A bunch of coulees, bluffs, creek bottoms, waterfalls and draws, trees scattered like match sticks hither and yon. Fire lay it bare, exposing the mountains for what they are; slides, rock, coves, caves, ridge and a bunch of hiding spots – just ask the grizzlies and goats.
You don’t want to be lost in it. That’s for sure. It’s better to stay on top then be wondering in the dark, not a star in the sky, only the dim moon shining through falling snow, silver here and there where the water shows.
Even best instincts aren’t enough. Nothing coming good or bad. The fire and deep snow doesn’t care, nor does the burnt snag falling to the forest floor give a damn if it’s heard or not.
The smoke rolled in from the fires in Oregon and Northern California. BC’s largest forest fire is burning about 50km from us. It’s been burning for over a month, yet hasn’t generated much smoke. It is reported that most of the smoke is from the US. It is stifling, casting odd light and turning the sun red.
Reports say the end is nigh, and worse, we have done it to ourselves, but we still have time to repent. It sounds a lot like religious fervour to me. That it was something in our control. If we only voted this way or that, stopped using plastic bags, weened our way off oil and harnessed the power of wind.
All the while we live in the best time of human history, living to an age unheard of 200 years ago, where more than ever humankind has enough to eat and fresh water to drink. Where we get to contemplate our navel instead of worrying about what the predator under the rock will do to us.
We sure could do things better. It is a shame how we treat the Earth and each other. The Earth is turning. It’s had enough of our disrespect of the land and sky. But that’s only part of the story.
Shit is bad. It’s depressing, our leaders, internet and television try to make sense of it for us but they are empty idols. It will be something else, something we haven’t thought of yet, that will get us.
In the mean time lets stop racing around the bush in ATV’s, churning up the waters in motorboats, stop building second homes, tossing cigarettes out the window, letting meat go bad, blaming others, burning what we don’t need, considering we are hard done by, thinking we are bigger than the earth, killing each other over race, rioting even if deserved, a Molotov cocktail and teargas never solved nothing, either right or left can we agree we want our kids to grow up, be happy and live.
It is hard to know what is in store for us in this climate. We’re not calling the shots nor is any deity, voted in or conjured. My money is on sanity, objective thinking, clarity of purpose, ingenuity, and above all else love and humility.
It’s green that gives me the most problems. It all looks the same to me. It’s shapes that I look for. Shapes that don’t fit the landscape. That’s the way I was taught to hunt. Looking for curve of antler or back bone sideways instead of up and down. Green gets in the way.
It’s said we see green better than other colours, because from an evolutionary standpoint humans eat plants having to recognize the difference between the edible and the ones that were poison. Our enemies stand out in green. The snake and saber tooth tiger are clocked in a second across the green landscape.
I’m looking forward to fall. When the green turns. It’s already underway. To winter. Long underwear, white and grey, wood on the fire and cooking inside.
The smoke is bad. I think of my father, during these times, not being able to breath because of emphysema. The mountains obscured. The sun orange all day, disappearing before it goes below the horizon. The moon, waxing gibbous, never appeared. The good neighbours lights fogged over.
Even the great power denial can’t clear the skies.