mid January

img_1449Photos from a previous eclipse.

Cloud cover obscured this years lunar eclipse. The day before was nice and the day after. The night of the eclipse, the light of the moon could be seen through the clouds, but disappeared once it darkened in the Earth’s shadow. It will be awhile until another comes our way.

***

Lisa and I spent a few days in Calgary visiting our children and grandchildren. It was so nice to see them.

Lately, I have been reminded that my ‘stock has gone down’. As we age, society lets us know we are not as valued. I understand it. I can’t work the way I once did. Nor do I have as much to contribute, in taxes, energy, or innovative ideas. I have a hard enough time trying to get Netflix on the TV, let alone navigating the in’s and out’s of being a contributing citizen of, what seems like, a world I understand less and less with each passing day.

I know it’s only going to get worse. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not sure if I want to continue to contribute, just as long as I’m never a burden.

Going to the city always exacerbates these thoughts.

***

img_0918Cooper and Willow.

It’s tough being three. You get told what to eat, what to wear, and what to do. You get asked constantly if you have to pee, and if you say no, they say, maybe you should try.

I could tell Cooper was feeling some frustration. He is three and wants to do everything himself.

He doesn’t want to put mitts on or zip up his jacket. He wants to climb into the truck even though it take a long time. He doesn’t want to eat a decent breakfast, he prefers Eggos.

It is good to be a Grandpa. Him and I can team up. Cooper makes me feel needed and I. . . let him do what he wants.

We took Willow to the park. Willow had to be on a leash. Cooper was in charge of Willow leading her onward to mice, which there seems to be no shortage in the city. I told him, Willow wants him to be the boss. He liked that. Willow dug at the frozen ground and deadfalls for the mice tunnelling below.

Willow is not used to being on a leash but seemed to know the score.

Later we stopped at a restaurant and had soup, chicken fingers and fries. Cooper put enough ketchup on his plate to float a boat, I didn’t say a word, other than to ask him if he had to pee. He said no and I took his word for it.

***

IMG_0935.jpgScarlett getting her morning massage.

Scarlett, likes to sit with me in the mornings. Her hair and bangs are long and shade her eyes, before they are tied back for the day. She is as cute as a button and brimming with smiles and energy.  I can already see the strong headedness of her Mother and Grandmother. She has already made it clear that she will not take any guff her brother is handing out.

***

A litre of gas is 40¢ less a litre expensive in Alberta than BC. This amounts to about $60 less on filling up my truck in Alberta. Most of it is extra taxes we pay in British Columbia, including additional green house gas taxes.

The argument is the higher taxes will drive down consumption. I am sure it works. I know I don’t take as many trips into the bush. However, in BC, incredibly, many of the biggest polluters are exempt from the taxes.

The green house gas taxes go into general revenue, some used to pay for our already bloated public service or even given back to the largest polluters.

I live beside the train tracks. Several coal trains go by everyday taking the dirtiest fuel to ships on the coast to be burned for electricity in oversea countries.

Something tells me our politicians, regardless of stripe, really don’t give a shit.

***

The world seems more confusing. Then again, with age, things get simpler. Making a difference is right under our thumb. . . did I tell you about my grandkids?

img_0910Willow chews the log Cooper is sitting on.

Pussy Willows

rce_1838Fresh cut pussy willows for the studio.

This is a first. Pussy willows in January. Before this, the earliest I have seen them is mid-February. They appear much more commonly in March.

I wasn’t looking for them, it being too early. They just caught me eye. At first I thought they were ice or snow. It is hard to believe they are out so early.

This has been a strange year. Not only have we not had a cold streak of -20° for an extended period, we have not had much snow in the valley bottom.

The ice on the lake is also thinner than it is usually. There haven’t been many trucks or ice shacks on the surface. Nor has the Whiteway, a skating and skiing track on Lake Windermere, been able to open.

Last year near the end of February, after a warm spell, I convinced Lisa to come with me to look for pussy willows. She said we were too early and she was right, we didn’t find any. We were in the same spot I found this years. On the way back down the mountain I got the truck stuck and had to dig it out of the snow.

This year we can get higher into the mountains. There is still plenty of snow, but I suspect the snowpack is way down.

There is still lots of winter left and things could turn around. If not this will go down  as a very mild winter.

 

dog run

rce_1789smJake runs with Chewy. Dave looks on.

Dave, Jake and I thought it was about time we let the dogs get to know each other. Jake and Dave’s dog, Chewy, a purebred poodle is six months old, only a puppy. She is an intelligent specimen of the breed, with expressive eyes and smile if you can see through all the fur.

Willow wasn’t sure what to make of all the excitement. Jake and Chewy ran rampant. Taking turns knocking each other into the snowbank. Willow tried not to get trampled and had to give a snarl and nip on occasion.

rce_1815smJake sharpens the end of a stick. Regardless of age one must have something to run with.

Dave and I talked about people who have died recently. There has been quite a few. Local people. Winter can be hard on life. We are men after all, that’s why we talk, trying to be serious, knowing someday we will be the ones talked about.

rce_1793smJake commands.

