summer’s end

We’ve been told due to the economy coming to a halt due to Covid and a good portion of the work force on CERB that the economic outlook for Canada is dire. So why is it, everywhere I look, money is being spent hand over fist.

Roadwork at every turn, money and tourists flowing like never before from Alberta, government rumbling about spending on everything from increasing our social safety net (for somebody but not us, Lisa and I will be lucky to claim a pension) to plenty of make-work projects and salary increases across the board for public employees?


Covid and the impending environmental crisis have made the public think they can’t do anything to help their own communities. Why care about issues such as local governance while a pandemic will wipe humanity off the earth and if that doesn’t finish us global warming will? I, of course, am inflating the risk, but not the point people feel defeated when it comes to fighting the little daily battles that make a huge difference in our lives. Meanwhile this has been a godsend for small town politicians and businessmen who make their living feathering their nests.

Our Mayor, for instance, pushed through buying a piece of land that will be made into boat launches and tourist shops. Who will be the ultimate benefactor; our Mayor who owns the local building supplies and hardware. Of course the real estate agents on town council will do well for themselves as well. Meanwhile, no one even flinches at the conflict of interest, because how can we worry about such petty issues when the whole world could stop turning at a moments notice? Maybe Musk has an open seat on his spaceship to Mars.


I’ve noticed the School District have used pesticides on the school grounds again, disregarding a District bylaw forbidding its use. Who cares what a little poison spread around children in light of all the environmental problems we face. Besides the students are wearing masks anyway.


It is futile to try and make a difference in times like these. Your best bet is take cover and avoid the jack asses tearing it up to make a buck.


The bush at night is a sanctuary. The September smells and light are a reprise from the dreaded summer. To smell the the leaves changing, feel the coolness, hear the hidden small chirp of birds knowing more than we can imagine, the snow moving down the mountains will soon turn the trail silent. I welcome it back.


There is a tree I’ve watched since I was a child. It’s always been dying. An old fir, it hasn’t changed, part spike, part crag. The wind has turned it to driftwood at the top. Curled boughs hold green, hanging on, the base shows scars of lightening strikes. Regardless, it stands above the surrounding forest. Somehow it’s still there, standing vigil through long nights and 40 below winters, the summer sun thickening it’s bark. It leans away from the slope, making it seem even more in danger, precarious, like a slight wind might send it toppling to the creek bottom. Still it stands, it will continue to stand long after I am gone, oblivious to the triviality of any man’s problems. I take comfort in that.

La sunset

All the mischief gets done after the sun goes down. The same here as anywhere.


Willow has started barking at Geese going south. She barks and I look around like a bear could be approaching, then back at her, like what the fuck! That’s when I notice her long neck and head cocked upward, clocking the migrating geese. She looks back down at me and barks. I swear she is taking her job too seriously.


It could be the smoke in her eyes. Strange days, odd light, the birds flocking up, which is the exact opposite of humanity fucking up. Different paths for different species. Kind of funny we think we’re the intelligent ones.


The garden is dying back. More ripe tomatoes than I can remember. Still not a frost in the valley bottom. The tomatoes have been great. Like Guy Clark said, ‘only two things money can’t buy, true love and home grown tomatoes’.


Money never got me anything. Probably because I didn’t let it. That was my first mistake, my second was dismissing anyone who tried to impress with dough. Never cared how much the wine cost. Couldn’t see any sense in the big houses the Albertans build on the shores of Lake Windermere. Sticking out like a sore thumb. No wind break, apt to flooding.


My dog barks at them too. To no avail.


The smoke rolled in from the fires in Oregon and Northern California. BC’s largest forest fire is burning about 50km from us. It’s been burning for over a month, yet hasn’t generated much smoke. It is reported that most of the smoke is from the US. It is stifling, casting odd light and turning the sun red.

Reports say the end is nigh, and worse, we have done it to ourselves, but we still have time to repent. It sounds a lot like religious fervour to me. That it was something in our control. If we only voted this way or that, stopped using plastic bags, weened our way off oil and harnessed the power of wind.

All the while we live in the best time of human history, living to an age unheard of 200 years ago, where more than ever humankind has enough to eat and fresh water to drink. Where we get to contemplate our navel instead of worrying about what the predator under the rock will do to us.

We sure could do things better. It is a shame how we treat the Earth and each other. The Earth is turning. It’s had enough of our disrespect of the land and sky. But that’s only part of the story.

Shit is bad. It’s depressing, our leaders, internet and television try to make sense of it for us but they are empty idols. It will be something else, something we haven’t thought of yet, that will get us.

In the mean time lets stop racing around the bush in ATV’s, churning up the waters in motorboats, stop building second homes, tossing cigarettes out the window, letting meat go bad, blaming others, burning what we don’t need, considering we are hard done by, thinking we are bigger than the earth, killing each other over race, rioting even if deserved, a Molotov cocktail and teargas never solved nothing, either right or left can we agree we want our kids to grow up, be happy and live.

It is hard to know what is in store for us in this climate. We’re not calling the shots nor is any deity, voted in or conjured. My money is on sanity, objective thinking, clarity of purpose, ingenuity, and above all else love and humility.

Photos by Lisa and Bob


Sometimes it goes quick. Looking at pictures of our children, thinking it felt like yesterday.

Sometimes slow, watching someone you love suffer. Wishing time would speed up.

The stars keep time, from our perspective, time is valuable, I’ve seen it, in the end it becomes the only gold.


Willow and I were out, down below the bridge. Looking at stars and smelling Marmot shit. She did one I did the other. The Columbia is still up. There is a coldness in the air. Snow in the mountains and frost threatening the valley bottom.


