Oak Flute

The Sounds of Silence


Sitting quietly on a rock I hear the silence of my space.

Feeling in my heart I’m in the presence of God’s grace.

I listen to what I hear, I’m overcome by the buzzing of the bees,

the wind in the trees and the sound of silence.


I am blessed to leave behind the sound, that is on my mind.

I realize that it’s a new day.  I’m feeling peace as I pray.

The only noise that I hear is the sound of silence.


What does this mean? It’s like I’m in a dream.

Suddenly I hear the sound of a quiet stream.

I listen to what I hear, everything that nature has to say.

What a beautiful and special day.  It’s the sound of silence.


Thinking about how nature seems to talk to us.

I hear Her songs.  The woodpecker drumming on a tree,

suddenly a  soft and gentle breeze,

brings me to my knees, and the sound of silence.













Wayfaring Stranger

Wayfaring Stranger (About a plaintive soul on a journey through life. )

[Verse 1]

I am a poor wayfaring stranger,
While journeying through,
This world alone.
There’s no sickness,
toil nor danger,
In that bright land,
To which I go.

Grandfather lived and died a farmer
A-reaping’ less than he did sow.
And now I follow in his footsteps
A-knowing’ less than he did know.

I’m going there to see my Father,
and all my loved ones who’ve gone on.
I’m just going over Jordan
I’m just going to my new home.

[Verse 2]
I know dark clouds,
will gather on me,
I know my way,
It’s rough and steep,
beautiful fields,
lie just before me,
and God’s Redeemed
Their vigils keep.

I’m going there to see my brother.
I’m going there,
no more to roam,
I’m only going, over Jordan,
I’m only going over home.

(Verse 3 )

I’m going there to see my Mother,
She said, she would meet when I come.
I’m only going over Jordan,
all my work on earth is done.


I’m going there to see my Saviour,
I’m going there,
No more to roam,
I’m only going over Jordan,
I’m only going, going home

While the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” has been at the foundation of North American music for at least two centuries, its origin is far from exact.

Some historians have traced its genesis to the 1780s, others, the early 1800s. Depending on who you’re talking to the song may be a reworked black spiritual, a lifted native hymn, or even a creation of nomadic Portuguese settlers from the southern Appalachian region.

With its evocative lyrics and magnetic melody, it’s hard to do “Wayfaring Stranger” wrong. After all, Sunday school teachers and folk festival third-stagers have been churning out entirely competent versions of the song for decades. That said, the best versions of “Wayfaring Stranger” can be so much more. When a musician captures that gravitas and world-weary challenge just right it’s like a lightning bolt right to the soul.





If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1 John 4:20 KJV

My Thoughts: Walking My Path (The Dance)


When I am walking the trail I feel God’s Spirit (The Holy Spirit) and I know that he is with me, guiding me, and that I am never alone. This gives me the strength to walk my path with confidence and assurance that whatever decisions I make in my life, God is leading me to a good place. I believe that each day, every step I make is part of my dance. If every day is a new dance, I am giving thanks for the music, my dance, and my new direction. I feel that I will be known by the tracks I have made. I know that others can never walk my path for me. Many will walk with me and for them I am grateful.

My Morning Prayer: Prayer for a New Day

Prayer For a New Day
By Howard Ball

Thank you great spirit for walking with me
Thank you for what you teach me from day to day
All of the beauty in nature that I see
Help me to walk a good path, I pray

I need your strength to face tomorrow
To do my best in what I do
I really don’t have much sorrow
When I concentrate on You

When I come to a fork in the road
Help me know which way to go
Teach me to pay back what is owed
What I reap is what I sow

You are always within my heart
Helping me to find my way
Guiding my footsteps from the start
As I move through every day

Thank You, Father

My Thoughts: God Bless America

Heavenly Father, I pray for our country and that our leaders will make wise decisions with Your direction. “In God we trust” I pray for peace and understanding without judgement for all of America and the world. I pray for all of those who are suffering with loss of loved ones, homes, and property in America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and more due to storms, earth quakes, and wild fires. I pray for those who are grieving the horrors of the recent mass shootings. Father, we live in scary times and never have we needed Your guidance more. I pray for Your will to be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. ~Amen

I am thankful to live in the land of the free.

I have always loved this American favorite patriotic song, God Bless America, written by Irving Berlin during World War I.

I Guess That I Shall Never See a Poem Lovely as a Tree

I discovered this unusual pine tree years ago while hiking in the wooded hills near my home, here in Eastern Washington.  It is one of my very favorite spots to hike to. I often take friends and family to see this very special tree. It has sparked many conversations and questions as to how it came to be bent in this loop. I love being in nature and discovering interesting and beautiful things, all made by the hand of God.

