I saw a hearse today, oh boy. Olivia’s parents’ house is close to a graveyard, but I rarely see hearses. When I do I feel confronted with death, whether there is a coffin inside or not. When the hearse has passed its passenger on to the afterlife and drives back to base empty, it seems even sadder than when it’s on the way to the graveyard. Its job is done, the morticians are still dressed for the burial, but it’s all over, just a stray petal left forlorn on the flat metal bed of the vehicle. The ritual of death doesn’t get any easier for the West, even though so many people believe in God and in heaven. You’d think that faith in God and belief in the afterlife would be enough to quell the tears. Religion allows an opt out clause in death, it’s the atheists that really lose someone when they die, there is no reprieve, no clouds with angels, no pearly gates, no reincarnations.
Olivia went to Düsseldorf today to pick up her Swedish passport, she left at some ungodly hour and was done before midday. Siv was gone to Frankfurt sometime after 5AM and Olivia hitched a lift to the station with Gerd. There is no public transport in this small village, no shops, a restaurant yes and a very noisy church, but that’s it. So when she was ready to return, she planned to take the train as far as she could and hitchhike the rest of the way. So I decided to go meet here, walk down the hill through the forest and back with her along a windy path over streams and past fallen trees with all the leaves of the autumn scattered and still collected as a brown covering over the pathway. Between the house and the forest there was a cold snap in the air, it was essential to wrap up, but by the time you were descending down the hill in the thick of the trees, the chill had gone, the wind subsided and a warm silence ensued.
There wasn’t much sign of life on the way down, a blackbird, a blue tit, just the creaking of the occasional branch, the whirr of the cars on the nearby road and the trickle of the stream heading down to the small waterfall at the foot of the hill. It took me half an hour to get down there, avoiding some muddy sections and taking pictures of knotted tree trunks and bright green moss. I got down to the road and after a couple of minutes I saw Olivia walking up the hill. I turned around and we walked back up through the forest together, this time climbing, exerting some energy making our way back to the house. More creaking, an invisible bird flying out of a bush, but mainly only the sound of our feet on the leaves and the squishing of mud, the trees bemused by our presence and our conversation. I undid my coat until the top of the hill, where the wind was up and suddenly a shrieking hawk was flapping above the trees, fighting the wind. We arrived at the house just satisfied with the idea of a walk in the forest. In the coming months we might not get too much of a chance for something so serene.
Although the tour is over, there’s so much to do, not just reading and writing, buying records and watching the Champions League. I just listened to Anekdoten’s Nucleus album, that we will be performing live in Canada. Phew! These days everything is about preparation, planning things way in advance, otherwise nothing happens. When you think of what it takes from the writing of an album to the release, or the writing of the songs to performing them live, it’s a rather long and detailed process beyond the actual inspiration. Revisiting songs from the past is also a challenge. So, next is lots of listening and rehearsals for Anekdoten, changing the FB headers and booking the travel, whilst playing and writing new songs in the studio with the Noctorum project, MOAT and Space Summit. Without Olivia behind the scenes this would be nigh on impossible – and then there’s her musicianship. There’s Stephen at the label, Shauna the promo queen and all those other people around us that help so much with fan pages (Judy) and spreading the word. We are entering another phase. Here we go.