We were visiting family friends one day when I was 11ish. The youngest of my parents' friends' three sons was two or three years older than I was and he asked me if I had heard of Soundgarden. I hadn't so he put on Black Hole Sun and then Spoonman. I was blown away. I was listening to grunge like most kids my age but there was something different about Soundgarden. Looking back now it's clear that it was Chris Cornell's voice.
In the Fall of 2002 I was watching Much Music and the VJs were hyping up a new single from Audioslave - the RATM x Soundgarden supergroup. I was intrigued but was skeptical of a supergroup of musicians from two bands who had their greatest success when I was a kid. Then they premiered the video for Cochise and I was blown away again.
I was recently excited to learn Soundgarden were playing together again and was waiting for them to be at a festival with a few other bands I could justify leaving the province to see. Unfortunately, that will not be the case as Chris Cornell died last night. And there are reports swirling it was by suicide.
A few weeks ago I was walking down Military Road killing time before a meeting. These ribbons were tied on the fence in front of Bannerman park. I didn't notice the words on the ribbons at the time, but I was mesmerized by their dancing in the wind. I began shooting to catch the dance, went to my meeting, and then never looked at the photos until this evening.
I haven't been processing many photos this month, I've been far too busy with other things and have neglected the blog. I noticed the ribbons were removed from the fence, and I needed to clear my head, so I decided to look back at the photos I took a few weeks ago.
While inspecting the photos just now I realized that most had messages, seemingly of support for people struggling with mental health or suicide. Most were illegible due to being out of focus, backwards, or the shutter speed was too slow to capture the words. This was really the only message that was clear in the the 80-or-so photos of the ribbons.
"Keep holding on, you'll make it through."
Beautiful words of strength by a stranger for stranger carrying compassion in an effort to help. You never know who needs help.