OF MUSIC, LIFE, AND DEATH

Such an interesting and emotional day today. We’ve been under the threat of heavy rains since last night but so far there have only been a couple of showers. It’s coolish, dark, and damp…grey clouds surround me. I was going to spend the day on the laptop hopefully to get close to a wrap on the sequel to “White Wolf Moon” but my characters aren’t doing anything of interest. Marie is taking advantage of the dull day to clean the kitchen. Evan and Danny are in Evan’s study working on a new song and Ginn (the wolfdog) is stretched out in front of Evan’s desk taking up about a quarter of the floor space. Carol is lying on the couch “reading” although her glasses are on the end table beside her and the book is nowhere to be seen. It’s probably tucked into the small space between her and the cushioned couch back. Jenn and Matt? I’m not sure what they’re up to…perhaps preparing for their trip back to Edmonton. There’s really nothing that any of them are doing that can add to the story-line so I decided to let them be for the day.

I went downstairs to the basement to begin a thorough clean of my collectibles room (almost a warehouse actually). On the way to this room I stopped and put an old Bob Dylan lp on the turntable. I didn’t make it back to the room. I sat and listened to “The Times They Are A Changin’” and began a walk down memory lane. When I was much much younger I shared a house with five friends (my characters are based on these people) and we’d occasionally head out to a cabin and spend the weekend cavorting and playing music. Chris was our resident folk singer and this Dylan song was one he’d always do. He had an interesting voice, rough and graveled due to an accident that resulted in his throat being impaled on the branch of a tree. His parents were told that if he recovered he’d probably never be able to talk. He recovered and sang like a bird, albeit a gagged crow. I turned off the record player and picked up an old guitar that I leave downstairs just for times like this but I couldn’t remember how to play that song. Most of the others we played on those warm Alberta nights around the fire came back quite quickly but not that one. Chris passed away about ten years ago and I still can’t listen to that song without thinking of him. It’s so incredible how music can bring back so much. As I sat strumming those old chords I thought about those others that have passed on in my life. As well as my grandparents, dad, mother, and sister there have been countless (literally) friends and co-workers that have left me over the last sixty-something years. Then I remembered something Evan had thought in “White Wolf Moon”:

They were all dying now, those he grew up with and worked with through the years. He guessed that part of the natural order was for those left to accept each passing with less emotion. He and Jack had been close at times and had Jack been the first to go Evan would have been devastated. But death had now become almost routine.

There was something wrong with that.

Then I realized that I had touched on the same scenario in the sequel, this time with Jenn and Danny:

“Marie told me about Carl. How are you doing with it?”

Danny shrugged his shoulders. “And another one bites the dust. I’m fine. I’m going to miss him but I’ve reached that age where it’s just a part of the deal.”

“That’s sad.”

“That’s life.”

My previous blog was titled “Will It Go Round In Circles” and that blog didn’t…I should have saved it for this one.

Recently a local author named Peter Grauer (Interred With Their Bones – a history of Billy Miner in British Columbia) passed away. I didn’t hear about it until yesterday. I didn’t know Peter as well as I would have liked to…he frequented the bookshop where I worked, gathering research for his new book which will be published soon. We’d talk (mostly I’d listen) about writing and life in general. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a lot of encouraging words for me when he found out I was writing my own book. He couldn’t be at my book signing but he left me a wonderful hand-written note which is the first page in my archive binder. He signed it with the words “Pleased to know you…”. I went back upstairs and read that note a couple of times. Then I thought about my book signing.

It was one of those events that will forever be a special memory. So many nice people came to wish me well, to shake my hand…my fifteen minutes. And then I thought about a couple of local female folk-singers that volunteered to perform at my signing. They were great and the most genuine pair anyone could ask for. They gave me a moment to remember the rest of my life but they gave me a little more than they realized.

The first song they sang was “The Times They Are A Changin’”.

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