warm spell

that damn moon

+ 5 all day. melt coming off the roof. clouds gathering on the shoulder of mountains. walking in puddles. still warm air. feeling good.

Dec. 6th

On December 5th the clouds cleared. Lisa and I had our grandchildren, Scarlett and Cooper, over for supper. While we got a fire going, picking kindling and blocks of timber I pointed out Venus, Saturn and Jupiter in the brilliant sky.

Venus, the brightest, was about to go down, Saturn was hard to see in the twilight and Jupiter, the highest, ruled by its position high in the sky.

The next day we awoke to snow. The clouds took over the sky. Luckily, before the end of the day they lifted. Cooper and I were shovelling snow. I pointed out a young moon in the still daylight. Cooper acknowledged it said, “There’s Venus above.”

I had to squint to see it. Cooper has good young eyes. It made me proud he knew the name of that point of light.

Being a grandfather is nice. When I was a parent I tried my best but did a lot of things wrong. I worried all the time for one. Worked too long and thought being a good father was holding the line.

Now, I don’t worry. Kelsie and Tom are wonderful parents. I’m a kid again, but with the knowledge and eccentricities of an old man. I get to teach Cooper and Scarlett about the garden, the stars in the sky and what firewood burns best for Grandma. If that ain’t blessed I don’t know what is.

Thanksgiving

The creek behind Swansea.

The backside of Swansea was wet this morning with snow falling at higher elevations.

It was a good weekend with our kids. Maddy, Hunter and Bree came in from Calgary. With Kelsie, Tom, Cooper and Scarlett, now living here, it made for a lively house. Hunter and Maddy even argued about which beds they were to sleep in.

Thanksgiving has always meant a lot to Lisa and I. Now even more so. It is a wonderful time of year and with the garden coming in there is always plenty to go around.

The road we can’t seem to tire of.

When I was younger we would hunt and fish on this weekend. My Dad and brother Ron would fish below Wilder’s Old Camp. They were good fishermen while I seemed to always be untangling some birds nest.

It has been a difficult time this past week, but with everyone around it has made it better.

We are having a turkey at Tom and Kelsie’s tonight. Our contribution will be a bottle of Chardonnay from Sonoma. . . and the carrots, potatoes, beets and turnip, but I don’t think Lisa and I can solely claim those as a donation, because Cooper and Scarlett helped me dig them.

Maddy and I. Photo by Kelsie.

Early September

Beside the river.

Stepped out the other morning, along with Willow. From the step Orion was up, Sirus still down, the Twins were overhead, a crescent waning moon with earth glow if I squinted and a streaking falling star went right down the middle. What are the chances. It pointed back to Perseus. One left over maybe. It could only be a good day after that.

***

The Cedar Waxwings are back, eating the shrinking berries. They are careless birds and fly into windows. I put them on the window sill away from predators. Sometimes they revive themselves and fly away and sometimes they die. Willow is interested either way regardless of scold.

***

This is the last long weekend of summer. The tourists have been unrelenting to the glee of our business community and small time politicians. The rest of the people, the people on the front lines are done with them. Even the gift of earning minimum wage isn’t enough to satiate the masses. There is an aggressiveness in this year’s tourists I haven’t seen before. Things are changing. Alberta is leaderless and searching, the wealth and decadence is slipping, some executives can’t buy second homes on the lake with their yearly bonus. Times are tough. Still they want to get it all in while they can, that’s the hurry, that’s the panic and aggression. It’s contagious, running from the top down.

Two of my coworkers were assaulted, last week, by guests, in a resort that charges $400 a night.

***

September is a wonderful month. There is a chill in the air. The skies have cleared of smoke. The sun is tilted in such a way to light the mountain tops in morning and before bed. Then there are those winter stars.

Falling Star

This photo from the night of the Perseids shows Taurus, Pleiades and Perseus. It also has a few stars belonging to the bow of Orion. The summer stars are surrendering the sky to the winter cosmos.

