Proposal

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Damn good hike. I’m not used to hiking with so many people, but it was worth it. The dogs got along, that’s important. We headed where I left a coffee cup, used for booze, a few years before. It’s not like me to leave anything behind.

The hills are steep, they always will be.. The snow, hard from the slide, unforgiving, slippery if not careful.

Hunter had it planned. Bree’s Mom and Dad, sister and husband were along. Lisa and I played dumb. Not hard for me.

I was up the week before to check the trail. The snow was hanging on. I figured right, it would be mostly gone by Canada Day, I always think it wouldn’t take many years of chilly weather before the glaciers grew back. It’s too bad we measure everything in lifetimes.

When the time was right Hunter asked his soul mate to spend the rest of their lives together.

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Lisa said from the first time she met Bree she knew her and Hunter would be together forever.

To be able to share such a special day was wonderful.

father

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The crows keep me posted each morning. I’ve noticed the three young ones are getting brave, wondering further apart. The mother is still in the highest trees looking out. I’m the first to arrive at work and she greets me with her caw, caw. My sister Deb told me to listen for the sound between the call, the silence, as it is part of their language. I skim the pool of ants and bugs, most still alive, getting the pool ready for the guests to enjoy pristine swimming. I put the bugs over the wall for the crows. They’ve come to expect it and the only reason they await my early arrival.

***

A touch of rain tonight, true enough to make the garden grow. The peas have already out grown the fences. The brassicas leaves cradle the rain, holding the precious lenses, magnifying purple veins. The broccoli is sky high, the kohlrabi is billiard ball size and the cabbage can’t be denied. 

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***

The weed is well on it’s way. Weird not to have to hide it, like I’ve done for the last 20 years. Not that I tried very hard. They will be turned quick and have the entire month of August to bloom.

***

Had a large Wolf Spider in the bed the other night. I saw it as I was getting in and swooped it onto the floor. Instincts kicked in and I squashed it. Deb puts spiders and bugs outside, she does it with a feather duster. I don’t have one. Usually I just leave them alone. I was afraid the spider would give me bad dreams, but it didn’t. Perhaps I’m too old to feel. I killed a snake once for no good reason when I was a youngster that haunts me still. It’s important to be careful about what you kill.

***

My father got me looking into the sky and the running creek. It’s been my downfall and my salvation. 

***

When you get older the apologies never given start to add up. I wouldn’t help with homework. I was distant. I was younger then, full of anger that I thought was virtue. Looking back, I’m not sure I could do anything different. Every injustice rippled through my body and reflected out. I tried to teach them through my indiscretions that they didn’t have to be like me.

That’s the best I could think to show.

***

The swallows swoop in the evening, I think of them as giants. Dinosaurs flying through the air from ancient times, mouths open, eating mosquitos, chewing through clouds, just in time to reveal the setting sun.

There will be no new normal

RCE_5249A Song Sparrow greets the day.

Work wise things are back to where they were before. It’s almost like the virus never happened. Maybe it was a drill. Plenty of vehicles holidaying from Alberta. There is even vehicles from the United States. Odd, as I thought the borders were closed to non-essential travel. Perhaps vacationing is essential, I know it is for the well off.

Still plenty of people not going back to work as they make more on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It doesn’t matter to me, I am not eligible. People who think these programs and health care for all is available to everyone in Canada is mistaken. I don’t want these benefits from our government. I am happy making slightly more than minimum wage. Somebody recently said to me, it’s because I refuse to accept the terms or ‘play the game’. Maybe so or I could just be fucking stupid..

I believe you don’t ask (or fight) for something that should be given, especially if promised. That’s a rule decent people adhere by. It’s the way it used to be. Dropping a deer off to people who need it. It’s not charity, nor do you need thanks, it’s what you hope would be offered if the shoe were on the other foot. Someday my health will go, I won’t be expecting help from our health care system (even though I’ve paid premiums my whole life), I won’t have the energy to fight for it, I’ll  be better served by the end of a loaded gun. I jest, but you need a mountainful of hope to get by in this day and age.

***

RCE_5205Wildflower by Lisa.