In the meantime, it’s kids and grandkids, knee deep snow, colours dim but alive in winter’s waning  light and dogs running happy.

We all agreed, men, boy or dog, it’s hard to be serious when January feels like spring.

Slip Slide and Away

_LME9541.jpgIt looks like something from a horror movie, but it’s just me leaving the light on so I know where to pee at night.

Still no snow in the forecast. Damn strange. I picked a helluva year to get a part time job plowing snow. Every morning regardless of the forecast I get up at 3 in the morning and look out the window for snow and to see if I should suit up for work. It really isn’t that big of a hassle, because at 3 am I’m usually due for a piss.

One night in December I got up looked outside. The snow was coming down in sheets. I grabbed a quick bite and headed out, only to find there was no snow, it was clear as a bell. Now I put my glasses on before I look outside.

Yesterday we drove behind the mountains up the creek. I parked in the snow on a slight incline. Willow and I got out for a look around. I only took a few steps before I noticed the truck rolling down the road backwards. Lisa, in the passenger seat, seatbelt still on, didn’t look impressed. I chased after the truck, jumped in and got it stopped.

I thought I’d left the truck in gear, but the warm weather had turned the roads to glare ice and the truck had started to slide. I found some chunkier snow to park on. I wasn’t impressed with the conditions.

Lisa said it was lucky I hadn’t fallen on the ice trying to stop the truck and had it run over me. I agreed, yes that was lucky. She is always looking on the bright side.

Springtime in January

rce_1769The creek bottom. Red willow and mountain tops.

Such a nice day, Willow and I decided to spend the afternoon at the river. The snow is mostly gone from the valley bottom. It hovered around 3°c. I parked myself on a log. Willow carried sticks around. Dropping them near me and then standing in the river wanting me to throw them for her, which I did. She has me trained well.

rce_1772Willow packing her stick over the tracks. She always brings one back with her.

We watched a train go by. In honour of Jim from Iowa I counted the cars, 124 and two engines. Some of the cars had snow on them from coming through the Revelstoke pass. It has been a long time since I counted cars. It was a favourite pass time when I was a kid. Sometimes, I’d lose interest mid-train. Looking back I guess my attention span wasn’t too long. Or perhaps there was just so much to do on those tracks beside the river that I couldn’t wait to get at it.

rce_1767Locomotive.

Plenty of birds. I heard a woodpecker drumming, a Kingfisher rattling, a flock of Waxwings chirping, cleaning up rose hips in the wetlands. I saw none, but a lone Water Ouzel, dipping on the opposite shore, undisturbed by Willow and our juvenile stick antics.

rce_1764My log by the river, cleverly disguised with bad focus and light leaks.

The water was clear. I looked for fish. Perhaps they are still on schedule, considering it’s only January.

rce_1756The old pontoon bridge. A long ago used drunken shortcut from The National in Radium to home in Wilmer.

If this keeps up there will be pussy willows by February. Very fine day/

rce_1760It still looks snowy up Forster.

easier to see in black and white

_lme8845

Sure as hell with an axe one day.

Clipping branches 4 feet above my height.

Turning the hatchet twice the speed of light.

Used to missing.

Almost glad of it.

early 2019

rce_1741Willow keeps an ear out.

Went out to the bar tonight. It’s been awhile. My good friend turned sixty. Hunter was kind enough to come along. The food and beer was good. Everything is expensive. It has to be. $7 for a draft $20 for an appetizer.

***

It’s a new year. Not sure what to say about it. Last year was tough. We got by and in this day and age that’s a good thing. Maybe the most we can ask for. If lucky, this year will be much the same.

rce_1733The truck not yet stuck.

***

According to the news the world is topsy-turvy. Worse than ever, they say. But I don’t think it’s changed that much. Some things have got better, some worse.

One thing that has stayed the same is our leaders are a bunch of self absorbed arseholes. But when haven’t they been?

***

rce_1748Why I’m careful where I break trail.

We have had three days of above freezing temperatures. The lake has an inch of water on the ice. The snow has receded to the benches. The deer are walking around like it’s springtime. It’s disconcerting, I expect winter to be winter. I wake up and look outside to see if snow is falling. When it isn’t, I go back to bed but not to sleep.

rce_1747

***

Our occupation with the undoings of Trump and Trudeau is puzzling. They make good news.  However they are far from us. They are certainly scoundrels. But they take away from the more dangerous scoundrels closer to home. Think about that School Superintendent that works to cut wages in the district and gives himself a raise. How about all those developers that, selflessly run for town council changing bylaws for their own benefit. 

In 2019 fuck Trump and Trudeau and all their hype. It’s only a distraction. If you want to slay dragons, do it closer to home.

***

rce_1706A small Downey chips away.

The night is clear. Orion is up ruling the dark. The temperature is dropping. I should be in the bush, knee deep in snow, Willow clearing the perimeter, with only an outward breath between me and the sky.