March 2, 2015
Today, my barding self is another year older, and I find myself pausing for reflection. Exactly 3 years ago, I released my very first recording – What’s Life All About?, a collection of songs I haphazardly recorded myself with a couple of microphones and my laptop. It was symbolic of many changes in my life – the biggest of all being the decision to go down a full time musical road.
In anticipation of a different life, I made a small purchase – my first ever with the intention of walking down that path. Naturally, they were a pair of shoes. Here…meet my shoes………..
Starting a new journey takes a good pair of shoes, but I had no idea the magnitude of adventure that awaited me with these guys. They have stood with me upon many stages, they have been amongst some of the highest mountains (literally), they have walked the soil of many countries and coastlines. They have known love, loss, friendship, life, death, and every emotion that travels alongside those feelings. They have known the spectrum of magic from the lift of inspiration, to the devastation of failure, and carried on.
These shoes have endured much more than I could have ever imagined. They are a vault of invaluable memories, and will always have a special place in my heart.
The soles have finally worn through, and it is time for a new pair of shoes. However, I am keeping these guys for sentimental reasons, perhaps making a guest appearance in the future for special occasions :).
Do you have a special connection with an old pair of shoes? Never thought I could have become so attached to them.
In honour of my shoes, I leave you with a tune from that first recording I did, inspired by my sister-in-law, Steph. May your feet guide you to many wonderful memories, people, and experiences, and may you have a friendly pair of shoes to share the ride with!
Follow Your Feet… (click to listen)
July 15, 2014
I write this blog with the greatest of urgency, as I feel its content will ease worry and sleepless nights felt by many around the world. I have personally suffered vicious night sweats and post traumatic stress surrounding this topic, and I have been in recovery for years. With time and training, I learned to manage/contain these feelings so that they would stop spilling into other facets of my life, but the scars run deep. Some damage isn’t repairable……until now……….
Have you ever reached that point in your day, week, or for some….month…..that you hit your absolute rock bottom low? You know what needs to be done, and it’s the last thing you want to do. However, it comes to a point where you simply can’t go out in public anymore…….you have to do your laundry!
Just to be clear – I do not speak of laundry this way because I despise of the act of cleaning clothes. No, this tale clings closer to the heart.
Have you ever felt that feeling of hope and excitement when you collect all that needs to be washed in your bin/sack/open arms? It’s like you’ve stumbled upon a fallen or injured comrade, and carrying them to the machine is like delivering them to the much needed medical attention they deserve. You place them carefully inside with the proper healing agents, and send them on their way – only wishing them the best and brightest of futures……
Time passes, and moment comes….You open the washing machine door, happily unloading your clothing reborn, but quickly realize something is wrong. You check again, and still, something is not right. Panic begins. Your core body temperature rises, and no longer can you think clearly. Your sock partners…….HAVE BEEN ABDUCTED!!!!!!!
After the murder scene shock wears off, you now find yourself in a tremendously uncomfortable situation:
You must explain to your orphaned digit covers that their life mates are missing, and they will most likely never see them again…….most likely a sockicide.
You try to council them that they will find peace, that they will move on to other socks and once again find happiness. You introduce them to other shapes, sizes, grains, thicknesses, cuts, patterns, and colours, and eventually, they come around. I have discovered that new sock pairings actually become stronger than they were before, and achieve a certain degree of balance that previously was unattainable. They make better decisions, they perform better in the workplace, they are warmer in their relationships and give back more to community.
Nonetheless, how does one go on knowing there is an unanswered disappearance of their loved one? The questions…..the doubts……
The coin flips…..Just the other day, I had a stunning discovery. After years of being victim to serial sock abduction, I have learned to numb myself to the pain, only allowing myself to feel the joy of mating a lost sock with another. However, upon unloading the final garments to be dried, out of the corner of my eye and beneath the thick rubber insulating sleeve………. I saw…………..a signal flare!
