(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
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.