Episode 3: Lac Brochet [by Jeffrey Moore]

Wander with me through my last day as I reflect on the familiar thoughts and sounds of the schoolyard and my temporary home in Lac Brochet.

Lac Brochet is a tiny fly-in reserve in northern Manitoba. It is home to a little more than a thousand Dene and Cree people – and a few dozen outsiders trying to make a living or a difference. Lac Brochet is named after the pike of the lake on which the people of this community survived before the airport and the Northern Store.

The Sounds

The semitrailer arrived some time in January on the winter road, and was never opened. Just abandoned. It whistled and howled on windy days. There was a sadness to it that mirrored my own, and I felt content to let it be a mystery until this day. On this, my very last day in the community, I finally investigated where the mewling came from. I suppose I was worried some student of mine might ask what I was doing crawling around under a trailer before this. There was no woeful spirit in the trailer, of course. No anguish. Just physics.

I taught high school math in Lac Brochet. I think I did it to make a difference. I think I made a difference regardless of why I did it. But the burden of it all was too painful for me to carry on, and even though having to give up carries its own pain, I had to make the choice that kept me going and let me continue making a difference for someone, somewhere – anywhere but here.

The Music

The sounds are recorded within one hundred meters of my house, and within one hundred meters of the school. The music is noise I created with an electric guitar and a mobile phone’s EM field.

My name is Jeffrey Moore, and this sounds like life.

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Episode 1: Trans-Canada Trail

The Trans-Canada Trail is touted as the longest network of trails in the world. When completed, it will span the length of Canada, going from the tip of Newfoundland, to the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories, and over to Vancouver Island.

For my birthday, my partner and I went to none of those places. Instead, we traversed a tiny portion of the trail through Central Ontario: from Peterborough, through Hastings, and ending in Campbellford.

Our intention was to cycle from our home in Peterborough to Prince Edward County, where we would enjoy all the wine, cider, cheese, and vistas the region has to offer. But, what happened was that our speed is about half of what Google Maps expects it to be. By sunset on the first day, we had only made it to Campbellford, and stayed at an inn overnight.

Our own strength and stamina isn’t entirely to blame… only mostly. The Trans-Canada Trail between Hastings and Campbellford was also an intense obstacle. While not exactly mountain-biking, it certainly felt like it. A combination of loose sand and rocks between the size of your eyeball and the size of your fist, made it a bone-quaking, grueling ride.

Not only did the trail challenge our joints, but it also challenged our tires… and won. When we were setting out from Campbellford on the second day, we discovered my partner’s tire had a cut in it, made by one of the rocks. That little sliver let a bubble of bike tube out, which eventually exploded.

At that point, we called it a day and rented a car so we could enjoy some of our little vacation.

You can listen to the sounds of that journey: the bikes rattling, the conversation, the surprises and fears, and my reflections in this episode.

Music in this episode is courtesy of Montreal-based artist Le Berger.

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Below is the raw audio file of two cyclists making their way down the Trans-Canada Trail, between Peterborough and Hastings. You can hear the rattling of a bike, wind, and soft conversation. Feel free to download and listen to it. If you want to use it in a project, please contact me.