smoke

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

summer nights

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It feels good to wonder around with Lisa on a summer night. Everything going on in the sky, planets moving, the Milky Way, the Tail of Scorpius just above the mountains, comets and satellites.

The mosquitoes were ferocious. Willow riled up some deer. Elk lined the highway. Lisa and I both looked for eyes in the ditch far ahead. We can’t see the way we used to, so go slow now.

There was a time I used to dive off docks and rocks in the pitch black with faith there would be water below me. In summer nights the water is warmer than air. I can still see you wade in. Lisa made her own bikinis. There was fish down there that swirled around us.

It never really gets dark in summer.

Comet

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Was up early to try to get a photo of Comet NEOWISE. It is in the northeast before dawn. I spotted it a few mornings ago and even got a few photos, however without a tripod they were a little fuzzy. This morning Willow and I prepared with tripod and flashlight to check camera settings.

We headed for the banks above Lake Windermere. It was my hope to get the lake in the foreground. Comet NEOWISE was easy to locate with the naked eye. I needed binoculars a few mornings previous. Like certain stars and constellations once you find them your eye is drawn to them.

It’s a real treat to see comets. NEOWISE will remain visible for a while as it heads back towards the outer solar system. Estimated time to make a return journey 6800 years. Pretty lucky for Willow and I to be standing there when we were.

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love

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The Lyrids are flying. Tomorrow they will peak. Weather permitting Lisa and I will be out fishing for them.

We went out tonight to test the waters. As soon as the coffee was made the clouds rolled in, we went out just the same.

I am easily discouraged these days; clouds, moon interfering. I long for dark skies with starlight so bright it casts shadows, the treetops tangled in a bottomless sky and the rivers running silver.

Souls, like bats, fly so close they take my breath when I duck my head.

Lisa pushes me until I see the beauty.

trouble down below

_LME4835-smThe spring Milky Way over a frozen lake.

This isolating, quarantining, whatever you want to call it is going to kill me. Lisa and I have been looking at each other with tiger eyes. Luckily she knows how to run away from me. I shaved my beard, that made Lisa happy. Lisa says I have Ron Duguay hair and Bobby Clark’s smile, her two favourite hockey players growing up. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If it means me not putting my teeth in so be it.

The valley bottom is all upset, yet the sky still marks time and reminds us where we stand. I feel comfort in that.

Once this is all over, I’m going to get in shape so I can catch Lisa anytime I want. Till then, fortunately, she pretends to trip up once and awhile.

worm moon

moon risesmGoodness me! Who took a bite out of the Moon!

Lisa and I headed for Brewer Ridge to watch the Full Moon rise over the valley.

The Moon always seems to take it’s time rising, especially when it’s cold. Lisa and I took pictures of the mountains until the light ran out. We admired bright Venus above and at our backs. Orion unveiled in the darkness along with the Twins of Gemini, Pleiades appeared just before the Moon.

CRW_0006-Pano.smThe last of the days light on the eastern slopes.

At last the few whispy clouds in the east became illuminated and the Moon peeked out behind the rocky crags.

RCE_4737The Moon picks a spot to rise along the ridge.

looking for eagles

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Not a lot of snow but enough to shovel each day. We went looking for eagles after work in the last of the light. There was only a lone Magpie picking at the remains left over from the Eagles. How I enjoyed watching these animals when I was a youngster. Their flash and gregarious call. Flying from branch to branch above the nest. Under the nest were half eaten fish, small bones, and pieces of birds; ducks by the looks of it. It must be good to be an Eagle. Willow took advantage, rolling on anything that smelled, mostly fish, but carried a ducks wingspan for a length, before I scolded, and demanded she dropped it. She gets sick on feathers. Those Eagles like to spread the love, discounting fish, rodents and any bird smaller than them, of course.

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Venus and Saturn sat above the mountain at dusk. Venus is unmistakeable in evening or dawn either east or west. It’s hard not to be roused by it’s sight, hanging above the ridges against a not yet dark sky.

Lisa gave Willow a bath when we arrived home.

