Monday, August 22, 2011

Beginnings and endings

And so begins the tour... One of the least disorganized beginnings we've had. Laundry was finished well before midnight, and the packing completed not much after. I spoke with my mother earlier in the day, when I still had four loads of laundry to go, and think I probably shortened her lifespan by a few months -- she's already started packing for her trip that begins mid-September. I obviously didn't inherit that gene, but hey, it gave me the extra bonus of driving my mother mad, which is something to which we can all aspire.

OK, sorry Mom. Let me make it up to you by assuring you that we were all packed and organized well before dawn, for the first time in our touring lives. So you must have had some influence, at least. It felt very strange to not have to stay up doing just a few more hours of PR while hoping the laundry timer was lying. Refreshing, yet strange. Somewhere in the back of my brain, a little voice is screaming "we must have forgotten something very important!" If we have, it's well forgotten.

That little voice also woke me up at 7:30, pretending we had overslept and it was already Tuesday. I really dislike that voice. Cookie, the grey cat, was firmly plastered to my leg -- one of the downsides of being packed the night before -- and I actually feel the beginnings of a bruise there. She was breaking my heart, so I let her stay there as I tossed and turned the upper half of my body, hoping to salvage a bit more sleep. No luck. Cat guilt prevailed.

And so, with little homebody me pondering the sadness of good-byes, the radio alarm clicked on just in time for the beginning of CBC news. Jack Layton died this morning. How is that possible? Such a vibrant scrapper should live to be 100, he should be strong enough to live to 150. Hmmm... so people who do die before 150 simply haven't tried hard enough? No, I guess not. There are no certainties, even for people who seem so certain. Life is fleeting, you never know when or if you'll see anyone again, what life will bring.

I extricate myself from cat number one, and find Bomber Joe, the newly diabetic kitty, has had the strength to walk up the stairs today, to try and talk me into an early breakfast. Scrapper. Well, not much of one anymore, but back when he was a kitten he could sure put up a fight. Will this bedraggled kitty be here when we return? Extra cuddles today. You never know.

The roofers arrive and start setting up. They've only been a part of our lives for a week, and they're usually up the ladders drilling and hammering, but... I somehow have the urge to give them big good-bye hugs. No, Lyssy, that would be strange. Time to pack the car and go. Yes, really.

How did such a homebody become a touring musician? Life has such strange twists...

Car packed, kitties cuddled, roofers not cuddled. We leave a LOT of post-it notes for the cat- and house-sitter (you know, in case she's never done laundry or used a can opener before), close the door, and go.

Highway, sunshine, CBC Radio One, with tributes pouring in for Jack. Goodbye house, goodbye cats, goodbye Jack, goodbye radio signal...

Hello, new Amelia Curran CD, hello passenger-seat office, hello black coffee in our sippy cups and toasted sesame bagels with plain cream cheese. The tour has begun. We have so many adventures ahead, so many loved ones to visit, so many new friends to meet.

I remember watching one of those nature shows a few years ago, where a mountain lion killed a grazing fawn. The mother looked distressed, forlorn, and after a short period of mourning, turns and heads for the shelter of the forest -- "she has already forgotten," claims the voice-over. "Don't be stupid!" I screamed at the television, "she hasn't forgotten, there's just nothing she can do anymore, and she has to move on to protect herself from the same fate."

And so, despite the sadness of loss, of good-byes, of uncertainty... we move on. Not just to protect ourselves from death, but to... well, to live. The sadness doesn't disappear, it just weaves into the tapestry of present. We move forward. We drive a gazillion kilometres (give or take) to bring our hearts to others, to become a part of their tapestry, and weave them into ours. So they'll never really leave us, and we won't really leave them.

Don wrote a poem several tours ago that began "Moonlight over glass, this car holds everything I need." And so it does. My sweetie, our music, coffee and bagels, the books and snacks our friend Paul brought over last night, a gorgeous view, the credit card if my voice remembers what we forgot... and the promise of love and adventure.

This will be my first time driving west. I'm so very much looking forward to seeing all there is to see along the route -- yes, even the prairies. Especially the prairies, I think, because this body has never set foot in either Manitoba or Saskatchewan, and that's a crying shame.

In the radio tributes, someone mentioned how Jack Layton had hitch-hiked across Canada as a young man. I'm travelling with quite a bit more than a backpack, but I'm eager to see it all. It's a beautiful country. Sunlight over glass, this car holds everything I need.

Today's just a travel day. We'll be staying at the Bellevue Valley Lodge, run by a music-world friend, woven into our lives over the years and via other musical friends. Hopefully we'll have a chance for a bit of a visit, to get to know a bit more about the person we usually only see at conferences or via e-mail. There are a lot of people in this country I only know by pixels, and will be lucky enough to meet many of them in person over the next little while. And so, the threads get stronger.

This is why introverted homebody ole me is a touring musician. To strengthen the threads. To learn new patterns. To be a part of it all. Whatever "it" the day might bring.

Please pardon me as I shut down the passenger-seat office. There's landscape to adore.



  1. Thanks, Patricia! And sorry, RR (Robert, I presume?), we didn't check comments until wed already left. Oops!