April 22nd – On Death and Busking

The LORD called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his side; and said to him, “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” To the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and kill; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.”

Ezekiel 9:3-6

Yesterday morning I had a run event with the little shop in Canmore. In my on going effort to combine work with pleasure I decided to go for a mountain run afterwards. During the morning run I noted that the peak called Lady MacDonald appeared to be forgiving enough. As it turned out the trail was indeed clear for about 3/4’s of the trek. This is the point where the abandoned tea house sits and where all the fellow hikers were resting/turning back. While I snacked on some banana chips and coconut I noticed that even though the peak was covered in snow there were still two people up there. That at least told me that it was doable on the day and so I pushed on.

I felt rejuvenated after my break and had the energy to run/mad scramble to the final ridge. As you may recall from last season this is a nerve testing traverse across a rocky knife edge – a Rocky Spine if you will. Observe

The difference this time around was that the entire thing was covered in a thick layer of snow…which made much of the ridge look wider than it actually was. I made it across this first traverse (the one pictured above) but as I was working along the next ridge (seen off in the distance) I ran into an issue. I planted my feet on a bit of exposed rock and then I went to rest my hands on the snow. As soon as I touched it a massive chunk of the ridge completely broke away and caused an avalanche down the back side of the mountain. I watched it slide about half way down the mountain and then I tried to gather myself. When the snow section broke away I was left straddling the thinner ridge. I retreated to a sitting area on the peak and had another snack. I was also out of water so I collected some snow to melt in my bottle. To be honest I wasn’t immediately shaken too bad. But that was until I finally stop ignoring the fact that in order to get down I still had about 10 minutes of traversing across the very same ridge. This time it probably took 15 mins because I no longer trusted any hold or stance. When I finally got back to the goat path I ran all the way to the bottom. The adrenaline carried me down faster than I’ve ever been able to go on any of these descents. My quads took such a beating that I can barely walk today.

This morning I had no work to do but my legs were much too trashed for a run. Instead I went for a walk in the Zoo and then took my guitar downtown for my first busking session on the year. As per usual it was both awesome and strange. I made about $15 and someone also gave me a book. That brings the count to a juice box, a PB and J sandwich, a steak dinner and now a book. As you may have already guessed it was a Christian book. A couple of young girls came by with their pamphlets and one of them kindly asked me if I would like one. I politely refused and continued playing. I continued playing and when i finished the song she came back with a full on, 400 page paperback book with a bloody Jesus on the front and said she’d like me to have it. This time I politely accepted. Note the difference here. The first time she simply asked me, which leaves the door open for a non-offensive refusal. The second time however, she was offering me a gift and I do consider it offensive to refuse a gift.

About an hour later I was greeted by another pair of young girls. They asked me to play them a song and then proceeded to just hang out and talk with me for about another hour. Because they were in the category of either 16 or 40 I had to deal with copious amounts of flirting. They were in to very different music then I am but after a whole bunch of conjuring and coxing I was able to get the one girl to sing with me a little bit.

During all of this I actually developed an audience for the first time. It started with an older woman coming up and giving me some change and asking if she could sit and listen. She took the nearest bench. Across the street another gentleman sat down to listen for an hour or so. And finally another gentleman grabbed the last available bench. By the end I had 3 people I was playing to and my two groupies to the side. I almost scared away my groupies when I pulled out my red bandana to clean my strings. The one girl’s eyes grew about 3x their original size and she asked “Are you a blood?” I had no fucking idea what a “Blood” was so they informed me that it was one of apparently many local gangs that i am unfamiliar with. I assured them I meant them no harm and told them to stay out of trouble. I should have also advocated sun screen as both the one girl and I developed atrocious sunburns. Mine is especially bad on my right arm – the one that hangs over the guitar. Ouch.

Things are looking up in the music scene. My goal is to perform in some capacity 3 times per week for the rest of the summer. Busking today was a good start and yesterday I booked another paid gig at an Espresso and Wine bar (La dee da). That gig came about through another performance medium (open mic). I get $100 for two one hour sets. For some weird insurance reason I have to play by myself though. We were offered two dates so I am giving the second to Shannon.

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