The New Religion

CRW_0025

I had an argument with a guy recently. It was about dwindling elk populations. He said, elk where being decimated by predators such as wolves, grizzlies and cougars. It was his view that these animals should be culled. I said maybe we should quit hunting elk during their rut and taking the biggest bulls from the heard. Colorado has seen success with managing these hunting practices.

This guy was a hunter and a scientist (so he said) and my comment made him fly off the handle. He over and over again said, ‘Science’ shows it is the predators that are responsible for diminished elk populations.

I infuriated him more by saying, we have to be careful culling animals, because we’ve got it wrong before, I was thinking about those same wolves and plenty of fish species. 

He continued, ranting Science, Science, Science, without so much as offering a fact. It was like the word Science was enough.

I knew he wasn’t worth engaging in an argument. He was a fervent believer.

***

I don’t understand science. I always thought it was nature. The way I alternately blink my eyes at the sky, being the same way we figure out the distance to the stars. 

***

I also don’t understand climate change, but the Science seems to have become a replacement for religion, especially for us in the most prosperous parts of the world. It has sin, guilt and the need for atonement. The Science also promises a way out, if only we live carefully.

And like religion the biggest sinners are the ones who preach the loudest and conjure their desired deity in every conversation and argument. Like the above mentioned hunter/Scientist who, lives on a ranch, and wants to shoot bigger elk.

Today’s Elmer Gantry’s and Jimmy Swaggart’s are now the ‘environmentalists’ living in their big houses on the side of the wetlands, winging their way to explore exotic locations with their light weight Sony cameras, oblivious to there own sins, or perhaps smug in their belief they are pulling the wool over our eyes. 

Fuck I hate religion regardless of what they call it.

mid October

RCE_3988-PanosmKiller frost playing hell with the vibrance.

The leaves are thinning, starting at the top. I can’t say I’m sad to see them go. Green has always tricked my eye. I can’t see depth or discern between it’s different shades. The bush is turned deep again. The bears are revealed, along with elk, a mile away, scratching on slides, and dead trees, way back, begging to be cut and split, and I’d agree with them if only they were closer to the road.

The Tamaracks are turning, the snow is lowering and it’s getting damn cold in the morning. The long underwear is on till April, even if we do get a warm spell. Willow is taking no time growing her winter coat. She gives it a scratch now and again.

_LME3622Willow hanging in the skuff.

The wood is in. Next year’s still has to be piled. And I’m the shits at piling. Crooked rows, uneven spacing between blocks, shaky disbursement, all in an effort to mix up the types of wood.

IMG_2372Many brag, but few can deliver both length and girth.

An armful of split wood for the fireplace should contain at a least two, if not three species, cedar to get it going, pine to create a good hot base and larch to burn hot and slow, crackling once and awhile just to keep you hypnotized while the snow builds up.

It won’t be long now and we will start work in the dark and get home in it as well.

RCE_3979

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.

late august

RCE_3260smAn unnamed, unclimbed mountain – so happy the gore tex climbing hordes
are off shitting on the well known peaks miles from here.

Saw Winter Maker this morning, a waning sliver came up in dawn, later I faced the rising sun taking the cold from my bones; once again saved without having to confess or spend a minute in church. Sometimes you get lucky.

RCE_3313.jpgSoon it will be ice.

There are signs everywhere summer is on it’s way out. We have had frost at this time of year. It’s getting close, the other day was 3°c. The garden is flattening, except for the carrots, smoke and cabbage, who are revelling in the cool of night.

RCE_3295Willow casually smokes a cigar in her own private natural spa.

Was along the creek a range over. Willow swam the blue moving water fetching sticks. She learned quickly to use the current to her advantage. I threw sticks into an eddy, they would go around and around then finally spill out into the froth of the main channel. Willow did the same, fighting to get caught in the eddy, then using her thrusters to speed out of the eddy on just the right orbit, capturing the stick every time! It required perfect mathematical calculations on her part – the speed of the eddy, her weight, the speed of the main current, her mass and it’s effect on water resistance; all of that and the same calculations for the stick, just to be safe! Or. . . she just naturally knew what to do. Both are science, both are nature.

RCE_3308Determination.

The sun went down and turned to twilight, as dramatic as it’s entrance.

Sometimes you really do get lucky.

the turn

_LME3320Late light.

The garden is looking weary. Plenty of yellow leaves. The vegetables are churning out, knowing fall is upon us. The carrots have the best growing in front of them, same as the cabbage

_LME3331Old peas.

The nights are longer. It’s already cool in the mornings. Orion is rising when I awake. It clears the mountains before light.

_LME3338Why the long face?

The peas have to be pulled. The ones I find I give to Willow. She appreciates them more if I open them. But what am I. . . her servant.

The stars and moon tell the story better.

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.

after the rain

_LME3007A few thinnings.

So far it’s been a wet summer. That’s ok with me if it means no smokey skies.

_LME3020Spuds.

The garden is coming around like it always does in summer regardless of smoke, sun rain or mist. Even my negligence can’t keep it down.

_LME3026Lavender.

_LME3028.jpgBlack Crimson Tomato.

_LME3056.jpgWillow eats the last radish.