The days are warm, pure sunshine, the plants are dying back, yellow and drooping, refusing to give up the ghost, yet know it won’t be long.


Hanging on.

Mottled tiger

I used to see these caterpillars a lot when I was a kid, so I was delighted to see one again. As a child they looked so interesting, a furry worm. When you are young you get to see a lot of interesting things.

early september

Fall smoke.

The gardens near ready to be put to bed. Dry and dust. Tomatoes red, if they are left longer they will develop tough skins. The cabbage is raging. Bigger and harder. I wish I got that way when I got older.

Made 8 jars of salsa. Was interrupted by friends coming over. We drank a few beer. I pointed out my large cabbage. They were impressed. It’s good to have friends like that.

The moon was close to Mars this morning. They stayed up even after the sun showed up. The fall ain’t coming but’s here.


I smoke marijuana every chance I get. – Allen Ginsberg

Part of being Canadian is listening to American politics. It dominates most of TV channels and internet news. It also headlines much of Canadian news sources. CBC News, for instance, often opens with what Donald Trump has been up to.  It has been said, Canadians know more about American politics than our own Canadian government and it’s goings on.

Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has done his fair share of stupid things in recent years including being caught red handed in scandal; sexual, legal and political. He even dressed in blackface with a banana down his pants. However, he has skated through it all unscathed. Of course, it helps when the leader of the free world, Donald Trump, is stealing all the headlines with his own shenanigans. It’s like having a bad brother. Just when you think you are in trouble with Mom he has done something worse and let you off the hook.

If you follow American news you know Trump’s nemesis Nancy Pelosi was caught on security footage getting her hair done in a closed salon and. . . wait for it. . . the 80 year old Speaker of the House of Representatives, didn’t have a mask. Furthermore the owner of the Salon, not the person doing her hair, was outraged that she is closed while a politician, seemingly skipped protocol to have her hair styled.

Okay, I know what you are thinking, how can this be news!


But it gets better.

Pelosi released a statement saying, she was set up. Caught red-handed getting her hair done, using her influence to have her hair washed, cut and styled without a mask. I know, I know these are serious allegations.

A set up that must have had America’s greatest evil Republican Party minds working overtime, night and day to pull off.

Now here is the punch line ( if you didn’t think it could get any funnier).

Donald Trump, as he is known to do, tweeted:

“Nancy Pelosi says she got ‘set up’ by a beauty Parlour owner. Maybe the Beauty Parlour owner should be running the House of Representatives instead of Crazy Nancy?”

Okay, all I can say is Holy Fuckin’ Shit! The whole thing is beyond funny. All the writers from Saturday Night Live, Late Night With David Letterman and Conan O’Brien couldn’t come up with anything funnier!

And it’s all coming from old people, Trump, Pelosi, Biden, Schiff, Sanders. Cripes, it’s like the Golden Girls meet the Muppets. And not the good muppets like Kermit and Grover, but those old grumpy men in the balcony.

People should consider Trump isn’t serious about his position, he enjoys driving people crazy. When he ran he probably didn’t even want to get in. Now President he is making a joke of it, getting back at all the people that laughed at him over the years. After all he has been a joke his entire life.

If he was a Canadian politician, Trump would have ran as a Rhinoceros Party candidate, promising to tear down the Rocky Mountains so Albertans could enjoy the West Coast sunsets.

I can’t imagine Trump getting back in for a second term, even going up against ‘Sleepy Slow Biden’, (Trump’s nickname for Mr. Biden not mine).

Once Trump is out I hope he writes a book saying he was never serious, it was all a joke and America had to be reminded to laugh at themselves.

This may seem flippant, but I don’t mean it that way. America under Trump has killed fewer poor people overseas in the name of justice, oil or weapons of mass destruction (opps sorry about that. . . bad intel.) than his predecessors. 

In a perfect world, perhaps, history will look back on Trump as a comic satirist in the same vein as Sacha Baron Cohen or Mark Twain.

All I know is I can’t take it all too seriously, and when it shows up on CBC it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s news.

Like Allen Ginsberg asked a long time ago:

America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.   
America is this correct? 


September 1st was Ray’s birthday. He is 102. Usually we take him out for supper. This year, with Covid part of our everyday existence it didn’t seem proper. Instead, Lisa thought we should have a parade.

Lisa put out a post on Facebook saying where and when. It was surprising how many people saw the post and commented and said they would be there (I am no technology guy but that Facebook thing might catch on 🙂 ).

Lisa got a cake. Ray and some of his friends who live in the building sat outside chatting and sharing stories (Ray has wonderful stories).

Ray was very surprised when the Invermere fire trucks drove by with many cars behind waving and holding signs wishing Ray a Happy Birthday.

Somebody said we needed the fire trucks just in case we decided to light all the candles. Ray thought that was funny.

Ray is as independent as ever. He lives on his own, making his own meals and going downtown daily to get his mail and groceries.

Earlier this summer Ray was hit by a vehicle crossing the road. It is crazy with tourists downtown in the summer. True to his nature, Ray was more concerned about the driver, a youngster in his seventies, that could lose his licence for hitting him. Ray was more concerned about the elderly gentleman’s independence than being bruised up. Of course when the word got around he had been hit, a doctor paid him a visit, other than being ‘black and blue’ on one side he was okay.

Plenty of people asked Ray what it was like to be 102, he said, ‘not much different than being 101’! 


It’s good to be out where you don’t have to worry about light. My eyes are taxed, the camera picks up colour, just like I could a long time ago, when choosing to sleep under trees instead of a bed was normal.