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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mid October

_LME8912Willow checks out the snow.

The local elections have come and gone. It worked out as I figured. Still there is some hope.

It has been decided to borrow money to buy a parcel of property at river’s edge. The choice was who to develop the land a private business or the District. The choice of leaving the land alone was not on the ballot.

Plastic bags will be banned in retail stores within the District of Invermere. This is a good thing. Still, it rings hollow. We know how to make a difference to the environment. How about banning motorboats that cover the lakes in summer or the second homes that surround the same lakes. Can there be a bigger waste or polluter than either or?

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Back in the old days there was always one guy who built his outhouse over the river. He did it because he didn’t have to dig a hole and his shit sailed away with the current. As for the folks downstream, he didn’t care or even know they existed.

We are not much different today. All those motorboats and vacation homes with treated docks are the same as that old outhouse. We still don’t care about who lives downstream.

Now we carry our groceries to our cars in fabric bags made in India and figure we’ve made a difference.

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There goes the winter kale.

***

These late October days have been wonderful. Sky blue and rivers clear. The snow is coming along with the chill. Lisa and I are never really ready for it. Probably less so as we grow old.

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good christ

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was calling on you tonight
between the whiskey
and telling tales
shouting
beyond the skunk
dead on the road
the starving coyote
getting in garbage.

she looked me
in the eyes
said
fuck god
what s he
a fuckin’
humorist.

good question
but not an easy one
to answer
so i said
maybe he s just
a cruel
motherfucker.

would have been
in my interest
to stick to the story
but i laughed
for a second there
thought i might be saved
then she said no
he s a joker.

neither one of us
were on his side
so we could
both be
trusted.

my old man
before he died
said never quit using it
and don’t trust a man
with god on his side.

on occasion i’ve
slipped up
on both ends of
the advice
and have lived
to regret it.

she had some weed
which was bound
to make her horny
and me
incompetent.

after doing my best
we headed for the tavern
low and behold
there he was,
christ
dirty hand
wrapped
around a beer.

drunk
one elbow
on the bar
eyes fixed on
a young
waitresses
ass.

we looked at
each other
dumbfounded.

it was time
to settle
all bets
we drew
straws.

she asked
was he a
humourist
he made
her laugh
then they
were off
for the back seat
of whatever
christ drives
maybe a
ranchero.

me
i
still
figure
he’s a
cruel
mother
fucker.

Fall

maddy

It was my little girls birthday today. It is hard to believe she is grown up. I remember her having a hard time breathing after she was born. And later how stubborn she was. She could dig her heals in.

In all this time past she has grown into a beautiful, confident young women, while I’ve stayed the same, still worrying about my children, while they console me, never growing a year older or wiser. That’s time for you.

It’s been steady rain for most of the day. Willow and I walked off the mountain in it. It’s warm not close to snow yet. More summer than winter.

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Perseids 2018

hoodoos_crop_smAndromeda and a Perseid share the sky above the ribs of earth.

Lisa and I spent the night and early morning chasing shooting stars.

The smoke in the valley bottom was poor so we headed for the mountains. It was still smokey but we could see stars.

_LME8309.smLisa captures a stunning meteor emanating from the heart of Perseus.

We spent a few hours at higher elevation. The Perseids flew. Lisa and I agreed trying to get photos of meteors is like fishing. It is so enjoyable, to cast or press the shutter, and see one jump or streak beyond our line. It is a beautiful thing to watch and experience. Just like fishing she caught the big one getting the picture above.

RCE_1010-Pano.smBackroads. A Perseid Meteor flys (left) over the haze and below the stars.

The meteors were continuous but not as plentiful as other years. It could be we missed the peak. It could also be the sky was obscured with smoke, letting us only see the brightest. The ones we saw were long and often left smoke trails.

RCE_1025-Pano_smOn the benches, coming home. Mars shining through the smoke (low, left of the Milky Way). The tip of a bright meteor at the top of the frame.

On the way home the smoke thickened. We stopped here and there to document the night.

We arrived home at 5. We agreed it’s tough to stay up all night, but well worth it.

hoodoos.satalite.smUn-cropped merged panorama. A satellite points back towards star clusters, Chi Persei and H Persei.

Perseids

perseids2.17x22A meteor (left) streaks toward Perseus at tree line. The light of Andromeda Galaxy
(right, above and left of the tree branch) reaches us 2.3 million light years after
it was shone. Lightening lights the clouds on the eastern horizon.
A large rock, lit by our campfire, is covered in fossils of sea
creatures older than the light of Andromeda.
To see it is a miracle. 

The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is now underway. If you have dark clear skies you may be able to see a few.

The peak is around the 12th and could be very good as the moon is young, leaving the night sky dark.

Come peak, Lisa and I will spend the night in the mountains chasing the streaks. It is difficult to predict the conditions. Even if clear smoke could obscure the sky. Tonight, Venus could barely be seen in the western horizon. Mars can’t be seen yet. Once it gets higher above the eastern horizon it will become visible.

Meteors occupy the entire sky. I often point my camera towards horizons, this year may be better preserved shooting directly overhead where the smoke is not so noticeable.

If that is the case It may be better in an enclosed space like a canyon. You see less of the sky, but what is seen is directly overhead.

 

 

 

late July wedding

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Smokey skies but nothing like last year at this time. There s a few fires burning close by. The garden is bone dry and I’m up late trying to get some water on it with a hose and antique cast sprinkler. It is low and does a good job.

Lisa and I photographed a wedding today. It has been awhile since we have done one. We used to do a lot. We were very good at it. We both like doing them. Some photographers dislike doing them, thinking they should be shooting for National Geographic instead. I always felt we were documenting the start of the Bride and Grooms family history. Someday the pictures would be looked at by their grandkids. We wanted them to see the day as it was. The love, the awkwardness at times, the heat or cold and their friends and family. We also wanted to show their connection to the land and each other.

Like I said it’s been awhile but it was like riding a bike. Lisa didn’t miss a shot during the ceremony and moved things along during the portraits making sure the kids and elderly were done first so they could seek shade.

It all came back in a hurry. The beautiful couple with their two small kids was dearly in love. We were honoured to document and share their day. The endeared themselves to Lisa and I when they confessed their rings cost $13 each on Etsy.

Talking about being in love. Hunter and Bree are out from Calgary. I cooked a few steaks on the BBQ with fresh potatoes, carrots and squash from the garden. It was a feast. It is good to have them out.

The valley is busy. Plenty of traffic. Crazy drivers. All in a hurry to have fun. Ambulances going out all day and medic helicopters coming in to take the wounded back to Calgary.

I am getting used to it as I get older. There was a time everything about the crowds burned my ass. Now I’m glad they stay shopping in the valley bottom. There is still plenty of room on the backroads.

The moon is bright same as mars. Very fine day.