I was stunned….paralyzed…..absent of all thought in discovery of the underground smuggling channel. I felt light headed. Plagued with rushes and visions of past occurrences, an uncontrollable emotional outburst WHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH was released amongst the basement corridor as I stumbled backwards in disbelief. All this time………..so many socks, lost to the slippery underbelly of the washer liner….and for what?
The answer, we may never know. Upon peer review with sockpert, Brooklyn-Prior-Acosta, another potential explanation exists in what is deemed LINT…..In other words = Brutal cremation of stray socks in the dryer that escaped the threat of the washer.
Whatever the cause may be, it is my wish that this discovery be shared with all those you love and care about – Share with those that have felt the pain of sock loss – those who have optimistically woken up to their day, only to have their dreams crushed by finding a single lifeless sock, standing alone in an empty drawer. No longer my friends…..no longer…
Help reduce or end the merciless phenomenon that is sock loss. Save the socks you can. Always check under the black rubber sleeve of sock stealing doom :).
May 18, 2014
A few days ago, I took about a half marathon walk throughout Courtenay/Comox on Vancouver Island, and I have to say, that walk ranks among my favourite in Canada thus far, and I highly recommend going for a stroll there.
This blog will be more photo based, as what I saw is best shared this way. If you take a walk down Comox Road, this is what you’ll see….
All these signs made the walk such a fun scavenger hunt – especially the dick-head one…HAHAHA! Most of them are easily viewable from the road, but a few you wouldn’t see unless you were walking because of the way they are hidden. I love touring by foot for that reason – seeing this country and it’s people for the details.
Between Courtenay and Comox is this really wicked estuary/bird sanctuary you can take a rest at. I met a woman named Liz there who had moved from England to Comox in 1947, and lived there ever since. The two bottom photos I took because of what she told me, and she deemed this “local knowledge.” :). If you look closely at the left mountain picture, see if you can make out the image of a little girl picking flowers….
The right mountain photo is apparently “The Forbidden Plateau.” She didn’t tell me why, but then went on to say a couple climbed it and got married up there last year. Haha….Would have liked to hear more of that wedding story! Perhaps if you go wandering through, ask and see if you can find out the rest.
May 5, 2014
Many moons it has been since sharing a barding adventure here. Lately I have been reporting more from my email newsletter (email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive these) or my music website http://michaelaverill.com/, but recently I have felt inspired to start writing here again.
Over the last year I have been amazed with the idea that everyone is connected with 6 degrees – ie, through at least 6 people you know somebody who knows somebody……spooky!!
However, my recent year has yielded a great deal of empirical evidence that this in fact, is not the case. I have concluded that it is more accurate to claim 1 Degree of Separation. An example you say? Of course…….:).
Through my I’d Rather Walk Tour, it seems almost every person I meet knows a mutual friend or family member. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Nanaimo Folk Connection Coffee House to meet a woman that shared the same last name – Sue Averill (an amazing host and a wonderful musician). She heard an interview I did with CBC last year, and connected with me out of curiosity due to our mutual last name.
The night happens on the 3rd Friday of every month, with an open stage and a feature act, unplugged/completely acoustic. I played a few tunes and shared the story of my Dad’s song history with CBC, and why I am doing what I am doing now. Afterwards, a man named Mike Sadava, who was playing in the feature band, came to talk to me about a man he knows that is writing a book about walking. He also asks if I know a Mavis Averill…….haha….Mavis is my Aunt, and it turns out that until last year, he lived in the same neighbourhood in Edmonton as my Aunt, my Aunt sang harmonies with him ages ago, and his wife Anne was in a book club with her to boot!
The plot thickens……..
Mike put me in touch with a man named Keith Encinas and his wife Keli- house concert hosts on Vancouver Island, and a truly inspiring family. It worked out for me to play at a fundraiser last night with them to help raise money for the Cancer Society and the Bandwagon Project, driven by The Lion, The Bear, The Fox, and Music Heals. Incredible projects that I was happy to support….and once again, by 1 Degree, I know the guy driving Music Heals (Chris Brandt), so the circle just keeps spinning round……..
