the news

_LME3247Willow eyeing up the carrots.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone I have a great deal of respect for. She is a business person who is smart and knows how to deal with personnel and clients. There is a lot of juggling that goes on in such situations. She handles it mostly with a smile on her face. Not much rattles her. 

I call it ‘high functioning’, being able to deal with more than one thing at a time, sometimes more than ten things at at time. Some people are really good at it, she is one. 

The other day her and I and a few others entered into a conversation. We talked about some of the recent events in Canadian news. Everyone in the conversation had an opinion except her. She said, she doesn’t listen, read or watch the news.

Now, back when I was growing up this was a form of ignorance which bothered me. In my uneducated world, newspapers and televised news was how a person educated themselves.

She explained, she didn’t want Trump and everything else in the news filling up her brain while there was more important stuff to think about and accomplish.

***

_LME3271.jpgIn the same boat.

My good friend Dave and I talk often. We have always laughed about how many children get rides to school, even when they live within walking distance. He says, it’s because we hear about a kid being snatched in some faraway place on the news and we take notice, it’s real, it’s like it happened under our nose, even though it is the safest time in Canada to be a child. We turn vigilant. It takes up space in our mind. It’s why our children have lost the pleasure of walking to school.

***

If I listened to it all, I’d pack it in. Call it. Say uncle. And sometimes I feel like it.

***

The sky is still blue. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s dry. The forest catches on fire and banks get chewed away by runoff. 

***

_LME3276.jpgTurning.

The moral of this story, if there is one, let your kids walk to school. Teach them to say, ‘fuck you’, when warranted. They are going to have plenty to be pissed about come future.

loyalty

_LME3193The thing about letting the dog run the mouse out the door is she might keep going to the next barn. The dog I mean, the mouse will always come back.

welsh

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There ain’t pictures clear enough to tell the story of the mountains. The rain is intermittent, same as the sun, both make the moment, all forgotten till next time. 

We were hell and gone, looking for glacier fed lakes and rushing creeks. A busted rock exposed ore. It was kicked aside. Down the mountain overlooking clearcuts. Hoping no one would notice.

There were magic mushrooms and large toads in the bush, twisted snags, spruce, pine and larch, hundreds of years old, somehow missing snow slides and lightening strikes.

Those rolling rocks on top of scree will take my legs someday, but not today even with rain. Today the sky is my friend, mottled with clouds, bear shit and moose tracks, threatening either storm or sun. Lucky they stayed in-between where it’s good for us on the ground.

Very fine day.

local

 

_LME2481-Pano.smJupiter peaks around. The Teapot’s down there above the ice.

I keep telling myself I can write whatever I feel like, but usually I don’t. It’s got me into trouble in the past.

I’m employable only because I can lift more than fifty pound. They keep me around because I can lift a lot more. Not that I’ve written anything but the truth. As I told our current MLA when he came after me, ‘what the fuck do people care what I think anyway’. I was trying to satiate him, but he saw a fight and an opportunity to crush a perceived enemy, not even really an enemy, but someone not sharing his message.

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These men are a dime a dozen. Everything, especially politics, has become religion where if you can’t agree you go to war.

I should have been a roofer. Putting roofs over people’s heads is an honourable trade. I would only espouse the virtues of small town politicians who championed the most roofs, overlooking the money they received in kickbacks, much more than a roofers wage. Just guys saying yes.

It is interesting to note the small time politicians who have had the biggest impact on local communities don’t live there anymore. They were happy until they were voted out or retired. After that. . . they move. The towns; each campaign they devoted their love to, and changed in there image, in the rearview mirror once they stopped collecting. Meanwhile we stay and clean up their mess.

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Hey man, I’ve seen it over and over. That’s the burden with being in any one place for a long time, I guess.

wilderness

DSC_4543Redwing Blackbird.

Lisa and I are in Calgary taking care of our beautiful grandkids while their Mom and Dad are at a wedding in Mexico.

They are such good kids. We have tried to keep them busy and on schedule to keep them from missing their parents to a minimum. So far we have been successful, but it’s only day 3 of 8. The birdhouse project I planned and expected to take all week was completed in a morning. This had a lot to do with Grandma Lisa who believes once you start a project you finish it. The kids had fun putting roofs on the hollow logs, drilling holes and using screws and nails to complete the project. Of course they got to use all the tools, including the power tools (with assistance) themselves. The houses look great and they are very proud of them.

