story time

 

_LME8758.jpgAn hilarious day. The sky cleared during the night and got down to minus 10. I got to work early to enter yesterdays jobs because the computer wasn’t working the day before.

The groundsman came in next and said, fuck it’s cold, I hope the irrigation didn’t freeze.

Next, the young guy came in and said, what should I do?

Since I ain’t the boss, I said, whatever.

The groundsman said, go check for ice.

We hadn’t had any moisture during the night so that meant, driving around in the cold looking busy till light.

The young fellow radioed and said, we are going to need more salt to melt the ice.

I said, you have two buckets.

He said, they are already used.

He also said, you guys should come out here.

When we got there, every sidewalk and staircase was covered in a thin layer of ice. It looked pretty in a Disney kind of way. . . and dangerous. I imagined someone coming out of their building looking to the brilliant morning sky and stepping on the walk and going ass over tit.

I said, what the fuck is this.

The groundsman said, shit, I forgot to turn off the irrigation.

The sprinklers had turned the resort to ice.

The inventory of salt was in storage a mile away waiting for winter. Since the managers and supervisors with keys to the storage don’t get in till sun up. I grabbed the bolt cutters, jumped in the truck, and got the salt.

We poured a shit load of salt on the resort and had everything thawed by the time the guests awoke and the managers arrived.

Of course, I will have to explain a cut lock at the storage unit, but I’ll think of something.

The groundsman, still walked into the lunch room at 9 am and used the toaster to make toast and peanut butter, even though we don’t take coffee breaks, like nothing had happened. If I was him I would have been ducking my head.

The young guy impressed me, once the sun was out he swept up all the remaining salt. It looked like nothing had happened.

Not bad, I say, for three guys getting paid a pinch more than minimum wage.

The rest of the day was pure sunshine.

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.

tick toc

RCE_2868The morning sun shines a spotlight on a Tiger Lily.

There is an old joke I love. It goes like this: Did you here that Johnson and Johnson have developed a new product for the millennium? It’s call KY Y2K. It lets you put in 4 digits instead of two!

The joke is a play on the hysteria that accompanied the calendar switching from 1999 to the year 2000. The thought was that many computers would think it was the year 1900, as computers only recognized two digits in the calendar instead of four, thus confusing banking, shipping, airfare and anything and everything ran by a computer. 

It was reported on every news station and everyone held their breath at midnight 1999. Lisa and I even took out some cash from the bank to see us through until they sorted the mess out. Some people did a lot more. Of course it all turned out to be hype. The calendar switched and everything ran like the day before. 

A lot of tech companies made a ton of money from the impending doom. 

Fake news it would be called today.

***

Todays political and environmental landscape is much different. We are on the edge of environmental ruin as our world heats up due to CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.

Canada contributes between 1 and 2% to the worlds CO2 emissions. Even if we were to shut down every form of industry that produces green house gasses we would still be doomed.

Still, it’s worth a try. I travel in a vehicle but most of my trips are longer than 2 miles but shorter than 10 miles. I don’t have boats, ATV’s, a second house nor do I plan on getting any, I grow most of our food but eat a steak every chance I get (I’m working on it). I realize I am lucky to do so. 

In this area the most fervent environmentalists are wealthy people. They spend their winters in warmer climes, or on trips where they ‘help out’, they wear layers of Northface, shop at Mountain Equipment Coop,  have several pairs of boots for every occasion, carry mirrorless cameras, get on jets every holiday, stay in second and third homes, and preach. . . they preach science. How we are doomed.

Science has become the new religion. I used to feel guilty about masterbating, now I feel guilty about eating steak and contributing to more cow farts in the atmosphere. Then again, it could be that masterbating doesn’t hold the same appeal as it once did.

***

RCE_2866

Still that doesn’t mean something isn’t going on. CO2 occurs naturally and in abundance to what humans have produced. It’s a balance we may well have fucked up.

The future could be as bleak as is reported, while we live in the most generous of times. Where more people than ever on earth have access to healthcare and food and water. Where we should be counting our lucky stars. Mostly because of science

 ***

Perhaps only science can save us. Is there a way to gobble up this, seemingly minute, compared to natures production, but devastating CO2, that has perched us on this precipice?

***

RCE_2857

I love my children and grandchildren. I try to show them the happiness in having less, or having more in less.

The stories of kindness and living simply are not meant to make them weak but strong in the future.

The bird calls, the first spuds from a well tended garden, the cones on top of trees framed in a blue sky. The river high and low and the difference between seasons.

***

Perhaps I am a fool, shy of two digits while the world’s clock ticks towards midnight.

welsh

_LME2910

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.

Scarlett

_LME2815.sm

It’s going to warm up. A light rain falls. My grandchildren have come to visit and they remind me time isn’t forever. I kick myself for not cherishing every moment. Lost in anger and differences, most in my youth, fuel, to make it this far. It’s not about becoming wiser or learning the err of my ways. It could never have been different. But now to see my granddaughter walk among the garden, my guard dropped, to be finally thankful for a long awaited gift.

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.