The two faint ‘scratches’ in the sky are satellites. It is difficult to get photos of the night sky without satellites showing up somewhere in the frame. Very different from when I was a kid and I would search for them among the stars, squinting to detect movement. I have read, in the future the majority of ‘stars’ in the night sky will be in motion, making them not stars at all, but satellites.

The larger streak is a meteor. Although difficult to detect in this small version of the photo, green can be seen in the streak at the beginning and end. This colour is often detected as the small grain of metal, dust from a long ago comet enters our atmosphere and burns up. I always feel lucky to see this natural phenomenon.

Catch a Falling Star

Lisa and I drove the backroads we were so familiar with when we were younger. There is a lot more roads now. We managed to find our way to our old spot. Willow ran this way and that, even going for a swim in the starlight. The Meteors were falling all around. To see it is to believe.

Perseids

A Perseid Meteor or an Iridium flare.

Wasn’t sure if I could see through the smoke, but gave it a try. The Perseids are flying. Willow and I stumbled through the bush at 3 inn the morning trying to catch a glimpse. Not the best conditions, but you’ll never catch a fish if you don’t put a line in the water.

I saw satellites. I have a feeling we will be seeing more and more of them as space becomes commercialized under the influence of Earth’s egotistical billionaires like Musk, Branson and Bezos.

On the other hand the Perseids were hard to come by. True I could be a night early, still a bite would have been nice.

I set the camera to open for 30 seconds every 32 seconds and aimed it at Cassiopea. Willow and I wondered and went for a nap in the truck. It was a poor effort, but we were just practicing for tonight.

Eclipse

The Super Flower Moon in partial eclipse.

Plenty of rain lately. I didn’t hold out much hope for seeing this mornings lunar eclipse. Still, what’s the harm in trying. You don’t catch any fish without putting the line in the water. Willow and I were up early and headed for a high piece of ground, knowing the moon would be close to the western horizon. We caught a glimpse in a crack in the clouds just before the moon went down.

Solar wind

Greens and purple auroras give way to approaching dawn.

Lisa called me to look at the Northern Lights at around midnight. They were spiking and visible from within town. Having been asleep for a couple hours I didn’t feel much like going out to take photos.

About 3 am I had a change of heart and Willow and I packed up the camera and headed for the dark part of Lake Windermere.

The Milky Way arches across the sky. The light of Invermere, BC can be seen to the left of the frame.

The auroras had died down yet were still visible in the northeast as a stream of solar wind hit Earth’s magnetic field.

Geese, ducks, coyotes and hooting owls provided a fitting soundtrack to the clear moonless morning. It felt good to be out looking up. Very fine start to the day.

fever

The lights of Invermere across Lake Windermere.

Cleaned up the wood pile. We have about as much firewood as we started with before winter, due to Lisa and I getting a few loads in December and January.

We’ve been burning it even in spring when the weather turns rainy and cold. We are rich with firewood. It feels good.

***

I drove a good sliver into my hand the other day. Of course my hands have been softened by the gallons of hand sanitizer I apply every time entering a building. At least it won’t become infected.

***

In my dream last night I was walking behind a women with hairy legs, strangely aroused, I wondered if she had hairy armpits too.

The winter stars, Betelgeuse in it’s diminished state, star clusters Hyades and the Beehive on either side of the page. The big dog, front and centre, twinkling in the muck.

It didn’t seem like a hard winter. The dry sunflowers still have a few seeds. I find them hidden in the woodpile where the bark was left on the fir. The Chickadees show up to take them out the trees and between shingles on the shed. They planned well and came out chirping on the other end. Sometimes they’re not so lucky. A reminder of sorts. No matter how much we plan we’ll all have that bad winter one of these days.

***

Winter’s on it’s way out. Orion’s still up there after dark, but it won’t last. The extra light, before the turning, will take care of it faster than should be allowed.