I’m going to have to tell this story from two different points of view, since I am but a Shruti (as beautiful as I am) and need a little help getting my story across to you humans…
But first, here is the video of Clare actually telling our story at Story Night, in San Francisco.
SHRUTI (my story)
I have two nationalities – I grew up in Germany where I lived in a beautiful woodworking shop, surrounded by my kin; dark and light brown wooden and paper shrutis, just like myself. I could hear the symphonies of Brahms, Bach and Beethoven floating into the room from the street and children talking excitedly as they skipped down the street, holding the hands of their parents. There must have been dozens of us in this woodshop and Klaus was a dedicated woodworker. I had heard of a God called ‘Stefan’ – he was not like your god… we could see him, he had a body – sometimes he would just appear in the workshop, and talk for hours with Klaus, poring over large pieces of paper and discussing angles and materials and musical notes, but more often he was a voice on the phone, discussing how to make us even more beautiful for the people we were yet to meet. It should be known that we were being designed by God – Stefan – and crafted by Klaus – to bring magic to the world. We were each designed with different notes and different wood, and reeds (that tickled when they were put inside us). And, when they played us to tune us, it was like… coming to life! In the next part of our journey we got to go to our sky maker (God)… Stefan, where he lived, in Wales. We all got put in boxes and packed up nice and tight (snug as a bug in a rug) and off we went on our journey! We were so excited because we knew that each person that bought us would become our partners in bringing this music to the world – it was the whole reason we had come to be in the first place so for us it was a marriage of souls for making music that would change lives forever.
Once in Wales, I was so lucky as I got to meet more of my kin who were waiting for their musical marriage, and I was placed on a shelf overlooking the rolling hills of Wales, where I could watch the birds sing and swoop and dive between the tree branches, looking for worms and, better yet, I got to see the sunrise every morning. At night, when all the shrutis were asleep, and dreaming, we could hear each other hum into the night sky, lifting and separating clouds so we could see the stars, every last one.
One day, Klara walked in and sat down, with God, on the floor of the room. You could tell she was sweet… but a little undecided. Stefan (God) seemed to know her and said ‘I’ll leave you in here and go and get on with some other things – call down if you need anything’, and off he went. She looked at us all on the shelf, and proceeded to take us down one by one, take us out of our snug little padded homes, selected some notes, and played us. She would sing with each one to see which combination brought the most magic into the room. What a voice! We all yearned to be picked for we knew a life with her would be filled with adventure and magic! However, as I mentioned, she was a little undecided and eventually left, not taking a single one of us with her. And so we went back to looking out the window, from our shelf, waiting for the evening starlings to come and entertain us before the day sky turned dark and we could once gain, dream.
A few months went by and the season even began to change when one day God walked in (Stefan) and very deliberately ran his hand down the aisle of shrutis seemingly very focused – he had something on his mind. For some reason, as his hand closed over the top of my handle I flashed on that magical girl with the magical voice and I wondered why.
I was packed up in my bag, into a box, into all sorts of packaging and it all went very dark. For the next week I seemed to move from location to location, traveling and hearing different sounds, some very loud and some very quiet, I could hear wheels, and wind, and metal on metal, bumps and I even seemed to fly through the air at one point. I would have met some interesting people no doubt, had I not been tucked up in my own little box but I waited patiently until one day, I stopped moving and was placed (as it turns out) leaning against a wall, in a country 5,000 miles away from Wales… in California, USA!
As I was brought into the house, there was a feeling of excitement in the air. The box was opened, I was pulled out and there, smiling at me with the hugest grin I’d ever seen was Klara! I was so happy! She was my new partner – I know you say partner in crime but in shruti land we say partner in magic, because that is what we do, we make magic! She picked a few notes, started playing me and singing with me and I felt immediately fulfilled. I knew this was going to be a special relationship and she was so careful with me – it was so precious! She spoke with me, (talked to me!) picked notes with care, took me to play in the most incredible places – big cavernous cathedrals, and small woody forests (loads of magical beings there!). I was the happiest shruti alive! I even travelled down to LA with her and played to a Native American elder who needed some healing. I was so proud of our work!…
So, one day, we went on an extra long trip, back down to LA and I wondered what kinds of adventures awaited – maybe something new?? We did some recording down there and crashed at her friend Paula’s house (as usual), and did some live broadcasts to people on FB (such fun!), and a live radio interview and, after a number of days, we started to head back north. I have to tell you, it’s a long drive. And she decided to stop at Half Moon Bay, at a friend’s, for the night. Now I must tell you, Klara was legendary for her care and concern – always taking me out of the car every time we travelled, not leaving me in the car overnight in case the temperature change affected my paper seams, and she wanted me to be safe. Let me tell you, she CARED! So this was no different – she took me in the house for the night, sang to her friend, and went to bed. This was a special place because it was by the water, so I could hear different birds than the ones in Wales, or Germany, and I was in heaven.
