Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 08.10.14


Happy hour at the sandbar

MONTREAL | It is the morning after the storm. Last night the wind and the rain were pounding on the windows and the roof. Someone said it was a nor'easter. That brought about the philosophical question, can you wear a sou'wester during a nor'easter?

The tides have been higher and lower than normal because of the full moon. So yesterday as the storm hit right at high tide there was a flood warning. But other than some drips over the dining room table we averted disaster.

Now it is low tide at 8:30 a.m. on a beautiful morning-after and I am walking on my favourite sandbar. It is at the mouth of a river at Pine Point, Maine. It juts right out into the Atlantic Ocean. I can walk way out into a world which six hours from now will be 10 feet under water.

I come down to Maine each summer and rent a house with my cousins. It's a reunion-holiday. We get along and because there are four of us to share the rent, we can share a nice house in a good neighbourhood. We are about three miles north of Old Orchard Beach.

I am musing on the question of why does this sandbar fascinate me so much and bring me so much pleasure? I look forward to walking it so much each summer. Is it more than just the way the shifting tides and currents make the sand slightly different each time? And all the little pools containing treasures of inter-tidal life?

On our way down I was listening to a Greatest Hits CD of Donovan. A blast from my past. I would call it artsy folk rock. My art student friends loved Donovan. I liked it, too. But you don't hear him on the radio any more.

I was singing different lyrics to one of his tunes. He sang: "First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is." I was singing: "First there is a sandbar then there is no sandbar then there is."

I thought it more appropriate. Sandbars disappear every three hours. Mountains don't. But I knew it was a Buddhist saying that he had appropriated. As many of us did in those heady days in the '60s.

I came to be interested in Tibetan Buddhism through my reading of the Beat poets. And the lectures by Baba Ram Dass that were played on CHOM-FM.

Can you imagine anything like that happening today? It was truly a different time.

I was so interested that I even read the Tibetan book of the dead. Not many people can say that. In it their doctrine of reincarnation is prominent. The book describes what happens to you after your die.

They believe that we have souls that travel out of our bodies at death and enter new bodies to be born again. That is their circle of life and death. The book is a guide to that journey. They are very aware of the insubstantiality of the material world. It is this mountain that both is and then is not.

They portray this with a ritual in which they build an elaborate wheel-like mandala made of coloured sand and then destroy it. This symbolizes the temporal nature of all material things. I used to think it was rather harsh. Those mandalas were truly beautiful!

Maybe that is why I am so fascinated by my sandbar. The fact that it disappears as it is covered by water every few hours but it will always emerge again a few hours later.

There is something reassuring in this.

Now, I am not so sure about the reincarnation of human life but I am certain of the reincarnation of my sandbar. So I think of it as nature's own sand mandala.

The elusive sandbar of life

To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue blog on West Island Gazette
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