The extraordinarily warm weather is slipping away. The temperature will fall below freezing tonight. Although seasonal conditions are returning, it seems wrong. How quickly I have acclimatized to gentle warmth.
Harriet and Hogan are visiting their cottage this weekend, putting things in order for summer enjoyment. Our paths will not intercept. Their trips to the lake do not usually include visits here; we usually make the journey to the lake. Attila and I have been working six days a week this month and we are tired, and challenged to keep abreast of the domestic duties entailed by day-to-day life. A few hours driving in the car, for a short visit, just wasn’t in the cards for us this weekend.
Yesterday was filled with small and satisfying activities: laundry, baking oatcakes, preparing roast beef with LOTS of vegetables, preparing turkey soup, chopping wood, firing the masonry heater, paying bills, updating my websites, cleaning… Oh the excitement, I guess you had to be here!
Today we are attending another open stage event, to which I will bring my bodhran and tippers. My playing has been stiff and self-conscious, and no wonder after several decades of solitary playing. Eventually I will once again sense the sounds of the other players organically, but the ability to allow flow will need to re-develop slowly. I am still experiencing hyper-awareness of the musicians as corporeal beings. Eventually I will perceive them as wave energy, magnificent waves upon the shore.
There are those of us who are lucky enough to touch heaven in the knowing of another. For me it first came one morning, as the sun kissed the treetops of the trees across the street from a second story apartment in downtown Toronto. The night had been spent talking with Pat Logier, and with the dawn came the knowing of a lover and a friend who changed my life and walks with me still in the quiet hours.
Pat stood at the doorway to myself and beckoned me enter, into the chaos of being. My door has stood open ever since that morning, when the world suddenly revealed itself, full of sound and light and love.
To my delight I came across a recording of a song he wrote, one of many…
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Humidity: 63 %
Wind: NW 8 km/h
“Canadian writers are place in the same situation as this of the Middle Ages. Their pens, unless they engage in politics (and God knows the literature that we owe to the tirades of political pundits), cannot suffice for their least needs. When a young man leaves college, his greatest ambition is to have his prose or his verse inserted in some journal. On the day that he first sees his name emblazoned at the foot of an article of his making, he believes himself called to the highest destinies; and he dreams that is is the equal of Lamartine, if he devotes himself to poetry; of Balzac, if he has attempted the novel. And when he passed under St. John’s gate, he takes good care to bend, lest he bump his head. These foolish vanities of youth soon vanish before the daily cares of life. Perhaps he continues to work for a year or two; then one day his voice is silent. the need of gaining his daily bread has imposed upon him the harsh necessity of devoting his life to certain arid occupations, which will blight in him the sweet flowers of the imagination and break the intimate and delicate fibers of poetic sensibility. How many of your young talents have produced flowers which promised magnificent fruit; but their fate has been like those of certain fruits of the earth. A frost came which chilled forever the fire of their intelligence. this wintry wind which freezes sparkling spirits is the res augusta domi of which Horace speaks; it is the need of daily bread.
Under such condition it is a misfortune to have received from heaven a portion of the divine fire. since one cannot earn one’s living by the ideas which boil in one’s brain, one must seek employment, which is nearly always contrary to one’s tastes. The most usual result is that one becomes a bad employee and a bad writer. Permit me to cite myself as an example. If I had not received at birth, at least the taste, if not the talent, for poetry I should not have had my head stuffed with fancies, which made me enter upon commerce as a means of existence, never as a serious end in life. I should have broken myself in entirely to business and today I should have an assured future. Instead of that , what has happened. I have been a bad merchant and a mediocre poet.”
Mission de la Capricieuse au Canada, in Oeuvres de Cremazie, 1 November 1855
Attila brought this quote to my attention, it is from a book he is reading, The French Canadians: 1760 – 1945, by Mason Wade (1955).
Octave Crémazie (April 16, 1827 – January 16, 1879) was a French Canadian poet. He has been called “the father of French Canadian poetry” for his patriotic verse, often rhetorical in style, celebrating such subjects as Montcalm’s defence of Fort Carillon in “Le drapeau de Carillon”. Other poems include “Le vieux soldat canadien” and the unfinished “Promenade des trois morts”.
A statue depicting a French Canadian soldier can be found at Square St. Louis (Montréal, Rue de Malines and St. Denis) with Crémazie’s name across the top and the years 1827-1879 (his years of birth and death). Underneath the soldier are the words “Pour mon drapeau je viens ici mourir”. There is also a Montréal metro station named for him on the orange line, on the boulevard likewise named in his honour.