Very fine day,

thin ice

_LME4259-PanosmThe River of Souls.

Willow and I followed the road west. It was twisted and busy. Folks heading to the resort in the mountains. When we got to the resort we kept going. Trying to put the light behind us in an attempt to get realigned with the stars.

There was very little snow even at higher elevations, much more on the east side of the valley where we feel more comfortable. Probably could have gone straight to Jumbo. I ain’t afraid of ghosts, it’s the living that scare the shit out of me. I was afraid to see Oberti, Morrow, Deck and Bergenske having a wiener roast talking over how they can keep milking it.

_LME4231-PanosmPleiades in the creek bottom.

It was all the jets going over that reminded me of those jokers. I hate jets, blinking across the sky, interrupting the stars, it pisses me off we even thought of such a way of transportation. Maybe it’s the abuse of such an invention that bothers me. It’s either flying fattened business people across the globe or the above mentioned dipshits to their desired destinations, where they consider themselves explorers, but the locals know they are only annoying tourists.

It was tempting to turn up Delphine. Even in summer the road quickly turns to shit.

But I ain’t young. -16°c feels cold in these early days of winter. I’m getting older and running off the road and walking out doesn’t appeal to me.

The snow will be deeper in no time, cutting off the bush.  Best to make hay while the sun shines.

story time again

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Bishop’s neighbour was a recluse and the most social guy he knew – both. He stayed up all night and hid out in the day behind pulled curtains. He was a drunkard, and a womanizer, drug addict, miscreant, he could be obstinate and a genuine prick on the wrong day, even with Bishop. In the same week he could be well dressed, connected, a phone to his ear, rounding up business and a tee-time. They lived across from each other in the park going on thirty years.

They both agreed on tourists and condos, they were both breast men, but as they grew older they more appreciated a quick mind, smiling eyes. Neither said so each other or anyone else for that matter. Sometimes, like a tomato plant touched with frost, his neighbour tried harder, developing fruit too quickly with the women he encountered. They both were guilty of this foolishness, but they only recognized the fault in each other.

His nieghbour installed a hot tub in the front yard for just this purpose. It was sunk into the ground. It wasn’t fenced. Bishop fell into one night after running out of Rye, drunk and crossing the street looking for reserves. They say a person can drown in a cup of water. Bishop found that out. He was rescued, while flaying his arms, pumping his legs searching for bottom, taking on chlorine. His neighbour pulled him out by the collar of his jacket. Said, “What the fuck you goin’ for a swim at this hour?”

Once, in summer, he set up a pool table beside the hot tub. It ran down hill from southeast to northwest. If you had to shoot from due south, there was no way to avoid it, at least one foot was in the hot tub. This made him laugh saying, “About time you got your feet wet.”

The first of winter can do things to people. Bishop drove his truck off the road, was stuck in the bush for two days, building fires as close to the truck as he dared. Thawing ice and snow and throwing ashes under the wheels. He was lucky to get out before Spring.

Tonight, Bishop’s nieghbour walked outside, yelled something to the sky. Continued walking with a hand gun at his side. Fully outside, he pointed the gun in the air and fired several shoots. On the last shot, the ice broke, and he fell into his frozen hot tub.

Bishop yelled across, “What the fuck you goin’ for a swim at this hour?”

He pushed the broken ice aside. Fired another round into the sky. Booked it like a wet marmot inside. The police drove by about fifteen minutes later, slow with their side lights on.

This was the first sure sign of winter – the ice was thin, somebody has to test it before it hardens.

He’d check on his nieghbour come morning. They were both due to go into hibernation.

new moon

_LME3701Backroads.

It’s been awhile. The stars are up there still. The old moon this morning was a reminder of dark skies, the best time to wonder around. 

So off we went.

_LME3698Andromeda.

Plenty of cloud, not the best conditions. Willow and I headed higher without further success. We walked the old road trying to register bearings. Taurus, up in the valley bottom, was down in the mountains. Cassiopeia was left, showing the way to Andromeda. Despite the weather, or the week, or the news, or our predicament, distance became irrelevant.

That happens when you are where you belong.

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