I planted a portion of the garden yesterday, peas, carrots, beets, lettuce a few things will have to wait until things warm up. Today I am waiting for the rain to stop to plant a couple rows of spuds.

Yesterday, was also the first day without long underwear. It seems I keep it on longer each year. Truth is a feel a little naked without it.

***

RCE_5255Fresh Juniper Berries. A powerful source of medicine.

It has been work and straight home these past few weeks. The snow is melting and the roads will be opening into the mountains. Fuel prices are going back up, not that they went down very much here. They should be back up to about $1.50 a litre by May long. 

mid April

RCE_5047Had to bribe Willow for this picture. She was amply rewarded with a generous piece of breakfast sausage.

It’s never too early to get a truck full of wood. The backroads are still snow covered. Got lucky finding a down pine and fir before heavy snow. Both dry but thawing out. I cut and Lisa loaded. Willow kept the perimeter.

We saw Whitetail Deer, the rivers are clear and I could have brought home fish if the season wasn’t closed. It’s hard to know when we won’t give a shit. For now everything is fine.

Lisa and I talked about the anxiety we have been feeling, especially when the virus first hit, and how we are feeling now. We both can do with a lot less. Still, having a shitload of money stockpiled, including pensions, would be the best defence. Neither, we have, but neither did all our descendants before us.

The grass is greening. I’m looking for garlic to come up.

Spring

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Slept in and had the moon damn near go down without my witness. Dug part of the garden, mixing in some manure. The seedlings are coming up and giving me anxiety, because I hate caring for young plants. If I had my way I would just buy the plants I need. I feel sorry for the seeds that fall into my hands.

Once the moon was down the sun was shining on the western mountains. It would be so much easier if everything was opposite. Like today. The moon goes down and the sun comes up. Of course it doesn’t work that way most of the time.

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Once the moon was down a Cooper’s Hawk landed above. I think Willow and the bird were working in cohoots. Willow was ripping open rotten logs looking for mice. Almost all were skedaddling out, oblivious to Willow, but obvious to the hawk.

Damn saddened by the passing of John Prine. He sure has given me some good times. I used to play him all the time driving the backroads with a beer in my hand.

we got history

_LME4923.smBird’s Eye.

It’s quiet. Just like I remember it. Tough to get over the eery part though. We’re so used to the valley full of tourists. Second home owners coming out to their big homes, investments they say. Or cabins; now that’s a joke.

_LME4916.smBruce Street. Downtown Invermere, BC  Canada.

Do I miss them? My job for the last few years depends on them. Still, to see the downtown deserted, it’s like turning back time. I can see my brother and I running through those streets jumping and touching the swinging signs, falling off bicycles, busted for smoking pot that couldn’t get an astronaut high. Drinking was our thing. It delivered.

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Maurice’s Food Basket. Mom would have drove through the front window, if it weren’t for a telephone pole right out front. My best friend, a couple years older than me, lived up top. He busted me open with a two-by-four. I just about cut his head off when I threw an old licence plate at him. I quit hanging around with him when he reached puberty. He wanted me to play with his cock. He said, pretend it’s a gear shift. I knew he wasn’t going to pretend he was a car.

After this is over, are we going to go back to the way things were? Getting on planes? Pretending we are explorers in foreign countries that see us as tourists. Are we going to burn gasoline tearing up the backcountry? Going where we figure. Are the art shops going to make a living selling egg carton caterpillars?

_LME4936.smThe Mercantile. Lisa and I used to pick out our school clothes without our parents present. All we had to do was sign for them. Our parents would settle it later.

It’s no different now then then. We don’t now what we are fighting for or against. Hopefully history spares our town.

_LME4928.smThe Toby Theatre and Cenotaph. Who has grown up here and not taken a drink or smoked a joint at the Cenotaph, it’s a right of passage, goddammit! And the Toby where I watched whatever was showing, everything from True Grit to Linda Lovelace for President. I even threw up on the floor, in the lobby, when my brother gave me too many Bugles.  I can still remember how good it felt eating them and how bad the aftermath looked. I’m still not sure who had to clean that up.

trouble down below

_LME4835-smThe spring Milky Way over a frozen lake.

