Monday, September 29, 2014

Saying Goodbye

My friend D came to our last show yesterday afternoon with her 5 year-old twin girls. At one point I came onstage and sang my ballad, "Over the Hills". One of the twins began to cry, tears streaking down her face. D asked her what was the matter and she replied "This song is about saying goodbye".  

Goodbye to rehearsals and more rehearsals. Goodbye to my beloved double bass. Goodbye to blissful days off at Bowron Lake, and paddle board trips and floating down the river with pool noodles. Goodbye to blasting Katy Perry in Tanya's car, The Bumblebee, and listening to Graeme change the lyrics to something much ruder. Goodbye to movie nights at the Panabode, and playing new songs at cabarets. To biking, swimming, running. To espressos on the porch before heading through the stage door to work. To 30-day challenges, eating healthy, and sometimes chucking it all in for way too many sour candies or desserts at the Bear's Paw.  Goodbye to another amazing ArtsWells with plenty of friends to dance with (for once!). Goodbye to the best weather I can ever remember having up here, and the best people to enjoy it with. Goodbye to frustration and drama at work, and also to tons of laughter and unexpected delight, both onstage and off. To old friends and new friends and letting go of old, useless loves. To birthday parties for a landmark year. Goodbye to living in the 1860's, to corsets and petticoats, tourists and gold. 

There's gold enough for everyone
For those who're brave enough to come
To leave their homes and sail today 
Over the hills and far away

O'er the mountains and the streams
To all the towns on Williams Creek
My heart commands and I obey
Over the hills and far away

When duty calls me I must go
Back to the ones left long ago
But part of me will always stray
Over the hills and far away

But I would rather go with you
And look for gold in Cariboo
Along the road to come-what-may
Over the hills and far away...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chocolate Beet Cake

The chocolate comes from the theatre where I worked all summer.
Selling popcorn in the back, grabbing sodas and corn, the chocolate didn't sell
so I get three bars for less than the price of two, 72 percent dark
from where it sat for months, listening to me sing
hearing me laugh,
and tease my friends, and meet the audience.
Everyone's hungry before a show.

The beets come from the veggie box
I split with friends down the road.
I worked with one of them but he left us
We're still friends though
and every week he sorts through the vegetables and brings me half
Right now we are besieged by beets
so I looked up this recipe

The espresso came from Bill & Claire's gallery.
Fair trade, dark and delicious.
They gave it to me free but I bought pottery
so it balances out I guess.
We visited the old church where they make their art;
Caught them just in time before a road trip.
They believe in me; no matter how frivolous I am
they believe that my art can make a difference

Flour from the house we live in, Eve & I
belonging to friends who are on the road.
We make a mess, we prep, we pre-heat the oven;
a girlfriend arrives with wine
I read the recipe, Eve stirs and Margaret pours refills
I am foggy with sadness and yet I am full of joy.
And when the cake comes out of the oven I recognize the taste:
sweet, dark, earthy-rich.
My life tastes like this.

I miss you, I miss you, I miss
the idea of you.
But truth is, I have friends to laugh and cry with
and love will come.
This much I am learning:
Old hurts are patched over by new ones
New ones are made bearable by
good friends
red wine
and chocolate beet cake.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I get up in the morning and walk Bosco the dog, whom I'm dog-sitting while his owner is out of town, running a race in Alberta. Our walk takes us through the Meadow, so that the dog can run around off-leash and I can follow behind him, or ahead of him while he side-tracks in the bush. Then I hear the slappity-slap of little dog feet and he is hurtling towards me, mouth open and tongue flopping as he dashes to catch up.

Sunday morning we sketch a big loop around and through town, ending at the farmers' market where I tie Bosco up out of food's way and discover that The Bread Peddler (AKA Kate and Tim from up the road) has baked ginger-chocolate scones. I buy one and munch it, the chocolate chips liquid and melting, fresh from the oven.

Tuesday I hike with Stan and Graeme up up up to Groundhog Lake. We walk though Barkerville so early that the draft horses are still running loose along the road. The cloud cover is low, and as we get up to 5700 feet the treetops are so dusted with frost that it looks as though all colour is being leached out of the world. The lake is in a bowl; on one side is a public-use cabin and on the other side Mount Agnes rises in a ragged rocky curve. Today we can't see the summit but it's still spectacular.

Today we do our show for three friends who are leaving us after working with us all summer. Two of them are my best girl friends and I can't even imagine how it's going to be up here without them.  They clap, they giggle, they cheer, they galvanize the rest of the audience and us and we do one of the best shows we've done in a long while.

Movie nights with pickles-and-cheese. Family dinners before people start leaving. A new home to house-sit. Playing music at the Bear's Paw tonight to a packed house. September I write my love letter to this place while the days tick by and life gets ready to change again.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


The end of the main season always gets to me.

The weather and the leaves are changing faster than you can say fall in the mountains.

Friends are leaving; staff is being reduced to a skeleton crew all over town. There are parties, too many drinks, and tearful goodbyes.

On top of this, I have had a whirlwind week, riding some incredible emotional highs as I celebrated my birthday and had a lot of fun (maybe a little too much fun) with my friends and co-workers.

We have also had an extremely intense month at the theatre: someone left the company in early August, was replaced by another performer, we rehearsed like mad; then someone else got sick so we had to re-jig everything again; then again as they recovered and got worked back into the show. We had to plaster cheat sheets all over the stage and wings just so we could remember the show order(s). It made us a very tight little unit, very close, with a ton of laughs, and the kind of intense friendships that are formed in the face of adversity. This weekend we had to say goodbye to 3 of those people, as their contracts don't last to the end of September.

We get 2 days off after Labour Day- I went north to the nearest big city, to spend way too much of my hard-earned paycheque on new clothes and unhealthy food. My stomach feels yucky from over-indulgence. My heart is sad. The big city was ugly and rainy. I tried to have a good time, and I was glad I'd gone- in a way- because I needed a change of scene, but all I wanted was to be home.

And now I am. Home in this tiny town with my new clothes and some new books, getting ready to adjust to the shoulder season. There is a lot of fun to be had in the fall, and I look forward to the weeks ahead, but this weekend always gets to me, every single year.