Toby Creek

RCE_4985It doesn’t look like much, but Toby Creek used to flood the entire business district of the Valley. With plenty of bulldozers it’s path was changed to a less harmful route. I still look for signs of the delta it once cut running into Windermere Lake and the Columbia, instead of the gravel pit it runs through now.

It will be an odd Easter weekend. All of our kids will be staying put, isolating in their houses in Calgary. Lisa and I will miss them. Of course, we understand the necessity of social distancing. We are planning a group Facetime session. We have a turkey in the freezer that we plan on cooking. It should keep us fed for awhile. 

All the talk about our social responsibility and the importance of staying home still hasn’t sunk in for many Albertans as they clamour into the valley. Entitlement pure and simple. Many have gone on line to remind us they built our area, including our small hospital, and how we would be nothing without them. It’s not surprising – I’ve heard it all my life. Meanwhile my children stay away from their home, knowing this is bigger then them. We miss them but are proud of their resolve.

I was disheartened by Prime Minister Trudeau’s address today. He didn’t pull any punches, delivering news of mass unemployment, how many infections and deaths Canada can expect, also stating how long we may have to endure the isolation and social distancing measures. It was sobering.

British Columbia has done a good job and been lucky at flattening the curve. Part of that is we had a later school spring break than other provinces. 

Hand dug about half the garden. Transferred the seedlings into pots. Some things are still normal.

Spring

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Slept in and had the moon damn near go down without my witness. Dug part of the garden, mixing in some manure. The seedlings are coming up and giving me anxiety, because I hate caring for young plants. If I had my way I would just buy the plants I need. I feel sorry for the seeds that fall into my hands.

Once the moon was down the sun was shining on the western mountains. It would be so much easier if everything was opposite. Like today. The moon goes down and the sun comes up. Of course it doesn’t work that way most of the time.

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Once the moon was down a Cooper’s Hawk landed above. I think Willow and the bird were working in cohoots. Willow was ripping open rotten logs looking for mice. Almost all were skedaddling out, oblivious to Willow, but obvious to the hawk.

Damn saddened by the passing of John Prine. He sure has given me some good times. I used to play him all the time driving the backroads with a beer in my hand.

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.

/

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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we got history

_LME4923.smBird’s Eye.

It’s quiet. Just like I remember it. Tough to get over the eery part though. We’re so used to the valley full of tourists. Second home owners coming out to their big homes, investments they say. Or cabins; now that’s a joke.

_LME4916.smBruce Street. Downtown Invermere, BC  Canada.

Do I miss them? My job for the last few years depends on them. Still, to see the downtown deserted, it’s like turning back time. I can see my brother and I running through those streets jumping and touching the swinging signs, falling off bicycles, busted for smoking pot that couldn’t get an astronaut high. Drinking was our thing. It delivered.

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Maurice’s Food Basket. Mom would have drove through the front window, if it weren’t for a telephone pole right out front. My best friend, a couple years older than me, lived up top. He busted me open with a two-by-four. I just about cut his head off when I threw an old licence plate at him. I quit hanging around with him when he reached puberty. He wanted me to play with his cock. He said, pretend it’s a gear shift. I knew he wasn’t going to pretend he was a car.

After this is over, are we going to go back to the way things were? Getting on planes? Pretending we are explorers in foreign countries that see us as tourists. Are we going to burn gasoline tearing up the backcountry? Going where we figure. Are the art shops going to make a living selling egg carton caterpillars?

_LME4936.smThe Mercantile. Lisa and I used to pick out our school clothes without our parents present. All we had to do was sign for them. Our parents would settle it later.

It’s no different now then then. We don’t now what we are fighting for or against. Hopefully history spares our town.

_LME4928.smThe Toby Theatre and Cenotaph. Who has grown up here and not taken a drink or smoked a joint at the Cenotaph, it’s a right of passage, goddammit! And the Toby where I watched whatever was showing, everything from True Grit to Linda Lovelace for President. I even threw up on the floor, in the lobby, when my brother gave me too many Bugles.  I can still remember how good it felt eating them and how bad the aftermath looked. I’m still not sure who had to clean that up.

Early April

RCE_4940A Western Meadowlark, the first of the season, cheers on spring.

Fresh snow the last couple mornings. It is sure to green things up as it melts in the afternoon. Plenty of snow in the mountains keeping us along the lower reaches. It will feel good to get in the high country where the rocks reach the sky, ’till then we will take it one step at a time.

RCE_4934Willow keeps an ear and eye out for rodents busy under the snow. 

Yet to see a woodtick, yet they are sure to be around. Lisa checks Willow over after every outing.

RCE_4951The buds will soon overtake the ice.

The garden is starting to call. The frost is still about eight inches down. It will need digging when the pitch fork goes tine deep. Since we have extra time these days there will be no excuse to get lettuce, beets, carrots and peas in early.

RCE_4909Composted manure waiting to be spread on the garden.

The cannabis and tomatoes have been started inside. There are plenty of extras as they may come in handy as currency during these strange days. One Durban Poison plant equals ten pounds of asparagus. It all depends on what people have extra.

_LME4906Spent part of the day in the studio cutting paper for Lisa to print.

The birds were active in the fresh snow, calling to one another, showing off, getting ready to pair off and nest. It was good to see them. Sometimes you get lucky.

 

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.

late march

RCE_4780Taking a turn at the look out.

It’s been trying and we haven’t been locked up like some.

We hiked the east side of Columbia Lake. Where the mighty river starts. I’ve never seen where the Columbia turns huge before it spills into the Pacific. Where Salmon run before being turned back by hydro-electric dams. I prefer it up here in the hills.

RCE_4755Pictograph from another time.

The frost is below six inches of soil. Another week and the ground can be worked. I’ve started a few seeds inside. I worry for them as I am a lazy gardener, preferring plants outside.

RCE_4817Getting ready for war.

Most people I know have lost their jobs. Some small businesses may never reopen. It’s always close to the vest even in the best of times.

RCE_4812If only we could read.

We scrambled up into the rocks to an ancient cave where we couldn’t discern the writing. Where battles were recorded. Where people watched loved ones stolen or killed. Where Eagles swooped above goats, knocking newborn kids off ledges to jagged rocks below.

RCE_4770If we had a choice to come back.

The rhubarb is showing. It will be welcome.

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