Well, this year has been the longest two weeks of my life. I’m guessing it probably has been for you as well. Back on March 7 of 2020 I went out to see a friend of mine (Mr. Andrew Geano – shown rocking out at right here) debut in a video he had shot (in which I had a cameo as a street preacher). We were in a bar full of people. There was laughing and singing and hugging.
It felt very different getting on a plane to fly to Edmonton just two days later. I’d been following the plight of some of my colleagues in Shanghai – they had already gone through a very scary time. A virus that was actively killing people was spreading, so they had been given orders to shut the office and stay at home for at least two weeks. And now it all seemed to be coming here. Logan Airport was absolutely empty. So was Pearson when I connected through Toronto. I got the distinct feeling that life was about to change significantly.
And it did.
Even the stop in Edmonton was different. There were no handshakes, only elbow bumps. I actually did an open mic (my last live performance to date) at Duggan’s Boundary. Duff Robison (the emcee) had brought covers for the mic in an attempt to keep things safe. He handed them out with barbecue tongs and kept wiping things down as we went. I did my three songs and caught up with a few local friends.
Through the week, I also kept getting emails from my son’s college, keeping us in the loop on how they were going to respond to the events. Their updates got more and more dire until word came on Thursday that we needed to get to Montreal ASAP and help him move his things out. So, that Friday I got in the car, drove up, and helped him get everything cleared out in about 45 minutes (there’s a longer story about this trip, and it involves exactly the right border control officer for the situation – but I’ll tell that tale another time).
And then we came home. And home is where we have stayed for the past 365 days.
I’m not gonna lie: I’d been traveling too much, and I know that I had been bargaining with myself about my need to stay home a little bit more. But I did not envision this, and I doubt that anybody else did either. I have learned a lot about myself, and also learned a lot about how much I value the company of friends and family. I have learned a lot about how people respond to stress in different ways. I have learned a great deal of respect for some people in my life. And weirdly, I have also made new friends and had some friendships grow even deeper than they were before.
I didn’t even mention any of the music that I have written, performed, or recorded during this period. It has been an incredibly creatively fruitful time, both because of the emotional turmoil and because of the chance to focus.
But all I really wanted to do at this moment was to take a moment to remember getting on that plane on March 9 last year, and to consider the year that has passed. I hope that you, your friends, and your family are safe, healthy, and as happy as possible. And more than anything, I cannot possibly express how much I am looking forward to seeing you and playing music for you live as soon as possible. When that happens, we’ll share a hug, a drink, and a song in community once again.