My day started out in its usual fashion – in a flurry of activity. Running late for work and chasing the dream of catching the bus, I rushed around the house, forgot my lunch in the fridge (as usual), hopped in the car and drove like the wind heading west. I have been trying to get it together in the morning and not experience this ritual panic on a daily basis, but, you know, best laid plans and all.
When I got in the car and started driving, the DJ on the radio was yammering on about some thing or the other, but in the background I heard the very distinctive first cords to The Tragically Hip’s song Bobcaygeon. A chill ran along my arms and I felt myself urging the Disk Jockey to stop talking and just let the song play unencumbered.
Growing up, I didn’t listen to ‘The Hip’, despite the fact that they were in the height of their popularity while I was in my final years of high school. It wasn’t until I went away to school that I began to gain an appreciation for the band’s music. I couldn’t say I was a fan, but I wouldn’t change the station when their songs came on and when the school pub would play “New Orleans Is Sinking” (every Wednesday night) my roommate and I had developed a dance of sorts that we would do along with to it. I was starting to like their particular groove.
Then, one day, I was watching Much Music, back when a) it existed, and b) it still played music videos and I saw the video for Bobcaygeon and it changed my appreciation for this band entirely. It depicted a white RCMP officer who’s love interest was an Indigenous woman who lived in the town of, you guessed it, Bobcaygeon. He leaves her house and drives back to the city all the while thinking about quitting his job. He goes to work that evening and has to patrol an event in Toronto which turns into a race riot; and when day breaks he returns to the solace of her arms, reflecting back on how during that event all he could think of was her.
It made my heart ache. I haven’t seen that video in years and I can clearly recall almost every detail.
In the past few years, the song has taken on a new meaning to me, as I found myself in a pretty racist scenario and the subsequent fallout shook my faith in some and reconfirmed my faith in others. When I hear that song now, it stirs a lot of emotions in me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
13 hours later, on the way home, a different Disk Jockey was yammering on over the beginning of one of my favourite songs of all time. “Lost Together” by Blue Rodeo. It’s one of those songs about love that quietly climbs inside your soul and before you know it, you know it anywhere. I first heard that song in the 9th grade and it has stuck with me ever since. I’m not sure if a lot of 14 year old kids were listening to Blue Rodeo back then, but they just had a way of getting to me.
I drove along the winding country road (part of the route is pictured above), heading to my little piece of paradise. And with the window wound down and the radio turned up, I belted out the tune.
There is a verse in the song that distills down the simplicity of life in the country and the peace I feel in my life out here.
In the silence of this whispered night
I listen only to your breath
And in that second of a shooting star
Somehow it all makes sense
It comes at a point in the song when it’s quiet. It just lulls me into this state of calm where I can almost picture us sitting out back watching the stars.
In both instances, as the songs played, I was swallowed in a warm cocoon and I could almost feel Random beside me. My commute was bookended by some pretty intense feelings. I was happy to be home and back with this character with whom I have spent the past 11 years.
(I might like him. Don’t say anything though.)
If you haven’t had the opportunity in the past 20 years or so to listen to either of these songs, give them a try. They just might transport you.