The next day we left to return home with just one more stop on our books – a quick talk in Oakland that night, introducing her political work (she’s a pretty committed individual) to a small group of people at 8pm. Half an hour and then we could drive the last 20mins home and officially call our trip over! We got there cutting it pretty close and I saw her make a split decision to hide me in the trunk rather than take me in – her hands were full and she was anxious about the time. She put me in the trunk, along with her laptop, hard drive and other belongings, locked the car and ran across the street into the Hub, distracted and tired but keen to do a good job.
CLARE (Clare’s story)
I did a good job, answered lots of questions, and got the point across about this initiative that wants to put the rights of nature into US Constitution so we can stop damaging the planet. I think they liked it. I had been in there less than 30 minutes. When I came out I was relieved that it was time to go home, shower, and go to bed. I crossed the street in the darkness, got in the drivers seat and went to put on the headlights and, by accident, activated the rear wiper. I heard a strange sound. I looked into my rear view mirror and, where there should have been a clear view of the rear, and beyond, there was a jagged, open, hole of glass and a rear wiper that was drunkenly leaning into the trunk. It took a moment for my tired brain to understand what this arrangement of states meant. When I did, my heart sank deeply to the pit of my stomach. I got out of the car and walked to the back of it and stood, staring, at shattered glass, a dangling rear wiper, and an empty trunk, my heart even more shattered than the glass, which was everywhere. Numb, I sat back in the drivers seat, unsure what to do next. My laptop, my hard drive (with all my music and photos) and my beloved shruti – were all gone. And I knew that whoever had taken them would have no idea what magic they had at their fingertips. Would she be alright? Would she be loved? Would she be safe?
I wandered anxiously around the area for a while, looking to see if she might have been discarded but the streets were empty of anything that mattered to me, so I reported the theft to the police and went home feeling sick to my stomach.
For the next two months I called every pawn shop I could think of in the SF/Bay Area, I called police stations, I called music shops, I sent pictures of her and descriptions, trying to find her, had conversations with people who’d listen, who might be able to help. I’d have bursts of hope that gave me the energy to try again, punctuated by periods of despair where I tried to accept that I’d never see her again. Every morning I woke up, and could not shake the feeling of sadness that filled my bones. I had lost my best friend, and my partner in crime (although I knew she’d say ‘partner in magic’). I even replaced her with a new shruti from the same maker, my friend, Stefan, (I still had performances to do) but I could not bond with her, and felt a bit guilty about that. The magic just WASN’T THERE! And I felt tentative to want to bond again.
And then, one morning, I had a new thought. “I’m a dowser! And I know lots of professional dowsers who find things for a living! What am I doing? Reach out to them! Get the right kind of help – magical help!” I called Karen Ashley – the person who had inducted me into dowsing many moons ago. I told her what had happened and I felt her comprehension of the loss (I was rather famous for my singing with shruti in the community). She said to me ‘call Peggy. I would say call Harold but he’s become a sky dowser. But Peggy works with him from the other side. See if they can help.’ My own scepticism was put to the test. What if it didn’t work – it’d confirm my nagging self-doubt about the true validity of magic?? But, I had to act, compelled by the other question… what if it DID??
I called Peggy and explained the situation. She sighed in sympathy – she too knew my magic with the magical shruti. We talked, she asked questions of me, and then of her pendulum. ‘Can I, May I, Should I?’ (you always ask that first) – YES. ‘Will Clare’s shruti ever come back to her?’ I could barely listen for the answer as she dowsed quietly on the other end. As I heard the word ‘yes’ come down the line, I breathed out so loud that tears rushed to my eyes. I could not believe it! She was coming back to me… but HOW?????? Peggy asked for a few days to reflect on this and made what felt like an afterthought suggestion “go back to the exact spot where she was stolen, where you lost her, and for a mile radius put posters that have a picture of the shruti, and a message that says ‘Reward for RETURN of shruti. No questions asked'”. It felt right and I was glad of something positive to do – an action! That Saturday, on Earth Day, I put my earth day poster in the car and headed for downtown oakland, thinking I’d do the posters everywhere first and then go to the march. So I posted 40+ posters within a mile radius and prayed.
