The coming journey

January 22, 2013

I’m still under the spell. A night ride, nothing very long, 20 minutes maybe.

 

It’s been cold here and now it’s so warm. Ozzy was planting geraniums and fine herbs in the backyard two days ago. The trees sport the dead leaves of what should be fal, it was 80 degrees F today and it is January…  I am confused

 

So I’m riding with yellow level cold gear: the heated vest but no Gore tex shell or long tights under the leathers. I rode down the 210 from Pasadena. Quick acceleration and up the ramp I am in the midst of freeway night traffic, it’s almost 11 PM. Monday night of a day that I did not realize was a holiday for America. The traffic is sparse.

Go baby go.  Vrrrrr, we course, the trajectory is relaxed, there is much room between cars.  A shiny, steady semi, on a night run heading God knows where.  I can almost see the outline of the mountains to my left.  Dark blue against black blue.  

I roll through banks of warm air, the smell of stew, the smell of something burning then smoke. Then colder air and warm air again, the sweet smell of baking.  

 

This last Sunday I cleaned up Arkadaş. I had not done so since the November rain I had ridden through and it was filthy.  I had been feeling guilty, that task having been on my “to do” list for a good 2 months.  I spent two hours on the drive train alone, tooth brush, rag and kerosene. Then I cleaned the top part of the bike, it shines.  It smiles.   I’m not done yet, I will do the engine with the tooth brush too. Then wax and polish the painted parts.  I will have a “maintenance session in the near future too: Oil change, plugs, and that broken speedo rotor to replace.

 

This bike…

 

I stop and look at it, every now and then, and feel so lucky. I thought of when I got it and the generosity that took place for me to get it. I thought of how these bikes keep landing in my life. How they put me back on the road when I think I will soften into one place and grow roots.

 

In the dark on the 210 I wonder what will appear in front of me, within the circle of the headlight beams. The road has some bumps that I can see coming via the way cars bounce over them. I lay low.  I will always remember that mattress lying on the middle of a Tennessee freeway in the night.  All that we trust, take for granted.

My tires are getting worn.  I feel them on the grooved concrete of the road.  But I may not get them changed for a while…

 

With the arrival of the new year, I have plunged into my next project. I’ve been drafting documents: bio, resume, my story and I’ve been detailing my next project, dream, target, goal… however you want to call it.

The thought was first born over dinners with Melanie and Ozzy in late 2010 early 2011: Going overseas. Then, when I was in Ottawa, living among a good many Turks, I was told of Istanbul, how I HAD to see that city, how I would not believe its size and scope, then came to me the Turkish music and the saz.

All of this simmered through the months.  At the time I did not know how much it would pervade my universe, but every event that happened from that time on, from my breakup, to the trip to Winnipeg and the deep philosophical and musical discussions with Davidian, to my minimalist lifestye, to the arrival of the saz, to the deeper and deeper discovery of this music gradually were leading me to this plan.

On a September evening I had a trance like moment, I was sitting outside with Ozzy, we had a little candle glistening in the night, he was drinking a glass of wine and playing Angry Birds on his tablet, I was playing my guitar, eyes closed, I started to play something that was different, foreign.  I lost track of time, space, sounds and I suddenly traveled. How to explain? I traveled. Images appeared to me, words. “There are no accidents”  After a while, I opened my eyes, and in the dark in front of me was the moon between the fronds of a palm tree, my eyes were opened but  I wasn’t in San Dimas. I was somewhere else, somewhere I’ve been, somewhere I’ll be. It was profoundly intense. Then I knew.  It was not like a worded message but I knew.  This was a call.  One I had to respond to.  

In 2010 I did give myself over to the Forces of the Unseen, I told them then that I was ready and willing to learn, ready and willing to serve my purpose. I kept telling them and requesting the learning. And it definitely came. I believe this is part of this. The Quest continues. And no, I am not drinking, on drugs or crazy. I just know.

I am going overseas.  I will  land in England or France, find a bike, then ride to Istanbul to meet my fate, meet my tasks. To learn about the music that moved me so and took over my soul back in Ottawa.

I am planning to leave this continent and journey in the spring.  I plan to take trips to the Black Sea, to Anatolia, to the southern coast and find the music, the legends, go on the steps of Rumi and learn as much as I can. I need to find a saz teacher and I wish to see, hear, document as much music as I can.

I will need help… What I am working on right now are the support materials for a travel grant proposals to the Canada Council for the Arts and the materials to build a crowdfunding project.

I will need to find a bike in Europe… I considered going bikeless, almost convinced myself, slept on it and woke up with the knowingness that the bike had to be part of this journey. Last week-end, at Berts (the largest motorcycle store in the world!) I sat on a number of different bikes, I am looking at gas mileage, a gallon of gas is $10 over there so MPG matters! After some internet research the Ninja 250 has good gas mileage as well as the SV650 2008 and over. We talked about the Royal Enfield, the Ducati 660, the Honda CB 250.  We will see what the Gods of the roads will grant me…  I trust it will be the right thing.

 

I will keep you informed, but be ready, comes spring, we’re back on the road. I hope you’ll be along for the ride. 

January 2, 2013

January first twenty thirteen.

