Neil Peart has just posted a new update to his "News, Weather, and Sports" website blog. This March 2014 entry, his second of the new year, is titled "Not All Days Are Sundays".
The entry details an extensive vacation Neil and his family took in February in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. This would be the first Canadian winter experienced by Olivia; Neil's 4-year old daughter. From the entry:If this year did not quite offer “The Best February Ever” I crowed about back in 2008 (mostly to do with the weather, which has its own vagaries, of course), it was still pretty great. I was able to spend the entire month there, and in the middle, welcomed Carrie and Olivia for a week. Four-and-a-half-year-old Olivia would finally experience her true Canadian half—winter!Sadly, Neil also reflects on the passing of one of his friends - Steven Taylor - who was the older brother of his late wife Jackie:
If we Canadians know what it’s like to be alone in the snow, we also know what it’s like to be together in the snow. It was an extreme delight for me to introduce Olivia to a whole new world of quaint Canadian customs dans l’hiver.
It begins, of course, with taking half an hour to get dressed—putting on all the layers, the boots, the scarf, the mittens, the balaclava (Olivia loved to say that word), hat, and sunglasses.
Then to walk outside and feel the shock of the cold—even if only on the two inches of face left exposed, but also in the nostrils and lungs. Cold fresh air like that is definitely a mild narcotic—just as I once described my favorite drink as “February in Quebec.” Olivia climbed the snowbanks, slid down them, dived into the deep powder, rolled in it, swam in it, and finally, tasted it. She said, “I love snow!” My heart melted.Not all days are Sundays, and not all Februarys are perfect. Much as I might resist having to modulate into a sad minor key, it is a part of our music—a part of our world—like it or not. As it is described so enduringly in the movie Down By Law, “It’s a sad and beautiful world.”You can read the entire entry via this LINK.
Smack in the middle of the month, a dear friend—a brother—was felled by a heart attack, just after his sixty-first birthday. My age. Steven was the elder brother of my late wife, Jackie. His twin brother, Keith, had looked after my Quebec homes for almost twenty years. We had been friends since our teens, back in St. Catharines, Ontario, when Keith and Steve worked at the local record store, and I was a struggling musician. Naturally, a struggling musician was going to hang around the record store (in those days, anyway!). At the time I joined Rush, in 1974, I was living in a farmhouse with Steve, Keith, and Wayne “the Bear” Lawryk.
In later years, Steven and I shared the worst times in our lives—in England after Selena’s death, looking after Jackie through her decline (her surrender) in London, Toronto, and Barbados. When I was at my lowest, Steven was my rock. After the wrench of Jackie’s passing, Steven met me on my Ghost Rider travels to help “kill Christmas” (the worst time of year when your family is shattered)—one year in Belize, with his wife Shelly, the next year pounding through Baja in his father-in-law’s Hummer. A few years later Steven lost his teenage son, Kyle, to stupid cancer, and I was able to be there for him. (The “walking wounded,” we called ourselves.) He was a good man, a good friend, and a good brother—I felt his loss keenly.
And to check out every News, Weather, and Sports entry Neil has made dating back to 2005, they are all available at the News, Weather, and Sports Archives.