And the following Thursday I got a phone call that changed my life.
SHRUTI (my story)
Two months went by! Two whole months! Was this it? My new life? I was having adventures but I knew I belonged to Klara and I wanted to do more of our work together. On the night in question I heard this huge ‘SMASH!’ and I was suddenly flying in the air, through breaking glass, being jostled as someone I didn’t know ran down the street (faster than I’d ever seen Klara move!) full of bags – all the bags from the trunk, where I had been quietly napping. He darted about from street corner to street corner, in and out of shadows and eventually up some stairs where it all went very quiet, and still. Confused, I wondered why Klara would have given me to someone else, and began to wait for her to return to put me back in the car so we could get back to our magical work. The man put me on a table and stared at me – he didn’t seem know what to do with me – which I found rather odd. Klara knew what I was for. So I stared back, politely. And, for a while I just sat there, in this room, whilst the laptop and hard drive, and the clothes all went off in different directions on different days. I said goodbye. Every evening I wondered ‘where are the starlings? where are the stars? where is Klara?’ I felt sad.
One day this puzzled man who had been staring at me, picked me up and I wondered if I was going home. I was still in my bag with the handle and we left the house. Walking a little ways, I got put on a blanket, on the street, and lots of people walked by looking at all the other things sitting there. No-one seemed to notice me…. until this one young man, looking slightly puzzled, picked me up. He had a little bit of magic about him 🙂 ‘what is this?’ I heard him ask (‘humans!’ I thought to myself) and the other man said I was a very expensive, magical, instrument and that I was $1,000 (I’ve no idea what that means). They went back and forth for a while and, eventually they agreed on $50 and the next thing I know, I’m headed home with this young man. I have to admit, I rather liked him. I could feel he was kind. We arrived at his amazingly huge home (it was an apartment block) and went inside, up the elevator and through a door with the number 895 on the front. As we entered I felt the warmth of a family greet him with intense curiosity. ‘I found it on the street at the market. I thought I’d get it for uncle Albert to help him as he recovers from his cancer treatment – he can play it and it might give him a new lease of life’. The excitement settled and I was put on the carpet, off to one side, whilst they carried on with their lives.
CLARE (Clare’s story)
I was driving home from work one day, on the 6th day since posting the flyers. There was traffic building on the bridge to cross the bay and I settled in for a slow commute. The following day I was heading to Napa to do my annual women’s healing retreat. I knew I’d be doing lots of sound healing with my new shruti – and just that thought reminded me of my lost love. And again, I fought to accept this new reality of life without her. It had been over two months.
Now, I have a car phone. Suddenly, around 7pm that night, I saw a new number show up on the screen. It was local. But I didn’t recognize it. Something in me got very still, like a cat waiting to pounce on a long watched mouse, alert, wide awake and ready. I picked up the call. ‘hello?’ came the voice – it was a young man, he sounded kind. ‘hello?’ I replied, hovering. Out of the silence came the words ‘I think I may have something of yours.’ My pulse went from alert to action stations! As we continued to talk, we confirmed that he did, in fact, have my shruti and that, as he put it, ‘my baby was fine and didn’t have a single scratch on her’. I confirmed that I would not be arriving with the police or any frightening friends and we arranged that I would come straight to his apartment block after I crossed the bridge, that very night, with the reward in hand, and we would trade; money for magic. He even called back a few minutes after we hung up to caution ‘please don’t drive too fast, drive carefully, she’ll be here waiting for you – I know you’re excited but please drive carefully.’ You see, he really was kind.
I got to his apartment building, parked by the side of the road, and waited for him to arrive. As his silhouette approached, I saw his smile and I started hopping up and down, on the spot. I saw the bag and knew that inside was my shruti. I handed him the reward which I had grabbed excitedly from a nearby ATM and hugged and hugged her, whilst he told me the story of how he had come across her. His family had cautioned him against calling, fearing he would get in trouble. In thanks for his kindness, and his courage, and after we had chatted for a while, I said to him ‘this is what you have restored to me, and the people I help’ and, as he listened and took in the sounds – the sounds of the starlings in Germany, the sunsets in Wales and the healing stories in California – he lit up in appreciation of the story in which he now understood himself to have played such a very important part… [play to audience].
Thank you… from both of us!
Story Night is 4th Thursday of the month. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org – you can come and listen or tell one of your own in a very fun, friendly atmosphere.