 

Arkadaş. Out of the garage, I put some air in those tires while the engine idles to warm up, it’s been ‘cold’, well, I use this word with caution after seeing a picture my sister in Quebec sent to me this morning where the snow banks are almost taller than her son.

 

I feel great peace this morning, a joyful kind of peace.  I sat in the sun for a few moments, just basking in the glory of the rays, the crispness of the air, the friendliness from everyone around.  

America works really, really hard, most of the time but today, most of America takes the day off and enjoys life and that is palpable. To experience this land, this world, this place.  This California light I crave it  so, it suffuses the place, it feeds me on some intangible level. I am thankful. So thankful. For life, for the beauty of it, for my growing and learning from it.

 

Fulfillment.  The sun shines, I get to ride my bike, however short the ride, I get to hear that engine run.  I get to make music, play that saz…  Simple joys.   I guess I have simple needs. Sun, bike, music and the impossible goodness of my friends…. and of course, espresso.

 

 

On New Year’s Eve last night, I went to a party. I had been surprised by an invitation and decided to go. Yes these things bring the shyness out of me… but I decided to brave and head to my first New Year’s party in a long, long time, I thought : why not this year? Do things differently and not just sit by myself, waiting for midnight to come.

I joined the guests sitting around a campfire under the clear night skies. It was cold but the fire kept us warm. Fire, fire, I love to be near the burning wood in the night.

 

There was a hookah, I didn’t really know anything about them, so I was explained how it works and I gave it a try. I actually liked the experience.

 

It is always interesting to insert oneself in a group of people you don’t know and discover who they are. One of the girls has family in Quebec, it was the first time I met an american that would speak French with a Quebec accent! She told me of her pride for her roots.

 

 

Then I was introduced to an American classic: Beer Pong. Well, I was told that the ‘real’ beer pong should be played with paddles but since the table has irregular dimensions we played without paddles.

 

At each end of a table are 10 beer glasses positioned in rows to form a triangle, 2 players face each other and attempt to throw the ping pong ball in one of the glasses. When one team succeds the other team has to drink the glass of beer. This goes on until one team runs out of glasses.

 

I teamed up with Hal, a strong fellow, mid twenties, calm and composed but with quite the spark. He trained for the military but then was ousted when they realized he had an eye condition that will make him eventually lose his eyesight as there isn’t enough blood going to the optic nerve. He managed to get his initial training done as no one knew what his condition was , but at some point his file was reviewed and because of the poor night vision he was ousted, his records expunged as if they never existed. So he continued down the path of life and became a massage therapist.

 

Later some more guests arrived, one of them, a gentle looking guy that I will call Will, surprised me with his stories… He was been a drug dealer for 7 years. He now works at a Starbucks and some of the stories he shared about that were hair raising. That particular store is in an area located at the junction of two enemy gangs, so there are stories of shell casings, blood trails and the tales of junkies passing out in the stores… I have not encountered this sort of environment, it brings a different reality, the one you see dramatized in TV shows. Strange, strange…

 There is something different, this is not Canada.  I have been kind of a hermit these last few months and I find these images of these lives otherworldly.  Reality is one of the angles of a multifaceted mirror ball.  

I heard more stories, more viewpoints on different realities, I laughed, smiled and hung out feeling the vibrations.  We had the countdown…. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,…  and there it was.  The New Year.  Fresh and tingling.  Full of promise.  I don’t know why but I think this will be a good one for a lot of people.  Maybe the End of the World as we knew it did happen and this is Year One.  I like that idea.  Ideas have power.  Why not adopt that one? 

 

So here I am, at the threshold of this new year. I don’t have resolutions, but I have some goals. I have been working on envisioning what I would like to materialize in the coming months.  With help from Ozzy I laid down the pieces of the puzzle of my particular goals into a meaningful road map, I have a fairly clear idea of what I must do to realize them.  and it means I will be very busy in the next 3 months or so. 

 

The two main things for 2013 are :

Releasing the new CD in the first trimester. Nothing fancy but have it out there…

 

Prepare for a trip overseas to Europe and Turkey so to leave in the spring.

 

Then there is this one: How to get the book published.  I started to explore options there and the main suggestions from publishers are:  Hang out in book conferences to meet literary agents or publishers…  Yikes.  Kind of sounds like, spend money, waste time trying to find a needle in a haystack.  I would rather spend my time creating…  So I don’t know what to do with this one.  

I’ll have to see what comes..  many people speak of self publishing then the publishers tell you they do not care or believe or support self published writers or works…  I do understand, why would they?  That will be something to learn, explore, develop.  

I am looking forward to take the road again. I don’t know if I’ll have a bike or not overseas…  I don’t know much… but I know I must go.  

I just read “the Pilgrimage” From Paolo Cohelo.  I realized reading this that my journey has in fact been a pilgrimage, that the lessons they talk about in the book, I have lived them on the Road.  The Pilgrimage they describe in the book is the road to Santiago in Spain. There is, they explained more roads Yielding different lessons like the Road to Rome…   

I will keep heeding the calls I hear so I will be heading to the Road to Istanbul.  What its learning will be I do not know.  All I know, is that I must go, I want to go and I am willing to learn its lessons.  

Happy New Year.  Joy, Love, Curiosity, Adventures, Courage and Gratefulness to all of you.