Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ross Penman & the Chinese Medicine deer hunter!

Ross Penman. This is an update for all those interested in a talk from the Tai Yi Society and anybody interested in hearing of this elusive and independent man. I owe you a response! Even the journey to this man’s ear has been profoundly difficult. An ethereal smoke of communication and lost calls floating around a strange fog! A clear goal was set. This man would talk to the Tai Yi Society (UTS Chinese Medicine society, why we couldn’t call that I don’t know). Anyway I began my trek through a misty forest at dawn, hunting my elusive prey! In my sites , almost as ethereal as the mist itself, was a strange deer. Quick and highly tuned this animal seemed to stare confidently from the distance but any placing of a wrong step, snapping a stick on the ground, I could sense would send it off into the hinterland to be lost forever… As I had very little useful information of its habits and no knowledge of what it liked, except of course the love of the fabled shakuhachi Japanese flute, taught by Riley Lee, Google Ross’s name and that is pretty much all the information that turns up! I had to approach with extreme caution. Not only that but he was in a small herd guarded by some very loyal does who would fiercely protect any sort of terribly hostile attack-for example a phone call..! I began by gathering all information on dates and times of when the talk could be done. I always had my diary and pen available for any instant capture! I was never hindered by the attitude of the feisty does protecting him. I knew over time they would soften, as I am a patient man. After leaving a few unreturned messages at his busy clinic the prey knew I was on to him! At last fortune favoured the bold and on one last try I caught the man between treatments and he decided to see what was going on.

“Hi it’s Damien here”

“Hi Damien’

‘you remember me? I had some treatments from you ages ago’


“how’s the shakuhachi playing going…”

It was a clear shot and the quivering arrow pierced through the mist creating spinning eddies of circling smoke like the aerodynamics from a planes wing tips that gave seconds of clear sight in its wake. These moments were so short as I was always aware of this man's enormous time pressure from his back to back patients.

And so began a stilted communication. In the second phone call that I managed to get through to him he stated he wanted to give a talk. He booked it three months ahead! I was hopeful but secretly believed he wouldn’t honour it. Why? It was just such a time lag that anything could happen. I watched the deer trek off into the shadows wondering if it would ever be seen again. I never had a mobile or an email to contact him with. As time grew closer I wrangled a confirmation out of him and it was on! He wouldn’t give any indication of what he wanted to talk about though, but I had no intention of snapping that forest twig under foot and so I never gave any pressure. People turned up and the talk happened. He stated on that night he hadn’t done a talk for 25 years. Thank you Ross Penman for your time.

Back to the present day and I have to disappoint by saying Ross refused to do another talk through the Tai Yi Society. He stated that he wanted to be associated through UTS as a guest lecturer. Well that’s up to you Ross and best of luck with that. How will this deer function in the concrete jungle that is UTS? Probably quite well! Lets just hope we don’t have to wait another 25 years to hear this man's experience and ideas and that he gets a mobile phone and an email address!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Great story told so well :-)


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