Fog

The cold sure makes the wood split easier. We used to throw the wet birch aside until a cold spell. Same as the twisted spruce.

The cold can be accompanied by a brilliant day, blue skies and defined mountains. That’s today for you. They don’t come around often. It’s best to put your face towards the sun and count your lucky stars.

Chilly

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Colour in the sky. The Milky Way will start rising in the coming months, first parallel to the the valley bottom, slowly turning straight up and down. Six satellites can be seen in this photo. It’s tough to get a photo without them showing up.

It is not often the cold is too much for Willow and I. Perhaps it is that we aren’t used to it, it having been a mild winter.

We headed for the south end of the lake. It surprised me that it dipped to -31°c. I took a few pictures but wasn’t really into it, my hands freezing on the aluminum tripod legs. Willow whined when we stopped to take photos.

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Looking back towards the lights of town. The curve of the shoreline is due to the Space-Time Warp continuum. Just kidding! It is caused by sewing multiple images together to form a panorama.

I spotted Comet E3 ZTF and took a photo, however not that interesting as I had to point the camera almost straight overhead. It would be nice to try to take a photo with the 200mm lens, but I would need a sky tracker.

A fog started to roll in hastening our departure. The last thing I wanted to do is depend on a compass to find our way off the lake.

A damn cold morning.

Old Man

The Columbia River headwaters.

Snow day. I shovelled here and there, not as fast as I used to. My stock is going down.

I envy folks that reinvent themselves. One day throwing fertilizer out a hopper, the next, an IT specialist or an acupunturist.

That’s not me. I shovel snow and will always shovel snow.

***

The Columbia disturbed, for the moment.

The birds have disappeared. It was a good cone year and they should be out in force. I hear them. Not many. It worries me.

***

A Big Eared Deer caught in the garden.

It is the same thing with birds as it is with the river, we aren’t here long enough to become an expert.

***

All the good things are the same. Take the sky for instance. The clouds and stars offer a pass.

***

Still old, still part of the earth. No quarter asked or given.

Good and Bad

Watched the moon, still a crescent, go down with Jupiter. At one time, and for most of human history, the position of the stars and phase of the moon was of great importance, allowing us to plant and find our way.

It took a lot of common knowledge to get this far. Now humankind seems to care more about how we differ.

What was once a commonality, something to steer the ship, has been washed out and polluted with our own false sense of superiority.

***

When our girls were growing up, Lisa and I emphasized that they had to keep themselves safe. We told them everything from, don’t leave your drink, to stay with groups, and always trust your gut, among other things.

We tried to do it without scaring them. But the truth is the world is a tough place, especially for women.

***

I worked with a man who hated women. Every relationship he was in ended badly. He married and had kids and physically and emotionally abused them. He could be cheerful, even charming, but it would never last. He would be put off with a perceived slight or someone unresponsive to his advances.

Our girls were teenagers at the time. I remember thinking, this man was a predator looking for an opportunity. He may never have an opportunity and always stay on the side of the law, content on making the lives of the people closest to him hell, but given the opportunity he could wreak havoc on anyone unsuspecting.

He had a big influence on what we tried to impart on our two young daughters and keeping themselves safe.

***

The world is small that way. The dangers and beauty are always both right there.

Long shadows and light.

Sliver

Waxing crescent with Earth Shine.

A thin new moon appeared before dark. Later Venus and Saturn showed up. The tripod stayed put, I ratcheted the new camera up to 5000 ISO and shot it handheld. It’s grainy, the detail leaves a little to be desired, just to be able to do it is something.

The moon, Bison Horn or Witchcraft Symbol. It’s all good.

A skiff of snow, too little too plow, but enough to shovel. Later, it turned into a glorious day. If this keeps up, I may have to ask for a few days off. Nice winter days are the best days of the year and hard to come by.

Weekend

Enjoying every moment.

A fine week behind us. The skies finally cleared and it was nice to get to see some blue skies. Lisa and I had some nice fires in the fireplace and went on a couple nice walks. Weekends are always the highlight.

