ghosts

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There are ghosts everywhere. In the trees and clouds, between mountains, deep in the holler, along the coolies beside the creek, overgrown tangled in willow, littered with deadfalls: each and every overhead cliff, an ancient snag ready and able to hang the guilty.

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Not that I believe in them. Ghosts I mean.

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Most are wondering around. Possibly lost. They don’t say much. Nor me back to them. A courteous nod is about it. Most of the times they are surprised, as I, to have run into each other.

Long ago they’d nudge me awake. My mother used to want to know what they were wearing. I used to be afraid at first. I’d listen to the radio until I was asleep. She would ask, was he wearing an army uniform, a plaid shirt, a tam? Don’t be afraid she’d say. They’re not here to hurt you.

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They’re here to tell you something, she’d say.

I didn’t believe.

The ghosts kept appearing, in the creek bottoms. At night they were among the stars. I’d feel them go through me, in a rush, taking my breath into the sky above the crags.

We got used to each other. They don’t talk, but sometimes I will. I tell them I don’t believe. Then tell them the creek is low, the snow will be early, there is a moose in the upper basin that comes out in the morning to walk the slough, it better keep it’s head down until the end of hunting season.

Animals curve where they shouldn’t. Same as people. Ghosts blend in. Once you see them you will always see them. 

If you believe in that stuff.

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postcard

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We always saved something for cold harvest. We chipped carrots out of frozen ground. Chewed on seeds come winter. He thought the dill ones could hide whiskey breath from his mother. This on account the birds wouldn’t eat them. He tried to explain it one day, I didn’t get it. He was wrong; about dill masking the smell of whiskey though. We saw his mother chase him out of the house after he’d eaten a bushel of them. He was mostly wrong most of the time. But sometimes he could be dead on. Thats why we liked him, I guess.

it’s story time again

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he blurted it out.

we were talking
about mines
fishing or
forest fires
shit i can’t
remember
exactly
and then
he pipes up
out of nowhere.

celery
makes you
shoot
a bigger
load.

he s about
twenty five
the youngest
in the crew
coming
off a
bad break up
with
a seventeen
year old.

celery
i said
yup he says
it’s what the
porn stars use.

fishing
mining and
stripping logs
were
forgotten.

ole’ denny
weighed in
can it increase
your distance
he was laughing
bits of
sandwich
taking
flight
of his lips.

doctor says my
prostate is
smooth and about
the right
size for
a man my age
but when i wank
it s like stepping
on the end of a
toothpaste tube.

the youngster
was digging in
his lunch kit
for an energy bar.

don’t know about that
he said
just know
eat a bunch of
celery
the night before.

ole’ denny
had sausage
gouda on
buttered bread
and a tin of
beans.

me
a turkey leg
some dressing
and coffee.

next day
ole’ denny was
using a
celery stick
for a spoon
in his beans.

he said
it s not
something
that comes
natural
you have to
work
up to it.

getting on

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in this world
you get teeth knocked out
for no reason
or they go bad as you get old
your dink gets shorter
your balls hang lower
the cold makes your chin quiver
you start thinking
it s a young man s world
your joints swell
and give you grief
especially when the
sky spells rain
or in dry weather
the dog comes through
the hole in the screen
after rolling in something
it s a lot further down
to your laces
and a lot less further
down to everything else
girls smile at you because
you remind them of their
dear old dead dad
people ask you for advice
say you look wise
with florescent lighting
on white whiskers
adorning your jowls
everything s been broke
at least once before
what s to do
the coffee ain t hot
the beer s woodshed warm
and somewhere along the line
whiskey started upsetting
your stomach.

signs of spring

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Planted peas, lettuce, beets, radish and carrots today. Tomorrow, time permitting, I’ll get the onions and spuds in. The challenge is leaving room for the warm weather vegetables like tomatoes, beans and squash.

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An article on CBC said Canada gives $65 million in aid to war torn Yemen, while we sell $284 million in military goods, weapons, bombs, etc to countries using them against Yeman. The article said, it’s kind of like partially paying for the crutches after you break someones legs. 

The garden looks good. Tons of worms in every fork full. The fall garlic is up. I noticed a spot where one did not come up. I dug around. Sure enough I had planted it bottom side up. It was growing downward. I flipped it. I think it will be fine.

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We like to be smug in Canada about our civility and place in the world.

Willow and I got higher on the mountain than we’ve been since the end of November. It rained while the sun shone. Plenty of snow higher yet.

I talked to a man who was battling cancer. He said he stopped paying taxes. He did some work for me. Said, the government spends money at every turn, including paying themselves first, while he scrambles just to feed himself. The government froze his bank accounts. I paid him in cash. I noticed he charged me GST. I considered it a tip.

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It’s all alive now. Not that it wasn’t before. The trees are budding. The creeks are flowing high, muddy, moving rocks and wood. The birds are noisy, flying into each other. They have a courtship I can’t understand but envy none the less.

We walked the road less taken of the three. Looking for dead fir. Marvelled at the easy going. Saw a pile of bear scat. Willow stayed close. Walked until the snow made our feet wet. Walked until we could hear the melt under foot and in the distance.

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There are spirits in the trees. I can’t see or hear them, but I know they’re there. There’s squirrels and grouse, bears and elk. Perhaps it’s the roots buried only inches under my feet. Spruce, pine and fir as deep as they are high.

They may as well be stars.

getting on i guess

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i wipe my eyes with the same hand holding my glasses.

i pee in the middle of the night and keep the seat up because i know i ll pee again before morning.

there is no longer need to exclaim.

time does go by faster.

do you have bumps behind your ears? skin tags and brown spots in spots you never knew you had? asking for a friend.

Jumped

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Chased a Kingfisher around the sloughs. It was having fun with me. I’d get the camera to my eye and it would launch into the sky a chatter and waving. It came back when I turned my back, trying to get my attention. I am old enough not to mind being made fun of.

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A herd of Goldeneyes took to the sky when we crested the hill after the tracks. It was Willow’s fault this time. She considers the shore and river her own. I tell her she is too small to think so, but she doesn’t listen to sense; never has. I’m guilty too. It’s a miracle, sometimes to our detriment, we get to hang onto our beliefs. So far the coyotes have been kind enough to let us continue to lie to ourselves.

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A Bald Eagle stood for us. Even turned it’s head away, not concerned, looking to the slough in the west. It whistled to it’s mate hidden in the tangle. They will be picking chicks off the water soon. Diving for newborn lambs on the crags above the river. Some will loose their balance. The smell of blood on the rocks below will bring Magpies, Crows, Ravens, the Wolves will get a whiff, by then the Eagles will be back in the trees, nesting.

nest

Willow is much more comfortable with all this than I. She raises a ruckus over the littlest thing and cares naught over swimming the river that rises quick once the sun reaches midday.

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Sometimes it makes me wonder who’s in charge. The Big Dipper is pouring by midnight. The Coyotes yip yip at the waxing moon. The first of the owls who who in the morning before light. All this while I keep steady.