redux: radio’s perfect at night…

(Note: I interrupt the ellipsis to say that I am missing the opportunities, taken for granted in Beforetimes, for short trips. It’s been almost a year since we’ve travelled off the peninsula and that was for John’s surgery last October. Hardly a holiday. We’ve cancelled our plans to drive to Edmonton next week because given the Covid numbers in Alberta, it no longer feels safe to do that. Instead, we will go to Kamloops and environs for a few days to spend time in one of our favourite landscapes.)

____________________

…when you’re driving the dark highway home from the ferry and Bruce Cockburn is offering a playlist on the CBC. You tune in late, much later than you think, and first, just past Roberts Creek, it’s Ian and Sylvia Tyson singing “Four Strong Winds”, which has you thinking ahead, to Thursday (“Think I’ll go out to Alberta/ weather’s good there in the fall”) when you’ll fly to see your baby grand-daughter in Edmonton, those sweet harmonies part of how you came of age yourself. And then, just before Sechelt, it’s Joni Mitchell singing “Amelia”, with its beautiful high notes and its hexagons of the heavens, the strings of her guitar, and those geometric farms, which you’ll see as your plane descends after crossing the Rockies. Perfect at night as the moon appears, not blood-red or in full eclipse (you missed that while you napped in the car on the ferry), but shrugging its shoulder until the grey shadow falls away. Leonard Cohen sings of the future, the one that is almost upon us:

Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul…

Oh, and Sarah Harmer, as you drive home, home past Halfmoon Bay, makes it personal:

A raincoat and a French beret
The rolling hills of past mistakes
Like quiet under cloud

And I will long look to the churning sea
This call to arms means wrap them
Around the first person you see.

And then, just before the coyote crosses the road near Kleindale, Bruce has the good sense to ask Tom Waits to sing you the last miles:

Far far away a train
Whistle blows
Wherever you’re goin
Wherever you’ve been
Waving good bye at the end
Of the day
You’re up and you’re over
And you’re far away.

And when you arrive, the moon is waiting, full and silver as though nothing has ever happened and the world is still hopeful and waiting for tomorrow.

moon

4 thoughts on “redux: radio’s perfect at night…”

  1. My wife and I having cancelled a holiday in Sardinia because of Covid, quarantine and testing, have risked a trip to Vancouver Island, last visited a few decades ago. Staying now in Victoria just down the road from where Emily Carr lived. Given her paintings, I have some difficulty imagining her in a city house, though the garden is a bit wild. Met up with an old university friend who fled London and went back to the land on Denman Island but is now in a suburban street of Qualicum Bay. So wonder when we will retreat from our rural abode to city living, and dieing! But for now – enjoying the sea, the islands, the big trees, blackberries and deer. Bought stamps depicting Leonard Cohen to send off some postcards, a quaint heritage activity. Hope you get to Alberta soon. I remember seeing Ian and Sylvia in Calgary in the 60s. Bruce Coburn is finally expected to inspire us in Peterborough next year.

    1. John, you’re in a lovely neighbourhood. We often stay at the Surf Motel near Ogden Point and walk through James Bay with This Old House as our guide (Munro’s has these heritage guides to Victoria’s old buildings). I spent part of my childhood in nearby Fairfield where the Ross Bay Cemetery was where my mum sent us to ride our bikes. Planted as an arboretum and a very lovely place to walk. Across Fairfield Road is Ross Bay Villa, one of the few 1860s residences left in the area. Daughter spent a few years volunteering there with various restoration projects. Enjoy your stay! (I saw Bruce Cockburn having coffee in Whitehorse a decade ago and wish I’d told him how much his music has meant to me over the years.)

  2. Lovely! Oh those songs!

    On Thu, Sep 23, 2021, 2:18 PM …Theresa Kishkan, writer…, wrote:

    > theresakishkan posted: “(Note: I interrupt the ellipsis to say that I am > missing the opportunities, taken for granted in Beforetimes, for short > trips. It’s been almost a year since we’ve travelled off the peninsula and > that was for John’s surgery last October. Hardly a holiday. ” >

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