Friday, September 26, 2008

Flute Simplicity

I was biking around Georgetown the other day when I stumbled on Melchizea. He arrived in the area from Colorado a couple of weeks ago to attend a wedding in Maryland and had decided to stick around for a bit. He told me that he had been sleeping in a tent that he set up by the National Cathedral, but after about a week he had come back to find all his stuff gone. He was certain that one of the grounds people had picked it up but he did not feel comfortable confronting anyone about it.

What was amazing about Melchizea was that he seemed absolutely serene about his predicament. When I found him, he was playing a flute made out bamboo he had discovered on a bike trail in Maryland. His philosophy was that the universe has a plan for him and that his mission was to ‘listen’ closely to figure out what that plan entails.

Some of the most revealing things about Melchizea:

*He has started to make these nifty looking flutes out of that bamboo that apparently grows locally. Who knew!
*He told me that during his first week in DC he happened to meet an elementary school principal who invited him to come and speak to classes about his life, his travels and the meaning of happiness. He showed me a stack of letters kids wrote thanking him for his presentations. They were rolled into one of his flutes.

*He was actually at the Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming this past year. He had awesome stories to share.

I spent a good 20 minutes talking about how I was this self-hating yuppie who wanted to get rid of all his stuff so that he could lead a more meaningful life. He listened patiently, with a great deal of kindness. At some point, I had to move on so I said my goodbyes and without thinking about it gave him a $20 dollar donation. “See, the universe always provides,” he said as he handed me one of his flutes. “This flute will surely help you on your journey, and I can go and get a sandwich.”

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