Crazy, yet again, how small this blue and green sphere we live on is. I would be willing to bet that at any given time, if you are around people, someone is connected to you via one person!! Just ask :).
On a completely random note – Keith took me to Thetis Lake yesterday in the Victoria region – an absolutely beautiful park and trail system. Highly recommended to go! It is the time of season where the Arbutus trees are shedding their bark, and with a touch of rain, was one of the coolest forests I have walked through. I took a photo of one of the bronzy orange under layer of one tree, and wanted to share it with you below. If you look closely, there is an “HS” carved into the bark…….Any thoughts or made up stories as to what it means or stands for? There will be prizes for the most creative interpretations!
Stay tuned for more barding stories…………………..CAUSE THE BARD IS BACK!!
August 11, 2013
Why hello there!
It has been eons since I last blogged about my unusual or comical barding adventures, and a great deal has happened since January. Since shifting more of my writing to www.michaelaverill.com, I haven’t had stories that I felt different enough to post separately. As I sit pondering for a moment in Conception Bay (good place for it), Newfoundland, I am recounting the variety of goofy tales I have amassed that I believe would be entertaining to share. Thus, after a long departure from this realm, I feel it is time to revive THE BARD BLOG!! Happy swimming white tigers everywhere!
The story I feel fit to share today is one that came from my time on Prince Edward Island in July. Through a wicked chain of connections I ended up at a wonderful family birthday party on the north side of the island near Cavendish. The land is so gorgeous on PEI, and in this particular region, beautifully open glowing green fields meet white sand beach and endless ocean.
The folks I was staying with lived just off the beach, about a 2 min walk from sandy dunes that go on for miles. It was a clear starry night, so I decided to put up my tent with the cover off. There were no city lights to compete with, so every star was visible with the backdrop sound of waves crashing.
I went down to the beach with a group from the house going for a night swim. As they had their dip, I started unraveling my tent and gear. On their way back they informed me that foxes parade around the beach at night, no real threat, but just to be aware they are around. They disappeared into the darkness, and I continued to raise my temporary barn.
A couple of things started going through my mind. Firstly, I had never seen a real fox before, so I was partially excited, but also mildly edgy at the same time not knowing what their behaviour is like. Secondly, I hadn’t really realized it until that moment, but that was the first time in my life I’d ever been in a big open space like that camping solo without a friend or family member nearby, and my phone was out of range.
I had a pretty powerful flashlight with me to help set up, and every once and a while I’d shine it around to see how far it would illuminate the beach. One on of these occasions, I happened to see a single, small, circular, orangey flash in the distance…..the like I would compare seeing cat/raccoon, or deer eyes reflected from car lights. I immediate reaction was…..FOX!……but there was something strange about it all……I carried on running the poles through the sleeves of the tent, then stood up, rotated in lighthouse fashion with my light to do my fox survey, and BLAM!!! There it was again…..It was closer this time, but the strange thing about it was there was only one eye. I thought to myself…”I’m being stalked by a one eyed fox!!”
I finished the basics of my tent foundation, threw my gear in hurriedly, and now wondered how peacefully I’d be sleeping with a garnish of adrenaline now running through my body.
Weirdness progressed…..With my last flashlight survey, I caught glimpse of the reflected single eye, this time 12 feet in the air! My inner dialogue was as follows – “HOLY #%*!$!!!! A FLYING ONE EYED FOX!”
When I actually stood in one place for a minute and focused on one spot with my light, I started seeing more flashes, but independent of light being shone on it. I turned off my torch and observed, and sure enough, the occasional orange flash would ignite the darkness. At that moment I realized what was going down…….FIRE FLIES!!!!
I had never encountered one before. I’d always heard about them in songs and stories, but I wasn’t 100% positive they actually existed. News flash! They do……….introducing ignorant west coaster to the Maritimes!….yup…..I’ll have you know there are a few funny tunes developing around stories like this, and I am looking forward to sharing them with you ;).
