thank dog

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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.

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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.

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pussywillows

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The pussywillows showed up on time. . . early. This has been more of a traditional winter. Snow and low cloud obscuring the stars.

CRW_0008A few peaks are shedding the clouds.

CRW_0006One eye on the predator and one on the prey.

kootenay gothic

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Sunflowers

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.

_LME3667Weed

Headed high into the bush, behind the old mountain, that still holds mystery to this old fool.

_LME3674Hound

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.

_LME3663Peas

early November

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They say time compresses. In the right state, at the right time you can hear the paddle wheelers stuck in the salmon flats trying to make the last 400 yards to Lake Windermere.

It’s whoops and yells and calls for more firewood.

The church bells ring a valley over. Signalling time for the lonely, looking for hides, to return to the cabin.

There’s still the ones who went off the pontoon bridge, a couple every year, yelling ‘shit’, before drowning in 6ft of muddy water, trapped in a tangle of heavy metal, the radio still on static.

Put an ear to the track, can you hear the spikes being driven, the dynamite going off ahead clearing the way? Getting ties from the travelling mill, cutting the biggest and easiest.

It’s there somewhere.

Time that is.

 

 

fishing

RCE_3375.jpgLisa & Scarlett.

Hope is something you have if you love. It can’t be any other way. The world is vast, changing all the time, the end of the world comes suddenly and everyday for so many, as it will for all of us.

RCE_3383Free range.

That’s the end we’re supposed to be afraid of. It’s the gift that makes the fear disappear.

RCE_3496As good as it gets.

You don’t get many days fishing in September. To waste them is a sin.

RCE_3467Wild child.

The magic in dragonflies at water’s edge, or a daytime moon guaranteeing the fish will bite.

RCE_3585Dressing the catch for supper.

late June

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

slinkSlinky. 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.

 

Victoria Day Weekend

RCE_9876smYear old mule deer.

May 24th weekend was always when we took our first swim in the lake. It seemed like it was always hot.

Maddy, Hunter and Bree came out for the weekend. It was wonderful to see them.

Now that our children are getting a ‘leg up’ they are able to come home more often, which pleases Lisa and I. Sometimes they talk about leaving the city and moving back to the valley. They cherish their upbringing and want to give the same to their children.

But it’s not that easy. There are no jobs here. The ones that are available pay minimum wage and last only a season.

Lisa and I have continued to live here by working lots of different jobs and plenty of hours. We have done just about everything to keep our heads above water.

The tourists arrived in force this weekend. We tried to stay close to home. Sirens went off all weekend. The roads get clogged and speed up. I was lucky to learn to drive when the roads were not as busy.

Willow’s hair is loosening. Soon she can be hand stripped.

RCE_9867Eying up the garden.

Some kids that have moved away call this the ghetto. I guess, because there is nothing here for them. And because it can be brutal. But, also beautiful.

The garden is in, tomatoes and all. Willow barks at everything unfamiliar, which is more on a long weekend. Our children hug us when they say goodbye. One day we will be a burden. They will take turns coming home to help out and see how we are doing. I hope, like my Mother and Father did, we can give them something in exchange.

As I get older, I see things change, but don’t think much about it because I hold onto my old ways. Before long it becomes undeniable. The world has changed but I haven’t.

It sounds like something not to be proud of, ’till you realize it’s what makes bullets bounce off your chest.

Tomorrow we will be a day behind.