This isolating, quarantining, whatever you want to call it is going to kill me. Lisa and I have been looking at each other with tiger eyes. Luckily she knows how to run away from me. I shaved my beard, that made Lisa happy. Lisa says I have Ron Duguay hair and Bobby Clark’s smile, her two favourite hockey players growing up. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If it means me not putting my teeth in so be it.

The valley bottom is all upset, yet the sky still marks time and reminds us where we stand. I feel comfort in that.

Once this is all over, I’m going to get in shape so I can catch Lisa anytime I want. Till then, fortunately, she pretends to trip up once and awhile.

late march

RCE_4780Taking a turn at the look out.

It’s been trying and we haven’t been locked up like some.

We hiked the east side of Columbia Lake. Where the mighty river starts. I’ve never seen where the Columbia turns huge before it spills into the Pacific. Where Salmon run before being turned back by hydro-electric dams. I prefer it up here in the hills.

RCE_4755Pictograph from another time.

The frost is below six inches of soil. Another week and the ground can be worked. I’ve started a few seeds inside. I worry for them as I am a lazy gardener, preferring plants outside.

RCE_4817Getting ready for war.

Most people I know have lost their jobs. Some small businesses may never reopen. It’s always close to the vest even in the best of times.

RCE_4812If only we could read.

We scrambled up into the rocks to an ancient cave where we couldn’t discern the writing. Where battles were recorded. Where people watched loved ones stolen or killed. Where Eagles swooped above goats, knocking newborn kids off ledges to jagged rocks below.

RCE_4770If we had a choice to come back.

The rhubarb is showing. It will be welcome.

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COVID-19

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This week the coronavirus hit the valley. Although, to my knowledge, there hasn’t been any reported cases, there is a sense of panic in the air. 

People shopping the stores bare of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and everything on sale. Others cancelling travel plans, as recommended by our government.  

The resort I work at has cut everyone’s hours. This didn’t come as a surprise, as we cater to international travellers and Canadian tourists, most cancelling their reservations during the usual busy spring break.

The schools in the area have gone on spring break, scheduled for two weeks, still without official word, will undoubtedly be off at least two weeks longer.

It will be interesting how the virus plays out in the coming days and weeks. So far, in Canada, the issue has not become politicized. The information we are receiving from government officials has been consistent and unified. 

My feeling is we may be entering a different time. That things are about to change for many people around the world and here in Canada. 

Rex Murphy, of the National Post, pointed out in his recent column that coronavirus is doing everything the climate change movement has been advocating for several years. Emissions are down, including a whooping 25% in China, more than the entire green house emissions of Canada. Travel, another huge source of pollution, is down.

There has been plenty of news saying we must change for the sake of the environment, but to date very little has changed. Maybe this is where we take it seriously; where we realize we don’t need to travel and build second homes on the edge of every lake.

Now with that said, this is the way it will play out. The people, who consider themselves left leaning environmentalists with lots of money, who live in mansions or on the edge of the wetlands won’t miss a flight or change one iota. 

The middle-class will become poorer and they will have to learn to live with less. They won’t be able to afford to pollute (read heat their homes).

The lower class, which Lisa and I are included, will have a lot less. 

I don’t worry much about Lisa and I, we are used to having not much. Our last holiday was over thirty years ago. We are workers and the world will always need workers. We consigned ourselves long ago to working until we died. Not so bad or unfair considering most of our descendants also did this, why should we be any different?

However, to see many of my co-workers given the word their hours are cut and layoffs are inevitable was painful. They are low on the totem pole, regardless of what our government, left or right says, they are inconsequential, the bottom of the bottom. 

They will have to come to work if they are sick.

Sure the government has plenty of relief policies in place, but not for housekeeping, and not for the poorest Canadians. A teacher or government worker will never miss a pay check, they may even come out ahead.

And so it goes. 

cloudy

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I’m not sure what I would do without those mountains and all the trees. They remind me there is still plenty to climb. I know they are stronger than I’ll ever be. Still, they allow me to be in their world, reminding me where I stand, like the stars. It’s a good feeling to live on rock and wood.

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