So, when in the Maritimes setting up your tent in the dark, beware the devious flying one eyed fox! Sneaky buggars they are!
Words of wisdom from…
December 9, 2012
Just a short one today…pun completely intended…..
One of my barding adventures in Strasbourg led me to the water – ie. the swimming pool – and I found myself the answer to a mystery I’ve been told about in the past….the reason every man in France wears tiny bathing suit.
Quite plain and simple really. It’s a rule that all the swimming pools have that no man is permitted to wear anything loose or even a board short type of swimsuit. The rationale is supposedly for hygienic reasons. If you come into a pool wearing shorts you just wore outside, you bring everything those shorts have been through with it…which makes sense.
However…I beg the question……What if a man spent his day wandering around in public in a pair of these beauties seen below, and then went swimming? Would he be rejected at the pool, or just everywhere else he went in his day?
And now….deep thoughts…..
I know, it’s no Caramilk sercret, or maybe it will be to some of you…in any regard, I am sure this will be helpful to someone in the future in their travels to France, or their understanding of how the world works.
If you’re going to swim in a pool in France, BRING SOMETHIN’ TIGHT! YEOWW!!
Aqua Educated Bard
November 26, 2012
So…..This is something I couldn’t not share..
I am currently barding in Strasbourg, France, and last Friday I had a house concert here. What I am about to tell you will hopefully change what you say to people who are going out for a performance somewhere.
As many of you know, I have been fascinated with words lately, and in particular, taking notice of how we use certain phrases. Look at “Break a leg” for example. There are many thoughts about where this comes from, but it seems mostly it came for performers saying this to each other. No one ever wished one another good luck before a performance..the same happened at horse races, so they’d say “Break a leg,” as more of a superstitious head game.
At my concert, we got into the roots of saying “Ca va,” or “it goes,” in French. It is used to basically ask how are you doing….however, “it goes,” refers to the state of your digestion. If you are “going,” well, that means you are in good health.
This led into the discussion of a common phrase that is said to performers instead of “break a leg.”
How it used to work – when people would take horse drawn carriages out for evenings – people would arrive at a venue, and get out of their ride. What then would follow would be the horses doing their business on the street……Now…here’s the fun part….
If many people came to your show, that meant many people showed up in carriages, which meant many horses pulling those carriages, which meant ridiculously large piles of horse s*** on the streets outside the venue. Thus the symbol of large piles of horse s*** meant that your event was well attend….Thus thus…to wish a friend a grand night at their performance – you would wish them large piles of S***!
Isn’t that wonderful?
March 27, 2012
Well….it has been quite some time since my last post….mostly because I was planning and organizing the most intricate/involved musical production I have ever put on…December to March 2nd was none stop in preparation of my first official album release. The experience of that show was a culmination of so many things – Too many to really explain here, but will show itself in a future book. Check out the new website for more info about my music.
What I wanted to declare at this point is where I stand as a human being, what I know, and I what I believe about myself, and the world. I am about to embark on a series of exceptionally unique musical journeys (Nepal, China, Taiwan), and I have a feeling I will come back with a drastically made over set of perspectives in 3 months.
So, as of March 27th, 2012….
-I have the least I have ever owned, and I have never been happier
-I am following the path I am meant to follow
-My inner truths come from my journeys
-My deepest love goes to all my family, friends, and supporters that helped me get to where I am now
-Quite often my actions and messages are misinterpreted, predominately from the way I communicate what I am doing
-I have learned a lot, but nothing compared to what I am about to.
-My understandings of the dynamics of people and living situations on this planet are about to be obliterated
-Everyone dear and close to me are entering into massive changes in the next few months, and it seems to be at an accelerated rate
-I may come back desiring to live in the forest with my guitar………..
*Take the time to check in with where you are at, and what you know and believe at this moment. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day mash up we tend to throw ourselves into, so take a minute to gain clarity on yourself.
Not sure when I will have access to electricity again, but until that point, amazing journeys to you all! See you in 3 months!