It was not openly spoken of, but the family was waiting for Caleb Gare. Even Lind Archer, the new schoolteacher, who had come all the way from Yellow Post with the Indian mail carrier and must therefore be hungry, was waiting. Amelia Gare, Caleb’s wife, with all her cheerful bustling about the kitchen as if everything weren’t quite ready, could not break the suspense. Judith and Charlie had milked several of the cows and had come in and out of the house repeatedly for no reason whatever. Martin, slow and clumsy of feeling as he was, had cleaned the entire stable so thoroughly that it looked unnatural. Ellen, Martin’s twin, was playing the organ,but appeared to have forgotten even the more familiar parts of her repertoire, such as “Red Wing” and the less recent “Ben Bolt.” Ellen played, harmoniously enough, “by ear.”
Wild Geese was written almost 90 years ago and tells the story of a dysfunctional prairie family. I fell in love with the main character, a teenage girl named Judith, because she represented the passion and independence that I admire. Most of the students in the English class that read it, wanted to kill Caleb by the end. I think you would too. Judith had a plan for her life, and she executed it in unpredictable ways, eventually getting what she wanted.
There is a picture above the desk I record music on. In it you can see 3 of the 4 rooms I lived in at St. Jerome’s. It’s a very nice picture of a cafeteria and the residence. It brings up memories that I would usually ignore because they represent a mixed time in my life. They also demonstrate the way small decisions can have a large influence on much later events. But perhaps they aren’t small decisions, even if they seem that way. For many people, choosing what to study at university requires a great deal of consideration. For others it is obvious from the very beginning, but is no less important. For me, that choice was secondary to a lot of other matters. None of the decisions that I made regarding my future were given anymore than cursory thought. Now, as I am posed to map out the next 4 or maybe 40 years of my life, I lack a true mechanism for sorting it out. Humans have always had tricks for finding their way. The north star, animal tracks, landmarks, maps, the sextant, and now GPS have helped people get from one place or another. In order to find direction in life, a person needs dreams, goals, and a plan. I have only recently formulated a plan.
To what degree is this album a part of that plan? Probably not at all, but I have spent a lot of time on it anyway. The Mountain is a true story, more or less. I wrote the lyrics literally at the edge of the Hamilton escarpment. They describe what was going through my mind on that day, and the music reflects what I felt. The mood of the song was influenced by the Peter Gabriel song Don’t Give Up. If you know that song, I imagine you know what I mean. I haven’t had the feelings from The Mountain in a long time. But they were common once.
Join me on The Mountain: