Shooting stars

A lesson learned from Billie Holiday

Human experience + the blues

Life is funny. It looks one way from the outside and another while you live it. It twists and turns and spins you around. Sometimes it feels like it's melting while you cling on to the shrinking, slippery pieces. On other days your dreams seem to wait on a silver platter. Shooting stars waiting for you to collect them as they fall.

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Exploring the valley

This past weekend we hid in the mountains again. It wasn't easy to get there, though. First, I did a week's worth of work in three days. Then we stayed up most of the night doing laundry, cleaning, and packing. We woke up bright and early to be turned away half way there. We drove home, discouraged, but kept the car packed in hopes of the road to Invermere reopening the next morning. It did. In hindsight, it was still worth the six hours in the car to be sent home by the end of the day.

Our weekend turned around the next day. We outsmarted an avalanche and drove through a snow storm to find blue skies and snow covered pines in British Columbia. After 661 kilometres in the car, I know a little more than last week.

I know that the view is best where the road winds into only two lanes and the radio turns to static. It's even better if you walk a ways past where the roads stops to replace the radio's static with the sound of boots crunching through the snow, telling stories of where we've been and what we already know.

I know valleys can't exist without peaks, and it's okay if Mother Nature makes you wait at home some days. And I know it's okay if life sometimes feels a little cliché.

or, Life in the woods

I like the places that aren't crowded. Remote. Quiet. I think I belong in a cabin in the woods. Think simple living in Walden. A shift in perspective. Intentional movement.

This weekend there were a few moments when we felt like we were the only ones in town. The only ones on the trail; just a few others buying croissants and strawberry crumble at the local bakery; us two floating in the hot tub, snow falling on our shoulders and tuques. The only ones watching the sunset. At the end of the weekend though, there were so many others on the road home. I think they probably like the quiet too.

A lesson from Billie

I don't know everything, but I know you can learn something new every day if you know where to look. Some days are incredibly dull, but that doesn't make them any less important. Shooting stars are real and even crazy ideas can be reality when you want them to be. Really want them. Perspective is a choice. And we can't completely experience the highest highs without knowing what the lowest lows feel like.

My grade eleven English teacher taught me that last one. He said that's why blues singers are so good at what they do. They've fallen into their private hell, but climbed into heaven. They create music knowing that one can't exist without the other. They sing from their souls and share an appreciation of balance while weaving beautiful melodies from their stories of heartache and trial.

He played Billie Holiday for us. I didn't really understand at the time, but I remembered. I think I get it now.

It's funny how some things stick.