Each morning before the kids awake I take Willow and Gemma for a walk at Fish Creek Park. It runs for miles in the creek bottom. Mostly large poplar and cottonwood trees and plenty of birds. The entrance to the part of the park we normally access is closed, so we go to another entrance further west.

The path goes down a hill to wetlands with cattails and a few ponds. Signs say the pond is storm runoff and to use caution as the pond will rise quickly during wet weather.

The Redwing Blackbirds chirp and protect their nests, the females in the rushes below. They will hunker and show off their colourful shoulders to the dogs if they feel we are getting too close. Yet they are much less afraid then their rural counterparts. They have become used to humans walking by.

DSC_4542Singing!

This evening, once the kids were in bed I went back to see if I could get some photos. Not having brought my camera I took my daughters oldest Nikon. I had planned it during the afternoon, charging the battery and found a memory card.

The first thing I noticed was the paths were much more busy in the evening. Unlike the morning, when the few people I met responded favourably to my, ‘good morning’. Almost nobody responded to my, ‘good evening’. They looked to the edge of the path.  The ones who did respond looked confused.

Perhaps they had reason. I was wearing an old plaid lumber jacket and had a scruffy Willow dog on a leash (I left Gemma home as she pulls too much for taking photos).

I had about 10 minutes of light, the birds hunkered saving their energy, their shrill song only used sparingly.

I closed my ears to the sound of the city, the hiss of the cars on the roads and the voices, everywhere, all wanting to be heard. The Blackbirds amazed me by their resilience. Would they loose their nests during the next storm when the rainwater was all funnelled through underground corridors to their pond?  I wondered if this part of strong wilderness could sustain Willow and I, both of us on a leash?

Tomorrow morning my Grandchildren will greet me with sleepy eyes, tangled hair and big smiles.

early April

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We’re going in search of birds this weekend. I have been hearing Meadowlarks. It looks like it could rain. I’ve stopped looking at the forecast. It could be good, or bad. Like most things it can go either way regardless. With luck we will see some Meadowlarks. 

****

I looked at one of my old check stubs from the School District. A hundred bucks each cheque went to CUPE 440 – the union. It went to pay and advance apathy, discontent, laziness and sleepy carelessness intent on killing inventive, heartening, truthful labour. 

There are many wonderful people stuck in the union. They toil and deliver regardless of being surrounded by the worst workers in Canada who have landed, finally, a job, after many, they could finally be their thoughtless selves. Nowadays, that’s a union’s purpose.

****  

There is no gold plated pension waiting for Lisa and I. Hopefully the body holds up to keep working. I met a fellow today recently retired. He said he spent the winter sick. I told him that’s what retirement will do for you. He laughed, but neither of us were joking. 

****

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Lisa bought some oil for Willow that is supposed to keep ticks away. It smells like oregano, so much so, I’ve thought about calling Willow ‘Spaghetti’, which would be a good name for a Long Haired Dachshund. The oil must work, because after a day in the bush, there was nary a tick on her while I picked one off my neck. Now I’m wearing the oil and we both smell like pasta sauce.

****

It’s tough to say goodbye to winter. It’s a season you can hide and hang out in. The silence, the early dark, where every star shines bright, Orion and his dog Sirius chasing the sisters Pleiades and Hyades across the frozen sky. To be on earth, watching, is both awful and the most amazing gift given.

birdsong

RCE_2431A White-Winged Crossbill makes a landing.

Willow and I were up into the mountains once work was complete.

The day with bright sunshine reached 10°c. The snow, in the valley bottom, is melting with nowhere to go. Big puddles reflect the blue sky. Soon the frost will come out of the ground and the water will be absorbed where it can do some good.

_LME0075Sun halo. Caused by ice crystals in the air.

Willow and I walked a frozen snowmobile path into the mountains. The birds, numerous, chirped in unison, but most refused to be seen. It’s hard to consider yourself a smart animal in their company, under the spruce, rock and snow while they rule from above, laughing at our plight nature inflicted.

CRW_0012A Pine Siskin, responsible for the trees going ‘zzzweeeet’!

Once off the path I sunk up to my knee. I remembered being young, setting off in the morning in the cold, before the sun cleared the mountains, walking easy on top of the snow, only to find the same snow soft once the afternoon took over, and having to slog back slowly home, taking twice the time for the same distance.

RCE_2442.jpgColour among the buds.

I kept the windows open on the ride home listening for song.

CRW_0015A couple of Crossbills commission last years’ copious cone crop.

Very fine morning.