On a July, Monday night I picked up the card I had written at the base of Mont Royal for Nina on the Rooftop and wrote the same words into another one. Tuesday afternoon I left work, picked up "With a Buzz in our Ears..." and got on the highway bound for Ottawa.
Years earlier, my first listen to "Takk..." took place in St. Catharines near our family home where I had been living since the end of my University days in Toronto. Returning home that summer was a relaxing and reassuring time when I couldn't land a job in something that I was passionate about. At midnight, I walked to the edge of Lake Ontario armed with the album to keep me company. There I sat on a park bench that faced across the water towards the Toronto lights and all my ambitions.
Leaving the island, driving towards the sun and carving through farmer's fields and tree lines, I suddenly got excited and pounded my hand against the steering wheel to "Within Me A Lunatic Sings". Only one album before I was unable to kick start what I truly yearned for. the push forward had brought me to Montreal. I must have raced the sunset all the way to Ottawa with my excitement because I surely beat it there.
We met and the laughter we shared was brought down from the rooftop and onto the downtown streets. There I gave her an envelope written "For Nina on the Rooftop" and I kept the one marked "I gave this to...", both with the lyrics of the year. We opened them together, for the first and the last time, as I unfortunately got my wish that we'd both have a keepsake to remind us from time to time, even though the rootop love story, that consumed the first seven months of the year, had ended.
Two weeks later, I returned to Newfoundland after first visiting the island two years earlier. This trip promised to be better with all the family and friend introductions and the shock of driving up, down, left or right but never straight was out of the way.
Some ridiculously good moments that were burned into my memory started with watching a fire until 11 o'clock in the morning, reading a story of moses and water at a baptism or trying to relive the moment when part of a cliff fell onto the beach below under the strength of the waves.
When they were younger, Davy and Jennifer used to chew on Sally Sucker weeds which he yanked out of the ground and told me to do the same. I had that bitter taste when we climbed a hill in Trinity and passed a small house, walking across the layers of tall grass, berries, soft earth and rocks, to find a kiss from the harbour's mouth. We sat down overlooking the calm harbour as the sun was falling behind the higher cliff behind us.
I played "Good Day", "Festival" and "We Play Endlessly" which pulled me into the 360 degree engrossing horizon and its stark contrast against where I thought the earth suddenly ended. I turned around and saw everyone sitting in the grass or on the rocks, scattered for the cast photo washed in the sun's backlight. Stacey accused me of hogging the view.
That night we walked the old train tracks in the dark, climbed a loose rock hill at the side of the road and locked ourselves out of the cabin. The heavy fog rolled in and I put those same three tracks on as i walked alone down the middle of the road. When I came back we all huddled around the old console TV like some strange and promising family. But thats how it always feels in the humility of Newfoundland.
The next day I put my feet in the ocean and stared out of the harbour's mouth to that vast world that I knew nothing about and wondered how that ship could calmly sail out. So much more to learn.