Written in 2008 by
Ronald Joe Record

The Praying Flute

Copyright, Ronald Joe Record
All Rights Reserved

In the mid 70's I was living at a spring in north central Florida called July Spring. It was a large clear spring on the Santa Fe river and you could just dive into the pool of cold crystal water and drink right as you swam. In the river were lumbering Manitee and you could grab hold of one of these sea cows and galump along with her as she grazed on the underwater vegetation. Sometimes local crackers would motor by in their boats and shoot at either the Manitees or the Hippies. I think most of those sea cows got killed over time mostly by run-ins with the blades of the motor boats but maybe some were just deliberately shot by crackers or their habitat was destroyed by time and man.

While i was there i read a book called "The Praying Flute" by Tony Shearer. In it a little girl is given a flute with which she is instructed to "pray" for the rivers, trees, and the land where there is pollution to be removed. At the back of the book the author includes the actual song the little girl prays on the flute. I learned to pray this song on my open holed copper tube flute. Also at the back of the book were the author's instructions to the reader to learn to pray the flute with this song and to go to the schools of the children and pray there. So, i did this.

Walking one day into a nearby elementary school "praying" my flute, i entered a large dining hall where about 100 children were eating lunch. Actually, they were mostly yelling and throwing stuff and it didn't seem like there was much eating going on. I just walked in and kept playing. Immediately the room transformed from chaos and noise to a hushed silence as all eyes turned toward the Hippie with the flute. Nobody moved and everybody listened quietly. As i was finishing a large man and a matronly woman rushed up to me and politely escorted me out. I was instructed to never return. The children seemed to love it and i recall their fond looks of appreciation as i looked back.

Poetry Stories Home