A bunch of coulees, bluffs, creek bottoms, waterfalls and draws, trees scattered like match sticks hither and yon. Fire lay it bare, exposing the mountains for what they are; slides, rock, coves, caves, ridge and a bunch of hiding spots – just ask the grizzlies and goats.
You don’t want to be lost in it. That’s for sure. It’s better to stay on top then be wondering in the dark, not a star in the sky, only the dim moon shining through falling snow, silver here and there where the water shows.
Even best instincts aren’t enough. Nothing coming good or bad. The fire and deep snow doesn’t care, nor does the burnt snag falling to the forest floor give a damn if it’s heard or not.
This perch allows sights to the south. There is a bluff in my way obscuring the north. That’s good for now, the only thing coming from the north is wind and cold, bad weather. It’s a mistake to keep them in our face, especially when sneaking up. It’s nature after all, not wanting our scent to announce our entrance.
The garden always grows after a thunder storm. The rain that falls beside lightning is special. Full of nitrogen science says. I figure it comes from the sky in a hellacious crash and that’s got to be good.
The shed provided shelter until the rain stopped. Luckily I’d hid a couple beer in there for a rainy day. They were just as I like them; aged to perfection, woodshed warm and dying to be drank.
It’s the country. The bush in April. When you can get stuck tighter than a fiddler’s fart in mud or snow. The sky turning bruised in evening. The Columbia running before and after. Turning over in winter. There is not much you can have faith in, but the sky and river and creek behind Swansea, the Swans heading north and the Meadowlarks arriving. They continue to keep their promises.
The truck was hip hopping. He had escaped the ruck. It was all mud, dog barks and volume on the radio. He had pushed off.
He grabbed a long leggy one from the floor boards. Cracked the tab and took a long swig.
He held on above Horsethief, heading towards snags. Catching a break, here and there, getting a glimpse of an Eagle holding steady.
It was muddy and he tried to keep it out of the ruts. The leggy ones kept coming and he didn’t see a soul. He made the burn, watched the river, saw what the wind had done.
It fell dark. He ran blind towards the river trying to get closer to the melting ice and rushing water. Through bush and snow. Over deadfalls.
In the morning, shaking like a cat shitting razor-blades, the pups led him back. He hoped for one more forgotten long leggy one. The way back was always worse than the going. He had pushed off, but not hard enough.
A spritz of rain all day long, never cold enough to turn to snow. Maybe overnight.
The woodpile is stocked but badly piled. Never two pieces sawed the same length. Or chopped the same width. Ununiform, a crooked fence line, lots of space between blocks. Pine mixed with fir, tamarack, birch, depending on winter temperatures. It’s good to have options.
Headed high into the bush, behind the old mountain, that still holds mystery to this old fool.
Tested the spring, cut cedar boughs. The dog chased sticks and brought them back. It’s good to be god.
It’s dark early. The cold is coming. Winter. The meat can stay outside, hanging in the shed overhead or stashed, frozen underground. Prepared, even down a quart, hiding behind a crooked windbreak, it’s the best time to be alive.
There is only two things to do on Canada Day weekend. You can either get out of town, deep into the bush, or stay hunkered down at home, don’t even try to go out and get a coffee, or beer or groceries or anything else. All the locals know it. The area is taken over by revellers from the city. We’re told we need them. I certainly can’t blame them for trying to escape the city. Most have manners, but some are hell bent on partying and tearing the shit out of the countryside and waterways. The latter all have big toys, four wheel drives, ATV’s and loud motorboats. The business people jack up the prices on everything from a loaf of bread to a litre of gas. This is the good time, they say.
We have elected to stay hunkered down. The garden needs weeding. Lisa is going to pickle the garlic scapes. I am looking forward to cracking a jar in the winter. They are going to be good. So good I probably won’t be able to stand myself.
Willow will miss the bush this weekend but she will have plenty to bark about around here. Yesterday, she caught a young bird in the garden. She killed it, of course. Once I clued in to what was going on I stopped her from eating the small bird. She wasn’t happy with me. My old Wire-Haired, Slinky, was a master hunter, unlike rodents birds never agreed with her upsetting her stomach until she purged herself and vomited feathers. Willow is much more delicate than Slinky so I didn’t want to take a chance. There is nothing worse waking up to the sound of a dog trying to get something up.
Thinking of Slinky, this was her least favourite weekend. All the Canada Day fireworks scared her. We would try to spend most of these weekends in the bush, so she wouldn’t have to put up with it. Willow on the other hand can sleep through thunderstorms and fireworks.
Slinky. Scraped or not never slowed down.
A good rain today. The garden is coming. I got the foot long grass mowed before the skies opened up. I am hoping all the moisture will be good for the huckleberry crop. Cooper loves huckleberry jam and he is depending on me.