Foolish Gold

At times inspiration comes at 2:30 in the morning, It’s a strange time between dreams, the end of one and the beginning of another when the body is awake before the mind gets into a sleepy gear.

Which is what my body did with the words of the first line of this song:

“These dusty roads you walk on.”

I have forgotten so many things I intended to remember the following morning that a nighttime prompt like this could not go unheeded.

In other words, wake up and listen.

So I did.

Walked, groggy with sleep to my table, took out a pen and a book, and began writing. I pretended I was in my favourite writing spot in Barrie at the Bohemia. Almost the entire song came. Of course, there were later revisions, but the atmosphere of memory tinged with regret remains.

And memory is our captor, our kidnapper. Despite our best efforts, there is no holding back the nose of a certain spice in the air; eye, skin, and mind conspire together to hold the way a late Autumn breeze filters through the afternoon-lit clouds and poplars gossiping with the rush of pine and cedar, brushes past your cheek and the top of your hand and you are back on Topsail Road walking to downtown St. John’s even though you are on a suburban sidestreet in south Barrie. You wave to a neighbour, but they can’t see the swirling van Gogh memory in your head.

It is so clear that when it vanishes, as they all do, you want it back again, like the body of a lover.

Two-thirty in the morning is a strange time.

The sense of rootlessness in the first bridge, “You were a slave in Egypt”, that old biblical influence I can’t seem to rid myself of, attaches to getting around in a southwestern Ontario town, “You got lost in Guelph”. I did. Physically, despite the well-intentioned maps, and psychically – it was the place where I stayed for a good two months in treatment for a mental health breakdown. That was the town where my father stayed for much longer in a care facility. I visited him during my time there. When I told him why, he launched into a trip down his particular memory lane of depression, suicide attempts, and an ultimately foolish and futile crazy love for my mother. It was a revealing visit. I had a better understanding of him. Didn’t make me like him any better, though. But that’s another story.

Memory, and regret for that matter, are constructed entities. We patch them together out of past and present feelings, impressions, historical records, photographs, videos, letters, and documents. Where the parts are missing or don’t seem to fit, we make up shit. Not to intentionally deceive, but to make sense and meaning out of it all. To cobble some reason to hope, perhaps. “So now you sit in winter/snow around your knees/ dreams turn into drifting/ hopes slow down and freeze” and then, in a previous verse: “Forget you ever hid them away/ so much Foolish Gold”

It’s a winter song, like another one on this album, “Soft Snow Falls”

I think Don’s slide guitar and Alyssa’s harmonies are sublime on this, don’t you?

Two-thirty in the morning is a strange time.

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