Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sip As We Might, We Thirst For The Real

Where does the yearning, that is so deep within us, come from? On the surface, we can seem happy. We can be the ones with stiff necks, starched shirts and bleached smiles and everyone can think we have found the secret. Money. Relationship. Career. Children. Religion. It can all be there.

But really, we are miserable.

Mornings at Camp IAWAH cracked out like bending, mellow, tri-colour laser beams from a distant planet. You stepped out on to the warm green grass, and you felt like you were inside of a different existence. There was something special about spending summers, there. It was something that pervades the cheapened currency of our plastic lives - Something real. The smell of white, bar soap and toothpaste in the hot washhouses. 

Ducking away from the pressures and anxieties of the noisy city - and falling asleep to the rhythmic and otherworldly sound of the loons. They called and cooed about something different - something beyond our mind frame. That was really something. We connected our bones to a deep vibration from within the earth-core that shook all of us ragged.

Laughing so hard with other weary life-travelers into the deep, dark night that we went hoarse. We scrubbed chicken grease from deep, slimy kitchen-pot corners. We marched together. Innocence lost.

We even fell in love.

Time has shown up in a nattering, nervous mess. He has taken some fellow warriors along the way. And he will take some more. He looks at me, and looks at his watch, and looks away. He disappears again into the envelope of his existence.

My mission in this life, if it was ever more clear, is to blow up the clock. I want to take away the existence of Time and stick dynamite into its main gears. 

But I know that I can't. Time appears and walks through my being like the invisible agents in the Matrix. And I float on in the only river that I've ever bathed in. It ties me to the banks of reality. It's slow in the winter and almost stopped, but re-filled, bubbling and rushing in the spring.

Time will take us all and we are all going to go - so why do we waste so much time with bullshit? 

The very roots of us need truth to sprout into something stern - something majestic. We need the true. We need the real. We thirst for it from a place we often ignore. We plod along, form our bodies of work and we are scooped into Time's never-announced carriage.

I've lost touch with friends and I've swam in and out of so many lives. Sometimes, I am a self-involved ass. Other times, the beauty is all around me, and all too technicolour, and hitting my mind through the lens of my life so rapidly that I barely have time to keep up with its speed.

To the dead, I miss you. You know who you are. Some of you, I only knew briefly (and only in one exchange of words and humour) but I loved and revered you while I did. Others, I lost ages ago but I am still fighting for your memory. I don't want to lose you. Please find your way back to my mind. Others, I didn't know - but I knew the light you gave to others. I know I'll see you all again.

To the lost friends, I miss you too. I'm sorry for anything I ever did to be a prick or if I overstepped my bounds or pushed the humour envelope too far. I can do that. To some, I miss you a lot. You brought light to the dying, dark cracks of this universe, and I should have celebrated you more. To others, I don't miss you. You were the pricks and you just need to get off your high horses of infamy and pride, and say you're motherfucking sorry, already. But I still love you. I don't forget but I almost always forgive.

In a recent trip to see a friend who lives on a close-by lake, I had a revelation. I realized that I don't have to do everything right. I can fuck up. I can take some time to figure things out. I can step back from the pressures that I've been corralled into. I don't have to seek every answer - I just have to seek the truth.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thumbing My Way Back To Me

Sometimes, I don't know who I've become. I look in the mirror, and I see age lines. I see traces of a young boy who was so excited about the potential of every day that he could barely sleep at night.

Now, I am a distant hitchhiker on an unfamiliar country road. The wind is picking up and the cars are humming by faster than they ever have.

My pockets are empty and I'm looking for connection and a warm bed.

We need each other.

Those who have supported me in life have been paramount to any good thing that has happened within the entirety of my existence. As the saying goes, you are only as good as the company you keep. I have been exuberantly blessed to have had some of the top-shelf company I have had in my life.

And now, meadowlarks line the highway-side telephone poles that lead us into the summer. Meadows shed their fluff and seeds into a wispy, comforting wind that helps us to remember the good and to block out the bad. We are heading to a pastoral time of thought, reflection and base importance.

The only real currency in this life is what is shared between friends. You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends.

I think that speaks volumes to the people who you decide to stand beside, through thick and thin, and prop them up when they need support, and run beside them when they need to get in the race.

Choose wisely, but once you've chosen, give freely. You never know when you might need a light on a dark day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Back Alleys and Cities of our fears

The music that plays from the dark, back alleys of our youth beckons us. It allows us to remember who we are and who we were.

We are all woven together by the backstreets thread.

We make mistakes. We fuck up. We say we're sorry. We plug on and pump quarters in the parking meters of our time commitments.

The street below beckons. The steam from the sewer reminds us of all that is unpleasant in this life - but the thin grate of the vent reminds us that we are only steps away from inhabiting those dark, dank, sulphuric places.

The sky cracks a cold November gray - bitter, blackly tinted and unforgiving. The cold comes hard in the evening, and even starts to sting in the late afternoon as the wind strips away our posturing.

We can't pretend to understand the layout of the loud, stinking streets - we just plod onward and pretend we know where we are going.

The human spirit is a closed deli on main street. Boarded up, tired and stripped of colour.

But in the same streets, and in those dark alleys - there is another uprising beginning that we may not see.

It is one that we, in our selfish lives, may never be a part of. We can only be thankful for the time we have spent at the feet of these beautiful but haunting skyscrapers.

The traffic lights illuminate the shadows of what we once were, and the pace at which we forget.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


It's been nice to be near the ocean again. I probably should have spent more time on the shores of the great Atlantic, but it's still pretty nippy out here. May is not exactly 'prime' season.

In the city, though, the heat is on and the sun is out in full hang. Its heat and vitamin D has made me happy, tired, and connected all in the same breath.

Although we try to run off and get away from the hustle and the bustle of dragging life, we can never get shut of it.

Everything we have gone through and everything we will ever be is brewed together into one thick and meaty stew of survival.

One of the best quotes I heard about survival lately came from Bryan Callen's podcast when he had Steve-O (of Jackass fame) on the show. He was asking Steve-O about his daredevil style of living and ability to throw himself into dangerous situations. Steve-O, who is mostly known for being a public stuntman, showed some serious depth in his mind-melting response (paraphrased):

"When I was very young, I realized that in life, the only common thread between humans is that we all want to survive. But the only guarantee we have is that we won't."

There are no guarantees of anything in this life. The people we have come to love and trust can end up being distanced souls.

We do what we do to ourselves and no one else.

There has to be some sort of hope - a root that connects all of us. Family. Faith. Value. A base that you come back to.

Even though that may differ, it has to be there.

A truly unrooted soul is a troubled one.

It's been nice to work out some tunes, play guitar, bass and drums, and see some old and new friends. On days where I had nothing to do and no one to meet, I'd sleep. Or I'd go for a walk. Or I'd get lost in my thoughts.

But as much as I love it out here, I'm getting tired, now, and I'm nearly ready to make the long trek home.

For those who take you in, despite your misery, your darkness or your selfishness, are truly your family.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Easterly Musings

I'm taking a trip East. I'm here, now.

I buckled down on the rugged stretch of asphalt ribbon that ties together Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces and at 5:30 am, on May 2, I ventured forth from the house of my parents to take in a new adventure.

But unlike other adventures, this is an adventure that I would ultimately be undertaking alone.  

Me, myself, and I - and the road. The long, open road that screams of opportunity and past failures in the same wink of an eye.

The first time I took this long road was in 2001 with two of my best friends of all time - Steve and Joel and another Korean pal named Montana (Montana was what he called himself in Canada, but his real name was Woo-Chan). The three of us were convinced that we were going to get jobs and live in PEI. Boy - were we deadly mistaken at the prospect of any employment.

Still - we did it. We tried. It didn't work out. 

The second time I made this trek, I took it with two pals in the fall of 2002 - Justin and Tony. At that time, at the ripe old age of 25, I had a lot of excitement in my bones. I had come into some money and rented a jeep for the trip. We were headed solely for Halifax so I could record some music with Charles Austin. I always loved Charles' songs and recording styles as I became a serious Super Friendz listener. In person, he was as cool as he was over email. I recorded 12 songs in 2 days with Chuck - from tops to tails. He told me he liked my music and I should do it more.

I came back again in 2003 with Sarah. We had been dating for a year. We drove out in her parents burgundy Dodge. I recorded four more songs with Chuck. Chuck was what people who knew Charles started to call him. He told me to get a band and play my stuff live.

I haven't made this drive in 10 years, and the pieces of it all mystified me, just the same. From 5:30 am on the 2nd until today (May 6 at 1:39 PM EST), there has been nothing but blue sky and sun. Not a hint of rain. Bright mornings out windows. Long walks and coffees.

I am long gone from the days of being a worship leader at a summer camp - and yet, I am still so much like that guy. I have become a serious writer and tenacious in my expression - but I still like to kick it with some pals.

I've had a lot of moments so far. Moments and thoughts.

Thoughts. A hell of a lot of thoughts.

Thoughts about me and those around me. Thoughts about my mistakes and my heart aches. Thoughts about how things have become more fucked up and more complicated than ever before, but in the same tumultuous breath, thoughts about the moment.

I am realizing that I have always been an 'on to the next thing' type of guy. I'm not good at being in the moment and just sitting on a beach. I have a nervous energy that needs to be working and finding an outlet. But on this trip, I've tried to let that go a bit. I've tried to just be appreciative. Understanding.

I'm trying to get back to me.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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