When you go about your normal business with headphones on and good music blaring, your little world looks different. With some clear beats and sad bridges framing the moment, the morning concrete becomes your sympathizer on the futile slog walk to the bus. The gentle chords of the rising sun give way to crashing allegros of yellow; stirred notes burn the downtown gold. A plaintive chorus empathizes as you wait for the stop light. You synch up your step to the beat, to the bass, to the snare. You walk as you should always walk, like you’re really going somewhere. Like you’re fearless. Waxwings flitter above and although you’ve heard this song a thousand times, you catch something that you haven’t noticed until now. It’s a subtlety of inflection that, on this morning only, can only be explained as extraordinary. Morning walkers arrive as partially formed instrumentals. They say without speaking, and they say imperfectly. That sweet female voice is every woman you’ve heard speak, every nuance you’ve noticed. That clarinet makes your heart ache for a past that isn’t yours but is somehow; for tragedies that are not yours but everyone’s. That guitar solo takes you back to fifth period, beer in the gym washroom, awkward high school kisses. The fading notes of a soft piano allow you to meet your wife again, to visit her eyes anew. A song may not be there at the time, but on this walk with music, you take comfort in that. You know that every moment gets a soundtrack eventually.
LRT Bridge, Jan 07
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?