This unusual tree recently sparked a memory of the old, simple poem by Joyce Kilmer, titled, Trees.

By Joyce Kilmer

I guess that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree;

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear,
a nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
who intimately lives with rain;

Poems are made by fools like me,
but only God can make a tree.

Native American Artist, Melvin Ellenwood

All of my beautiful Native-Beaded Flutes are professionally hand beaded by my good friend, Artist, Melvin Ellenwood. Mel is a member of the Umatilla Confederated Tribes in Northeastern Oregon, home of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla people. He currently lives in Spokane, Washington.

In addition to being a talented artist, Mel is also a United States Veteran, husband, father, grandfather, automobile mechanic, former race car driver, pow wow dancer, and friend to many. I am honored to call him my friend.

Melvin Ellenwood in his vibrant pow wow dancing regalia.

Melivn Ellenwood and Howard Ball in their regalia
at a local pow wow in Spokane, Washington.

Howard Ball and Melvin Ellenwood at Gathering At the Falls
pow wow in Spokane’s Riverfront Park. 

For more examples of Mel’s artistry on my flutes see the Native-Beaded Flutes page in my Shop.

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow, Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington became a city in 1891. For hundreds of years, long before the City of Spokane existed, the Native People camped and fished at the falls on the Spokane River. The salmon would swim over the falls to go back to the their spawning ground. The young Indian men built ramps that would go out over the falls in order to catch the salmon. They would then pass the salmon over to the women and children waiting on the shore. The women and children would then clean the fish and lay them out to dry. Many families would come to the falls to share in the gathering of the salmon. It was a grand celebration of abundance and unity.

Spokane, Washington, Peaceful Valley, 1925
Monroe Street Bridge in the background

The Spokane area native people are blessed to host a Pow Wow and dance in this location, which is now Spokane’s Riverfront Park. Here, they continue to celebrate and honor the past. This beautiful and lively celebration is open to the public. For more information : Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow

Talking with Spokane’s Mayor, David Condon

I take part in this celebration almost every year. We dance to give thanks for the gift of the salmon, and the beauty of the rushing water; thanking our Creator for all that He gives to those of us who follow His path. The dances have been learned and passed on to people for many generations. This makes this a sacred place to gather with common unity.

 Melvin Ellenwood, Tom Wesley, Howard Ball

How the Turtle Won the Race

Many years have passed since this story was told by the lake animals.

Every year, in the spring, all of the wild animals who lived near the lake would gather together for a race. They had done this many times and the eagle always won. He could fly the highest, he was the fastest, and he could see the farthest of all the other creatures. He was proud of his position and boasted of it often.

In the early spring, he would call together all of the birds, the land animals, and the water animals to discuss who would be brave enough to race him and become the “Chosen One.” Eagle was always certain that he would maintain his position as the winner. 

One spring morning, on the day of the race, the darkness was gone and the morning sun was causing the lake to sparkle. Eagle had not shown up yet and the animals began to talk. Who would try to out-do the eagle this year? Much to their surprise, tiny Turtle rose out of the lake and came forward, bravely exclaiming, “I will race the eagle.” Everybody laughed. Rabbit, Crow, and many of the other faster animals had tried before, never being able to run or fly fast enough to beat Eagle. How in world could a little turtle ever expect to beat Eagle? “I have a plan,” said Turtle. “And I think I can outsmart Eagle.”

Suddenly there was the loud whistle of Eagle, as he soared over them and landed in the middle of their circle. He pranced around, acting very proud, “Well, who will race me?” he asked. Much to
Eagle’s surprise, Turtle slowly walked up beside him and answered, “I will race you, but I need you to take me to the start.” Eagle agreed, and Turtle climbed on to his back. The animals watched in amazement, and in awe of Turtle’s bravery.

eagle flying

Eagle thought, “I will take this little guy on an exciting and scary ride!” So Eagle took off, flying higher and higher over the lake, purposely performing for the crowd, confident that he was scaring poor little Turtle. When they were high above the water, just over the starting line, Turtle said, “Let’s go!!!”as he jumped off of Eagle’s back!! The crowd below gasped! Eagle couldn’t believe his eyes!!! Turtle was falling very fast toward the water, in a perfect dive! Turtle knew that his shell would protect him when he hit the water. Eagle started diving toward the lake, as he had done hundreds of times before while fishing. He tucked in his wings and was falling very fast, but as hard as he tried, he could not catch Turtle.

The race was over! Turtle had won, and when he poked his head out of the lake all of the animals and birds cheered loudly! As they declared Turtle, the “Chosen One,” each animal realized that size and strength and speed were not the only things that made one a winner. Using one’s mind and being brave was important too – and anyone can be a winner.