There and back again

It’s been such a long long time since I’ve allowed myself to feel the wonder of my own buoyancy.

A field of oats on off the sideroad where I drank my morning coffee
A field of oats on off the sideroad where I drank my morning coffee while my excellent bandmates slept..

Sing a B-flat major chord to the sun as it dips below the western horizon.  Play and snap and thunder through two sets of Charlie Glasspool’s excellent music with four excellent and complex human beings. Floating propelled on a big white boat that can open itself to kiss Tobermory and then South Bay Mouth, sharing people back and forth like fluid full of stories, food, art, and music.

Travel in Good Spirits, says the Chi-Cheemaun.  And we did.  There, and back again.

and another oat field, blue and shifting in the morning breeze, to the right.
…and another oat field, blue and shifting in the morning breeze, to the right.  At some point I forgot I was drinking coffee, and I drank the blue green of these fields instead.

Mostly my rehearsals are efficient things, scheduled between other things that need attention.  Like ritualized steps through the weeks they land precisely where they were planned – morsels of joy and the rich job of listening closely to make the right sound at the right time.  Twelve pieces learned and somewhat polished in two hours for a gig the next day.  Beginnings and endings.  Sheet music road maps are explored and memorized, fingerings and bowings, dynamics marked in (or chord progressions, lead lines, rhythmic textures , vocal harmony parts where and when).  Later you pull these out and play with an mp3 to embed them, and on the way to the gig play the mp3s over and over & think your way through your part…  I had three rehearsals like that this week – each of them highly rewarding of course, but quickly finished and on to the next thing.

Docking sign at Tobermory.  I liked the paint cracks from weather
Docking sign at Tobermory. I liked the paint cracks from weather

Sometimes it’s about more than getting the notes right, but there’s no time to explore the bigger philosophy, to feel and hear the deeper currents and learn to ride them with integrity, with sensitivity.  Rehearsal is over too quickly, too efficiently, and I carry a residue of missed opportunity through the day…

On rare occasions, though, there is time and a shared inclination to go deeper.  There was this week with us as we sang our way to the boat, on the boat, and back again into the next day.


We stepped off the schedule planet, my friends and I, and onto planet possibility for an intense two days.  I can’t (and wouldn’t) speak for them, but I certainly know I am changed by it.  I feel like a child who has discovered a myriad of new ways to play with old toys.  Songs and solutions pop into my head while driving, while reading, immediately upon waking.  I can handle and deal with about twice the detail load, and I still have plenty time for wonder.

She opens herself ni the approach to Tobermory
She opens herself in the approach to Tobermory

What a simple thing, to change so much.

Stop, and play with like-minded people in a place of possibility for long enough to make it count.  And it will count.


Thanks you guys.  More, please.

sitting bones

This morning’s cold has made the rain weightless.  As I watch from my third floor window I can feel the pull and flow of ocean, save that it’s air – currents made visible by tiny crystals of frozen water.  The north wind, playing.

My walk at dawn was full of the promise of this; I’m glad to be in the saddle now watching it happen.


The saddle today is all about music education – not just classical, not just conventional, but real and applied like a cord that weaves through every part of life (in Austria the bricklayers sing opera as they work). I’ve got alot of ground to cover from now to Sunday evg – on familiar roads, abandoned roads, through fields, bush and escarpment on animal trails – always pulling this cord (chord?) of an idea through it all.  (I’m tempted* to play a little with this idea (like the North Wind) and pull up the Minotaur in the Labyrinth myth….)


There are models out there that answer the need for a strong, universal program for kids to learn and play music.  Every one of them needs to be altered to fit the place they will be.  Every one of them needs strong advocates on the ground, a solid team of non-competitive, collaborative teacher/player/coaches, and the clear understanding that without including and involving the parents, the community will never engage, the bricklayers will never sing on their scaffolds.


There will be some valuable breaks from the computer – practise on cello & viola & piano, learning vocal lyrics, arrangements; rehearsing & playing a great benefit gig for the Phillippines with great friends (& incredible players); hikes in the playful snow.  Through it all my heart and head will still be in the saddle here, building a good plan.  I love this work.  Love it, love it.

detail of 4'x4' painting in progress:  D-ring snaffle bit
detail of 4’x4′ painting in progress: D-ring snaffle bit

I have the bit in my teeth now and girth snug on my belly – I’m both horse and rider, and we’re off.  See you on Sunday if you live here. Have a great weekend, wherever you are,  if you don’t.  ‘Hope you get to play.

Here’s the Phillippines poster:

calm in the eye poster1(1)


*maybe later, since it would require a pretty serious re-write.  I’m not sure that the bull-headed beast is a bad thing that needs to die in this version, and not sure we need one hero (we need many). Cut or change Theseus’ motivation, re-write Ariadne’s lines, keep the labyrinth as a metaphor for accepting what you don’t and cannot know until you’ve gone the distance,  give the Minotaur an archetypal weight and purpose because we need him, there’s always a scary beast….

the joy of stupid

I awoke into one syllable:


There’s been lots of lunar stuff, what with the Blue Moon and all. Enough that I’m craving solar, for balance….

And then another:

What day is it?



holiday weekend; shoes to kid for 9am, studio; funeral at 2pm; kayak & good, time at home
Where am I?

Full Moon.  You are in a full moon.


And then I remembered how much rich, satisfying fun I had playing with david sereda last night.

I love this man – his music, his humour, his graciousness, his wickedness. Lucky me to get to play with him.

To those of you who came last night – thanks for singing and laughing with us. That was FUN.

More coming from david:

Sept.15 at the Flying Beaver Pubaret in Toronto (New Moon), finally Sept 29 with Keira and Tyler Wagler for Songs in the Key of Tom in Owen Sound and another Full Moon. Syncin’ up with the heavens! 

I’m going to get some blessed sleep this weekend, now that the moon’s howl is lessening.

Then the September orchestra engines roar to life, writing and painting continue.

I love it all.


I really am stupid today – so just to be clear, what I mean is that nothing feels better than working your ass off at what you love.  It’s also good to sleep.