Ahead by a Century

Today’s post is really late. Almost missed the day, really.

It’s been a hectic day with an important project, many conversations, and a couple of special, physically-distant visits. Plus, I wasn’t nearly as organized as yesterday when my daily post and most other daily rituals and chores were mostly finished by noon and I headed out in the car to Birds Hill Park, took my bike along, and did my fifth outdoor bike ride of the year, my third in the park. Finishing that ride, which was a bit gruelling because of ferocious winds, I thought of today’s song. I’ll explain why, but this will take a little bit, so get comfortable.

Over the winter, I built up my cycling to rides as long as 40 kilometres on the indoor trainer, but of course, it’s different in real life, with headwinds, bad roads and other factors. In less than two weeks with my three rides in the park, I’ve gone from doing two laps, or just over 20 kilometres there, to four laps and a bit, for 50 km yesterday. That puts me at the halfway point toward my 2020 goal of what’s known as a “metric century,” or a 100-kilometre ride. (A century for cyclists in imperial-measurement lands is 100 miles. Ummm… maybe next year. I made it to 60 km last year, albeit only two months after switching to road cycling, and accomplished that on what would have been my dad’s 100th birthday. I decided soon after that, with some coaching from an awesome manager at my favourite bike shop, Alter Ego Sports in Winnipeg, Canada, that my next achievement could be 100 km in 2020. Anyway, this is sort of an explanation, so I’m not even going to call it digressing, if that’s okay… though I’ll admit it is a bit like rambling.) 

As I mentioned before all of those facts and figures, I thought of today’s song as I rolled, entirely spent, into the area where the car was parked. With my eyes on a “century” (from more than one perspective), the song felt like an instinctual choice, which sometimes happens with this blog.

Today has proven that instinct to be right on. You see, I never was much of a fan of The Tragically Hip. And I know, that sounds almost un-Canadian! I know they were a great band, and the late Gord Downie was courageous and visionary in the face of terminal brain cancer. In his later years he put so much of himself into the work of reconciliation with our First Nations by his work highlighting the plight of children stolen from their families and imprisoned in Canada’s shameful residential school system.

“First thing we’d climb a tree and maybe then we’d talk
Or sit silently and listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday casting a golden light
No dress rehearsal, this is our life”

(from “Ahead by a Century,” by Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay)

I don’t really know The Hip’s music that well, and yesterday my electrolyte-depleted brain was also tuning in on the song, “Blow at High Dough,” which includes this line:

“Well, sometimes the faster it gets
The less you need to know
But you got to remember the smarter it gets
The further it’s going to go”

(from “Blow at High Dough,” by Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay)

That one’s perhaps also an unwitting mantra to my training. And, here’s the other thing I’ve discovered today. It’s all a reminder to be more open. To embrace music — and other things —  I’ve tended to reject because I didn’t connect with them the first time around. To accept the people who irritate or offend me, or with whom I don’t feel a connection or feel I can dismiss solely because I’ve felt they have been rude to or dismissive of me. I found myself in a place today where I could get past all that, and made a connection in a longstanding, complicated relationship. I don’t know what the future will bring, but today I felt like I was kinder, and maybe added some light, and in exchange, felt heard and respected. 

Anyway, I may just be listening to some more Tragically Hip sometime soon, to see what I was missing all those years since I was introduced to them in the early 1990s by a deputy superintendent I was working for on the railway. He was adamant that they were the best band ever. Anyway, I’d appreciate your comments and recommendations of albums or songs, as I only have a couple of their songs, including today’s.

I’ve got some distance to cover, and some learning to do yet. I feel fortunate that it’s going to continue to be a busy year. Hopefully there are more in the hopper!

And, I made it just under the wire for today’s post, so, yay to me.

Here’s the official video for the song from The Tragically Hip’s YouTube channel:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: