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

late night wondering

A meteor streaks above Isabelle’s falls on Cedar Creek.

Willow and I spent the night in the bush looking for stars. We were trying for the head of Cedar Creek but the road was washed out above the first bridge. We adjusted and headed for the top of Palliser.

It’s good to have a couple days off. To wonder the creeks and mountains does a person good. These are old familiar trails. They have changed over the years, more roads and more logging. The massive clearcuts are sad to see. I am lucky to have seen it before the big companies took over logging.

The conditions were prime for star gazing. The waning crescent moon was down most of the night, rising shortly after Venus around 5 am, leaving the majority of the night dark. That, coupled with being deep in the mountains far from any trace of artificial light set the stage for a spectacular night of looking deep into The Milky Way.

Traipsing around in the dark might not sound like fun. It’s true, you have to be careful. It helps knowing where you are and to keep things simple.

We were on the edge of The Height of the Rockies. My feet got wet almost right away in the creek. My boots are shot, cracked, without tread, with my toes just about through the front. This last pair didn’t last worth a damn.

The sky didn’t disappoint. The Milky Way was brilliant. Several meteors streaked, many were leftovers from the Perseid Meteor Shower, streaking away from it’s namesake constellation, Perseus.

A composite of several photos stitched together to show the sky from my vantage point. The camera picks up colour the eye is unable to see.

I took a few pictures knowing it was impossible to do justice to the glory of such a place on and above Earth. To see it is to believe it. After awhile I gave up put the camera down. Willow and I sat and watched, but not the same things. I watched the sky and she watched everything else.

Venus and the crescent moon.

Before long I was asleep under a 40 year old sleeping bag. We were up early to catch Venus and the Crescent moon. With light breaking we headed further up the river, watching the sun hit the tops of the mountains.

Crescent Moon near a wooded ridge.

All too soon we were due back in town. On the way back we stopped and I cut up some firewood and filled the back of the truck. It was a workout being tight grained fir and didn’t split easy.

Morning shadows recede.

Not much sleep the last few days. For Willow even less as she takes her watching more seriously than I. She sleeps on her blanket beside me. Now that I think of it I am a little tired myself.

Very fine day and night.

The mountains against summer’s blue.

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.

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.

leap

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A warm February. Not much snow. Last year we had the majority of the years moisture in February. It’s been mostly grey this year.

The Milky Way completes it’s winter spin and the brightest part of the centre rises in the early morning before light. It comes up parallel to the valley bottom and is quite a sight.

Warm Spell

_LME6666smJan 2018, Eclipse, Wilmer, BC, morning rush hour.

The woodpile is holding it’s own. Six inches of snow melting on top. The coming cold will dry it long before it needs burning.

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.