A yurt in the woods, at TMBCC

It was time for another long weekend in the woods, so in mid-October we returned to the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, IN, which we had gratefully discovered six months ago.

Autumn is my favorite season, so this was the perfect time to be out here. Time to reflect on changes and new possibilities. Falling leaves, and saplings.

Forest outside Bloomingon IN

We went for a nice long hike in the woods, and took lots of photos. I read Macbeth (talk about falling leaves!), practiced my (still rudimentary) ocarina playing, and picked up some more good sticks for making claves. I also got a nice field recording of the wind blowing through the trees and the leaves falling, which I’m thinking of using in an ambient percussion track for a friend.

There are a couple of cool shops in Bloomington’s town square. One of them is Athena, where (choosing from among many temptations) I picked up a mini-djembe and thunder tube for the studio. They both sound great.

Mini Djembe and Thunder Tube

I’ve also determined to add some more earthy elements to the toy box, such as sticks, stones and leaves, as well as a couple of good ocarinas. The percussion shelf is getting crowded; some rearrangement will be in order.

As all this attests, the studio setup continues to evolve, moving toward The Dream Rig. This all coincides with a growing understanding, as it is slowly revealed, of what eyes cast down actually sounds like.

Starting out on any creative path, most of us understandably want to emulate our heroes (in my case, mainly Steve Roach). We want to try everything they do. As we move forward, elements that aren’t right for us drop away, so the true ones have room to emerge and grow. So a tribal element begins to crack the shell.

Also on my mind lately has been the dilemma of how to distribute albums, and I’ve finally settled on that – much to my relief.

Back to the town square, an awesome new discovery was The Owlery veggie restaurant. They opened there a week after our last visit. The food is amazing. If you’re ever in the area, it’s well worth a visit (or several).

Same goes for the cultural center itself. We look forward to returning there by spring – possibly also in midwinter. The stillness of this place, blanketed with snow, would be compelling.

Yurt and prayer flags in the woods at TMBCC