My friend, Dave, is a seven-string guitar player. Yes, I know. Six strings are more than enough,  but I’ve never been able to disabuse him of his particular heresy. Dave spends much of his time driving the highways to his next gig, then to his students, and maybe another venue, in another town,  late in the evening.  I guess this is why he says, “I take my vacations one hour at a time.” On this morning I drive north on El Toro road toward my twice weekly art festival gig. Verdant grass, still plush from spring rains, and wild trees line the old country road. Bright sumptuous morning! A Mozart trio for piano, clarinet, and viola blasts from my radio. Yo-Yo Ma plays viola on his cello. I make a hard left onto Laguna Canyon Road. Traffic slows to crawl. Road narrows. Walls of the gorge extend dramatically into an azure sky. A perfect Chinese landscape painting. I turn in to park. Mini-vacation is over. Time to play.

by Nathaniel