River Ramblings

River Ramblings

The sleepy little town of Jamieson is one of my most favourite places in all the world. I carry a mental picture of it in my mind – especially the view from my father-in-laws back balcony which looks out across to the hills over on the other side of the valley.

This blog is largely about relaxing, calming down, taking deep refreshing breaths and trying to slow down. There are many and various ways to do that, obviously, and the term “relaxation” means different things to different people.

So, it is time to admit that I am not very good at it.

Over the course of this year especially I have tried to practice what I preach. Personally, I find that calming music helps me to block out the constant noise in my head and in my life. Listening to relaxing music while picturing the image of the Jamieson valley, hills and river does wonders for my heart rate and restoring a small sense of peace within my mind and body.

Writing, composing and playing music – almost of any kind – also takes me off into another calm and more peaceful place. I am fortunate enough to own many musical instruments… most of which I can actually play with varying degrees of competency. My three saxophones (Tenor, Alto and Soprano), my keyboard, my EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument, which is like a synthesiser that you blow into rather than play like a piano) and a few other bits and pieces all help me to tune in and turn off, man. Combine these with a microphone or two, a computer or an iPad and I can become lost for hours. Unfortunately, my two wonderful daughters have worked out that my playing Wiggles songs on the guitar is not that impressive after all…..


Jamieson Office

So, once again I am lucky enough to actually be in Jamieson. I am writing this on my laptop, sitting next to the river. It is making that most delicious “water over the river rocks”, gurgling, rushing, and flowing, splashing sound. The Jamieson river is hardly a mighty water way – from where I am sitting it is unlikely to be any more than mid thigh deep.

The sounds of the water and birds fill the air. Not too loud, not too soft. In fact, it is almost a perfect “white noise” of nature: natural sounds gently adding to the otherwise silence of the Australian bush. Kookaburras, Cockatoos, Galahs, King Parrots, Rosellas – both green and crimson, Kurrawongs, Magpies, Wrens and many other birds I don’t know are all around me – some in the trees right above me, some flying over head, others way off in the distance.

The gentle breeze in the trees adds to the ambience, as does the occasional fly, bug, insect and a couple of cicadas.

Summer is coming. Today it is a bit too hot to be wearing jeans and a bit to cold to be wearing shorts. The water in the river is clear, yet really cold – probably due to the melting snow from near by and up stream Mount Buller.

Staring across the river over to the hills I am finding myself taking large full breaths of the magnificently fresh and sweet smelling oxygen. It is almost a bit of a ritual for me whenever I arrive. Having been in the car for three hours to get here, the air inside the car tends to be a bit on the stale side. I simply love getting out of the car the moment we arrive at Grandads House and filling my lungs to capacity with Jamieson air.

Yesterday, in glorious sunshine, I took my iPad, a microphone and mic stand and my iPad down to the river – a different spot to where I am sitting now. I set it all up and recorded a few little videos of myself trying to explain some of the benefits of calming music, in my own special way, for this calming music blog. The back drop of the blue sky, the overhanging trees and the flowing river hopefully added to my script.

After I had finished, my daughters and I went for a paddle in the river. Numb from the knees down due to the cold water, once again time seems to slow down. There is no hurry to get from the river bank to the exposed rocks of the island in the middle of the river. There is not need to rush from rock to rock, or to speed up our adventure together. I am pleased to see that my daughters also embrace the relaxing tranquillity that is abundant in this small corner of the world. Many of their friends would be bored out of their brains within minutes. But my girls are happy to spends hours and hours wandering along the river banks, exploring the surrounding bush or feeding the birds. When I left them at the house, they were sitting under a tree making loom bands and watching the little lizards and skinks come out to sun themselves on the tree roots near their feet.

It is easy to be alone in Jamieson, which can be relaxing in itself – for me anyway. I unfortunately spend a large part of the working week in the CBD of Melbourne. While not quite as ridiculously busy as, say, New York or London or Beijing or Hanoi, Melbourne still has a rather large number of people in suits and business attire all striding purposefully and rushing around, bumping into each other, all the while staring at their phones. Here in Jamieson (population of allegedly 500 people), being alone is very different to being lonely. It is possible to go for days without seeing any more than two or three other humans. The bird life, however, can sometimes resemble that of an Alfred Hitchcock movie !

So, for me, the combination of the quiet, the sounds and smells of the Aussie bush, the picturesque rivers, hills and valley, the fresh air and the overall peacefulness all help me to attain a sense of calm.

Time tends to almost stop here in Jamieson. Yet when we spend a week here, it goes all too fast.



Calming Music Weekly


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