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Thursday, October 6, 2011

THOUGHTS: Music and Reflection

It's amazing how powerful melody and rhythm can be when put together. I was journalling and writing a friend a letter tonight, and I had some post-rock from a band called "The Darning Needle" playing in the background. One of the two guys in the band used to be my production manager when I worked in Denver, and he had told me about one song he had written for his grandmother who had passed away just before then. It came on, and it took me back to a place in my life where I was just starting this BattleWagon Chronicles.

Music, to me, is a memory trigger stronger than a smell or a photograph or visiting a place. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's a very dark place. I was taken back earlier to a happy place in high school by having an "Usher" song pop into my head. It reminded me of cruising around in my friend Stephen's Mazda 626, drivin up and down F Street in Salida, going to 7-11 to get nacho's and Mountain Dew.

I found that when I want to immerse myself in a contemplative emotion, I have to do little else than put some headphones on and listen to the type of music that I feel will put me in a better place. Nothing beats finding an Alaskan beach, quiet, the moist fall air in my lungs, and some of "The Helium Arch" or "Maserati" or "Radiohead" gently pouring its way into my soul through my ears.

I dig music.

CHRONICLE: Tatoosh Island

Saturday morning, my friend Steve took me fishing north of here toward an island called Tatoosh. We loaded up the Golden Rule and left Knudson Cove, tired and mellow for different reasons. We hopped north of the Revillagigedo coast and started trolling maybe a mile off-shore. The poles got dropped in the water, and we enjoyed the creature comforts of this fine boat. The Rule, a thirty foot metal-hulled Almar, is complete with a dinette, kitchen, bunk, and head, and features a nice deck out back for fishing and the like.

Twice in our outing we spotted pods of humpback whales bubble-feeding. This is fascinating. The whales swim in slow circles, releasing air bubbles forming a large column around a school of herring. They gently make the circle smaller until the school is densly packed, afraid to swim through the bubbles. When this is accomplished, the whales then open their giant mouths and swim upwards, into the fish, and breach the surface of the ocean. What we see from the boat is a huge mass of seagulls diving for fish in the moments before giant gaping whale mouths jut out of the water. It's pretty spectacular.

After catching one (and only one) silver salmon, we trolled to Tatoosh, where we navigated inside a narrow channel. Steve wanted to show me some virgin cliffs, ripe for the climbing. It doesn't look like a very difficult peice of property, and the whole experience has done a lot to motivate my climbing sensibilities. I miss being outside, truly being lost in it. It may be time to get out soon.