Baby Robins & The Art Of Improvisation Baby Robins & The Art Of Improvisation

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Baby Robins  & The Art Of Improvisation

Dear Friends, Fans & Family...
JD and I are staying at home this month to work on writing and recording our new CD. This is giving us a little free time to branch out into some new, fun (and occasionally excruciating) educational experiences….like country & western dance lessons and conversational French class. Because you are supposed to stretch your boundaries and keep learning new stuff as you get older, right?  Even when it makes you feel like a fool.
A couple of summers ago JD and I were in our piano room rehearsing harmony parts with our dear friend Beth Amsel, and we looked out the window to see a couple of baby robins hopping around in the back yard. These were obviously newly hatched fledglings, all fluffy and goofy-looking with their speckled feathers, as big as the mama birds, but not nearly as smart. The two of them were easy marks, cluelessly bumbling around in the grass, practically inviting the neighborhood kitties to come on over for an easy lunch.
Beth knew all about it, and explained that flying, at least for robins, is not an entirely instinctual activity. The mother bird will literally have to teach her children the basics of flight, and if the babies want to survive they will have to get it together. I had no idea.

So we continued watching the drama, and we named the babies Orville and Wilbur, after our favorite pioneer aviators. By this time the fledglings had both hopped up on the grill on the back deck, and the mother robin was 20 ft. away on the fence, urging them to fly to her. The babies perched there for a few minutes, looking uneasy and anxious, shifting back and forth on their little bird feet. And then I dunno, maybe Orville smelled the cat prowling around the corner, or maybe he was just a natural over-achiever. He got up the nerve, took aim, madly flapped his feathery wings, and made it all the way to his Mom as we cheered from inside the house. 
Wilbur, on the other hand, was a mess. He hung back, he procrastinated, he probably made a bunch of excuses to himself. I don’t know if birds actually sweat, but Wilbur looked queasy, failure written all over him. I figured he was just about to give up, when suddenly there was a loud bang in the neighborhood, a great metallic clanging sound from somewhere across the street, and it literally scared the crap out of Wilbur. His birdy adrenalin kicked in, and he flew perfectly, like a little horizontal rocket, right over to the fence to his Mom and brother.
Sometimes we have to be pushed into things we’re afraid of.
A couple of months ago I was invited to join a theatrical improv group here in our valley. It’s a fabulous collection of very kind, talented, and funny individuals, and getting together with them once a week is a great joy.  All except for one exercise, which is really confronting for me.

It’s called “Freeze Tag.” Two people start a scene, speaking back & forth with lots of physical gestures, and then someone from the audience yells “Freeze,” and rushes up to replace one of the players. They have to assume the exact same posture and hand gestures, and then go off in an entirely different direction, making up another scenario.  It can be quite creative and hilarious, but like Wilbur trying out his wings, it scares the crap out of me because I can never think of anything clever enough in advance.
Last week, I was hanging back trying to be invisible, until everybody else had had their spontaneous and hilarious turn. I was just about to sneak out and go hide in the bathroom when the director pointed at me and shouted “Go!”  I instinctively flapped up on stage and, without thinking, did something completely spontaneous, and also as it turned out….mildly hilarious.  Everybody cheered.
So, Go. Have a lovely June, and make a fool of yourself if at all possible. We are all still learning how to fly. Let us know how it goes.

Love from Jan & JD



Wilbur & Orville

Upcoming Events

Click here for details of these and all coming events

•  July 24
    Music & Message at Unity of Gaithersburg
    Gaithersburg, MD

•  July 24
    Evening Pozipalooza Concert with Sue Riley

    Unity of Gaithersburg
    Gaithersburg, MD

• July 31

    Music & Message at Center for Spiritual Living Metro
     Falls Church, VA

•  October 14 & 15
    Keynote Presentations at Great Lakes Regional Music
    New Thought Unity Center
    Cincinnati, OH

•  October 16
    Music & Message at Unity of Garden Park
    Cincinnati, OH

Summer Smiles

Stay Tuned! 

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Slipstream Productions
P.O. Box 422
Snowmass, Colorado 81654

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