July 1st – Peaks and Valleys

Songs of the Blog:

Damien Rice – Cheers Darlin’ (skit version)

The Trews – I Can’t Stop Laughing

This past week has had big time highs and lows, which seems to be about the norm lately. Last Sunday I met with Lynsey Fiddle for our first formal rehearsal. Her fiddle playing sounded fantastic and made me very excited to start recording. After our session we both went to the open mic at Gravity and I played the tunes that I was thinking of recording so that she could get a better idea of what they were like. Afterwards a bunch of us went over to Ironwood for some drinks and banter.

On Monday I picked Larry up at the airport. From there we went to the track so that he and the T12 runner could go through some final preparations. While they were working out I got to look after the guide dog, Zeek. We walked around a bit and then played on the pole vault mat. I instantly fell in love with that dog and further missed not having a dog myself.

On Tuesday we went to the Koi open mic. A Chemical Valley reunion was briefly considered but then we decided to play our own songs. I had difficulty choosing mine because I received a lot of pressure to play more songs about her. I have about 6 of those to choose from but her boyfriend was sitting right at the front table. I told her they were all too obvious or irrelevant now but she continued to push for it. Before her set we had a disheartening conversation in the hallway and I nearly kissed her. I didn’t end up playing the songs she wanted but the 2nd one could very well be about her anyway (written long before I met her but it’s the same exact situation). It felt good to get that one out.

Wednesday brought Larry and I to a rock show at the Rhino. I wanted to support by buddy so we walked the 10 blocks or so from where we ate dinner with my friend Katie and my old coach Paula. Afterwards we ventured to another open mic at Ironwood but soon left as we realized we wouldn’t get on until about 2am. Larry suggested that we (Lynsey Fiddle included) go to the park and jam for a while. The jam was epic and took us until 2am anyway. I was too tired to drive so we had a little band sleep over. Talk about cohesion.

Thursday was spent almost entirely at the track. It was the first day for a lot of the Olympic Trials events but also the last day of competition for Larry’s athlete. I was amazed to see her ripping around the track and I was glad that she had a good race. Since there was cause for celebration a large body of athletes and spectators went to a nearby restaurant for some drinks and then closed it out with a lengthy conversation over a six-pack in the hotel room. That brought us to another 2am closer. Not so much of an issue if we hadn’t committed to getting up at “Quardafigh” (4:45am) to go to Banff.

Our plan on Friday was to bomb up Mount Edith and be back for around lunch to catch more of the festivities at the track. The trail up through the col should only take around 2 hours. However, we decided to make the scramble to the summit. That added some time but the major issue for us ended up being the descent. We committed to a traverse that didn’t pan out. We ended up getting stuck on the last ledge. Through nothing more than stupidity I actually did climb down but I couldn’t let Larry try. He was just a capable as I was but he had poor shoes on for the occasion and I wouldn’t have been able to watch I was so anxious. Plan B sent Larry back up the mountain and down the other side to a point of reunion that I chose. There was a blackout period of about 20mins in which I couldn’t see or hear him. Needless to say i was relieved when he finally emerged through the rocks. All in the adventure took 6 hours and left us with just enough time to go to the airport. I can’t seem to post pictures right now. I’m sure Larry will put them up. Check out his blog at some point.

I had to keep the streak of late nights going so I went straight to Selina’s show. After that several of us went to a trucker diner for some late night eating and intense conversation about philosophy.

Saturday had some true potential for me. I spent the entire day at the track again and caught lots of exciting races along side many old friends. I also had a VIP pass for that day and consumed a few free pops along side the other higher class citizens. My demise started when I agreed to go to the athletes’ after party at Roadhouse as well as the pre-drink at one of the running houses off campus. It’s funny; a couple years ago I would have known every runner at this thing. Last night I knew about 4 people. This isn’t very different from most nights for me but though I have confidence in many social arenas, nightclubs aren’t really one of them. I don’t really care to discuss many details of my sorrow at this point but just know that something demoralizing happened (similar to what happened to me in Ottawa) that sent me home earlier and lonelier than I originally thought. It is amazing how a simple image can cause so much physical discomfort. I sent out a hail Mary to Selina but she was shutting it down in preparation for her trip to California (the one in which she most likely comes back engaged). Anyway, I had 20 blocks to my house so on the way I vented via destruction. The city has been getting dressed up for Stampede so I there were many potted plants along the way for me to abuse. I also kicked over an inordinate amount of newspaper stands. Finally, I picked up a pylon and used that as instrument to abuse several road signs. I concluded with a late night park jam and then finally went to bed in a very low state. I woke up at 5:30 and found something on my phone and I still can’t decide if it made me feel better or worse.

This whole debacle has happened before but this one as to an oddly high degree. Again, I think the intensity of this particular incident is caused by a few mental images that will take a very long time to leave my head (and heart). I’m also certain that this will happen again. Probably in the not too distant future. I fully acknowledge that girls probably have a lot of hard things to deal with as well but nothing can be worse than what I suppose should be called “The Will to Life” (If my reference based on my brief exposure with Schopenhauer is apt).

To add to the lowness of this Canada day I have the recurring thoughts of my late friend Jeff. We hung out at his place in Canmore exactly one year ago and it’s the last time I saw him before he killed himself. I always say that the valleys make the peaks even greater. There better be a big fucking peak on the horizon.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with recording either. Lynsey Fiddle also left for California today and by the tine she gets back there will be no more opportunities before she returns home to Scotland. Trying to keep musicians in my band is like trying to hold onto a bar of soap.

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