Monday, January 7, 2008

Down With the OPP

Over Christmas break Andrew and I went skiing in northern Ontario with our violinist friend Debbie. The trip was supposed to be a time for us to relax, get some exercise and have a chance to write some music!

We went to a great little provincial park called Silent Lake for a few days. They snowmobiled us into a yurt that by the end of our stay we called home. We spent our days skiing (where it snowed about 6 inches a day!!) and spent the evenings in our hot, 95 degree yurt making food and generating ideas for two new pieces.

Andrew began a draft of music for Holy Week, a ten minute Maundy Thursday piece for flute, guitar, and piano. I studied the score to "Ondine" the first movement of Maurice Ravel's solo piano masterpiece Gaspard de la nuit. I wanted to write a piece for flute and guitar based on structure and harmonic elements in "Ondine". Andrew and I had spent that fall listening to some awesome interpretations of Gaspard de la nuit : Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Angela Hewitt, and Raph Votapek.

After our Yurt stay we drove further north in Ontario to a town named Temagami and went to a place called Smoothwater, a eco-resort and recreation area owned byCaryn Colman and Francis Boyes.

We skied to two different rustic cabins out in the wilderness and covered around 20 kilometers in deep snow (again snowing no less than 6 inches a day), slushy lakes, with old growth red and white pine, spruce, cedar, and maple guiding shaping our path.

On the first night we were awakened by the sound of two snowmobiles at 3:15am! We were all worried instantly, especially since there were no snowmobiles allowed in the wilderness area. We heard loud male voices and swearing as the two machines tried to make it across the slushy lake snow packed lake where our cabin sat.

About thirty minutes later, we hear the snowmobiles approach the cabin again and then a knock at the door. Debbie and I stayed in our sleeping bags and Andrew nervously unzipped his sleeping bag.

After the knock we heard a man say, "this is the OPP, please open the door"

I have never been so thankful to hear someone say "please". Although, it took me a minute to figure out that OPP meant Ontario Provincial Police.

It turned out that the police were looking for a woman who was "lost out in the bush" and they wanted to know if they could bring her back to our cabin if they found her in the area. Soon after we heard the sound of a helicopter and it flew around our area for about 45 minutes.

We heard when we returned to the lodge that she was found about two lakes over on another person's property. While sking an expert run she lost track of time and when she tried to find her way back had got turned around. Luckily that night she found a fisherman's hut that she propped herself up against to wait out the cold.

The next night we thought of her in our cozy little cabin as we worked on our music and ate curry flavored popcorn that we made on the wood stove.

Wood Stove Popped Curry Popcorn

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup popcorn
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1. put the oil in a camp pot with one kernel of popcorn in it and place on the stove
2. when the kernel pops the oil is ready
3. put the rest of the kernels in the oil and cover pot with a lid
4. using a pan grabber, move the pan on the surface of the stove in a counter-clockwise circle (this keeps the heat distributed evenly and ensures the kernels from burning)
5. Once there is more than three seconds between pops take the pan off the heat and let sit for 1 minutes until the kernels have stopped popping.
6. sprinkle with the salt and curry powder and toss to coat


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