Dear _________,

You wrote of feeling cabin fever in the first days of winter, anxious and isolated. I do not blame you. We live in an age future generations will make bad movies about.

The next time you feel off-center, pick up your banjo.  When you do, take it all in. Every bit.

The weight of the instrument.

The chill of the metal parts.

The grain of the wood.

The hard edge of the steel strings.

The grooves in the fretwire, worn from hours of practice.

The rough texture of the banjo head.

The sound when something brushes the strings between the tailpiece and the bridge.

The little spike of fifth string that sometimes sticks out from the tuning peg. The one that is waiting to open your unsuspecting thumb up like a zippered bag.

The pot against your stomach.

Take these things in because they are good and solid and real. This is the tool for your chosen discipline. In a world gone mad there is still the feel of this instrument upon your lap and in your hands. This is your dojo. Anywhere you go in the world, when you sit down with a banjo, that is home.

Do that long enough with a banjo in your hands, you will be in that state of mind even when you are not making music.