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.”


Me said...

That's totally cool. He looks like a very interesting person and I bet his stories were amazing! :-)

Moti and Amanda said...

I love how the Universe starts pointing things out and introducing the right people once you start paying attention. What a beautiful encounter!

paisley penguin said...

So very cool!

Elizabeth Halt said...

I love those! Sometimes I miss my flute .. but it was needed at home for someone else to use.

Sounds like a neat guy.

Heather said...

I got all teary reading this. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Haha, that guy is WAY FUCKING COOL.

Thanks for the post Jack, keep up the stories,

Your avid blog follwer.

Jade of the Jungle said...

It's all about perspective.

I like his.

J x

Carolyn said...

What a cool dude!

Jack said...

Miles, Paisley,

Yeah, he really was pretty cool. He seemed so certain about everything. It's something that I hope to attain one day.


I'm beginning to understand that. I mean, I always knew that, but I am seeing it in action more and more. Just need to let go even more and see where the universe takes me.

Jack said...


Yeah, me too, although I would not want to inflict myself on anyone whenever I try to play anything! I definitely suck!


Thanks for the comment. What I will say is that I could not stop thinking about this dude for like days. He definitely made an impression on me.


Thanks for the comment. Yeah, that dude was just awesome! And keep on reading.

emmani said...

Re Amandas comment....Ohh just thinking about it makes me shiver...I truly believe that some people are 'put' in your path to either inspire you, console you or help make decisions in your life... a bit of 'Alchemist', this wonderful man is one of these people, I bet you will keep that flute for the rest of your life. If you don't and you give it away or loose it, there will be a reason for that as well... it's all about connections!

Am I sounding like a loon? Oh well... you know what I mean Jack...(don't you?)

Anonymous said...

Glad you got to meet the flute man, he knows how to live in the moment. Very serene.

Jae Jagger said...

"...universe has a plan for him and that his mission was to ‘listen’ closely to figure out what that plan entails...."

A psychiatrist I met told me similar. I was more of a Carl Rogers fan, the answer is inside of us, not outside.

LiveWorkDream said...

When I lived in San Francisco and Humboldt County, there were all kinds of cool characters like him. But I was too busy running the rat race to take time to get to know any of them. Now that I'm traveling without a timeline, I keep meeting interesting people like this, and have learned so much for them.

Good for you for stopping to chat, and allowing some new ideas and directions to come into your mind. Keep it up!

Nicola said...

that is just too cool. and what an open minded, cool elementary school principal!

Jack said...

Jade, Carolyn,

Couldn't agree more.


Not at all! And I am gratified that you used the alchemist reference because that is precisely what made me so focused on talking to this man. A 45 minute conversation can really change your life. The issue is to know that your tresure is out there for you to find. All you need to do is to go and get it.

Jack said...


He was certainly living in the moment that day. BTW, how are you feeling?


I tend to agree with that as well; i just don't think the two views are opposed in any way. The answer may be insude of us, but it is how the universe (through encounters like mine) communicates with you that you can figure out the answer in the first place.


You sound like you have a ton of stories to tell, even from your san fran days. Let me know if you guys are ever in town. Would be nice to meet up.

Allie said...

What a great story! I love that he makes the flutes from local bamboo.

Jill Homer said...

Great post! Life is a journey always. But it is the people we meet along the way that make all the difference.

Jack said...


Yeah, to have a principal be openminded enough to recognize the value this guy could have to kids' education was really interesting. You should have seen how proud he was when he unwrapped those letters.


yeah, who knew that bamboo grew locally. I have to go around and see if I can find some. I have never seen any bamboo in any of my bike rides.


How true. BTW, congrats on your last trip. It sounds awesome!