Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Last Waltz

And by ‘waltz’ I mean ‘overnight hell-trip on the Greyhound’.
After spending the day walking Terry’s final stretch of highway, it’s onto the overnight to Winnipeg for a gig with Koralee and then back to Vancouver.
This has been an illuminating trip, no question. St. John’s had a much different feel than I was anticipating, as did the Thunder Bay region. If I had written down what I thought I would find before I left, it would have said that I expected St. John’s to be very warm and welcoming and Northern Ontario to be harsh and forbidding. Instead I found just the opposite.
Shows you how much I know.
As midnight approaches and the bus pulls out of Thunder Bay for Winnipeg, I find myself in a reflective mood.
Hardly surprising, I guess. I did spend last weekend with my oldest and closest friends, a rare activity that usually puts me in a reflective frame of mind. Add to that the fact that I passed through my teen/early adulthood home (Ottawa, well specifically Orleans), and barely recognized the area I lived in due to a massive invasion by chain stores. 
Entering the Orleans area from the East, after having not been there for almost a decade was a bit shocking. The undeveloped fields just east of where I spent 1988-94 are now a faceless strip-mall hell, undistinguishable from a million similar eyesores across the country.
There was also the brief stop in my childhood home, my ‘hometown’ as it were. It’s a little strange to have a place be your hometown, and know with 100% certainty that you will never live there again. It’s debatable if I’ll even be there again, which is also a bit strange.
See? Reflective.
Riding highway 17, a road intrinsically connected to my childhood, was an incredible pleasure. And once again, like a child, there was excitement as the blue ‘Courage Highway’ signs started appearing. Also exciting were the descent down Montreal River Hill (it totally looks like you’re going to end up in Lake Superior) and the appearance of the Sleeping Giant. 
Tonight involved time with my favourite Aunt (Only 12 years my senior, when I was young she drove an 80’s sports car with a T-top and listened to Bon Jovi. Loud.) and several glasses of wine, perhaps the best preparation for this bus journey.
Which reminds me, she also listened to Journey. Loud.
Mostly I’m reflecting on Terry Fox, and how his story fits into the stages of the mythical hero’s journey. 
And, more importantly, how to translate that into music.