person who gets noticed in the online stream of consciousness, there are countless others laboring in obscurity.
That’s why I want to tell you about a troubadour and a falconer. I met them at the Harvest Moon Festival in Comfort, Texas. All the elements for a Lone Star bash aligned perfectly: a dilapidated farm, open field, BBQs drifting smoke, vendors, music, bales of hay arranged as a rustic amphitheater. The crowd was growing, but small by festival standards.
At a rickety stage, I met Klaus Weiland, a troubadour with a long beard, craggy face, and intense eyes. He was between songs, talking with his deep German accent about the need for people to choose nonviolence, protecting each other and the earth. He seemed oblivious that there were only four us in the audience.
Admirable words, spoken with conviction. My ears perked up. But then he lifted his guitar to sing, and I was transported. Beautiful finger-work, a soulful voice, the notes soaring over our heads into the October sky.
Moments later I met John Karger, a Santa Claus stand-in, complete with oval glasses and squinty eyes. He’s the Director of Last Chance Forever, a nonprofit conservancy for birds of prey in San Antonio.
John and his corps of volunteers presented the best raptor show I’ve seen. Characteristics of hawks, owls, vultures, eagles and falcons became real as each was brought out for display. John directed it all, and every bird on his wrist seemed part of him. When he spoke about reverence for life, like Albert Schweitzer, his intensity was contagious.
When I got home, I researched these men.
Weiland’s refugee mother gave birth to him at Bergen/Belsen, a former Nazi death camp. At age 17 he took up the guitar, and music became his passion, trumping an academic career as a linguist. After some fame in Europe, he traveled the world, partly on his “eco-raft,” sharing songs these 40 years. Karger, a veterinary technician and lover of falconry, founded his nonprofit in 1978, rehabbing and releasing raptors ever since.
At an obscure festival, probably not retweeted or uploaded, and definitely not viral, I learned a lesson from a troubadour and falconer. THE JOY OF CREATING IS IN THE ACT ITSELF, those moments when something greater than ourselves flows through us. Adulation may never come. And if it does, it may rise and fall depending on the fickle tastes of our world.
Have you embraced your purpose? Are you listening to your muse? As Wayne Dyer once said, “Don’t die with your music still in you!”
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the first lyrics I heard from Klaus Weiland: Castles in the sand, by evening time are gone…