The weekdays are good, I look for anything to make me laugh. Luckily I work with people that feel the same. It passes the time and makes some of the more difficult or trying work easier.

***

Last Tuesday, on the way to work, I thought I would go through the drive through at Tim Hortons and get a coffee. Early in the morning, off season, it shouldn’t be much of a wait. There was only one car ahead of me. I was in luck, I thought. Usually the line can be out of the parking lot.

He took awhile to order. When he was done I pulled up and saw he had ordered $101.64 worth of stuff! Of course, he was even longer at the pick-up window. The line up behind me was out of the parking lot. There was only one person in the car ahead. They had BC plates. Usually it’s the red and white ones causing grief. I was late for work when I am usually 15 minutes early. Tim Horton’s staff got him through and apologized for his actions, saying, with such a big order he should go in the front. I paid my $2.15 for my dark roast, black. I envisioned a School Board Employee, someone in management, buying a round of coffee, bacon and egger sandwiches and doughnuts for the early morning meeting, thinking everyone else in the world is on their lazy ass schedule.

What can you do, but laugh.

***

A rotten tooth above the gum line of the valley bottom.

The mountains have light around them. The colours are gray with blues, days getting longer, not in the morning yet, but in the evening. In January you take what you can get.

Tomorrow is Monday, I’ll get up and do it again. And if I don’t feel like it, I’ll remember how many times I didn’t feel like it, but did it anyway.

Ghosts

The souls came out and flew sideways, flattening out, then through me. They are hard to avoid. My Mother always said, don’t be afraid of them.

Here I am in the bush dodging souls, flying fast, like bats coming out of the night, when I can’t even see my hand in front of my face.

Willow says, hang in there.

They take my breath with them. Someday I’ll ask for it back.

Funny

My manager Brandon presenting the award, glass artwork from a local artist.

This happened before Christmas, I was voted by the people I work with as Employee of the Year. It was presented at the Christmas Party I didn’t go to.

The resort I work at is staffed by wonderful people. Any one of my co-workers would have been a good pick, so I am especially honoured and a little bit embarrassed.

It is nice to work at a place that everyone cares about the job they are doing. The job isn’t easy. That is a tip of the hat to management that instills pride into their workers. I am fortunate to work with a great group of people.

I used to work at the School District, great pay, unbelievable government union benefits, large defined pensions and the most lazy unhappy workers you could find anywhere in Canada. Promoting the worst of the worst into management has had a great deal to do with the apathy and incompetence found in these positions. It is sad, especially for the workers who strive to do their best.

Today, I got on the radio and asked for help carrying a hide-a-bed up a flight of stairs, four people answered offering help. If that was the School District it would have been crickets until they decided to contract it out to a moving company. My job is much simpler with everyone pulling in the same direction.

My co-workers are mostly young. They don’t have pensions in their future or high wages, they may never own a house, yet they are Johnny on the spot, doing their best. It is incredible to watch and they put me to shame.

Senses

Extra grey today. Woke up to fog. Our Grandkids stayed with us last night so everything seemed bright.

Later we walked in the bush looking for birds. They could be heard everywhere, Seeing them was harder. Lisa can tell how far away they are by their song, I don’t know how she does it, but she is right almost always. My ear just hears them, I can’t tell distance.

Lisa said I taught her how to see animals in the bush, you look for shapes and lines that don’t fit. I learned to do it hunting with my father. My eyes are starting to go, fortunately I can still see lines that bend amongst the trees.

I dreamt I was at the old house the other day. My father said, go in and turn the outside light on. The switch was in a hallway my mother made into a darkroom. As soon as I walked in I smelled the photographic chemicals. They had been left out in the trays. Dektol, stop, fix and hypo. They smelled like they needed to be changed. You can get some interesting results from old chemicals, my mother used to say.

When I told Lisa about my dream she was surprised I could smell in my dreams. She said I must be thinking of my Mom. I think about her often, especially as I get to the age my parents were when I knew them them best.

Now Lisa and I walk and drive some of the trails looking for birds, just like my parents did. The truth is birdwatching can really sneak up on you.

Early January

Willow enjoying being inside, basking in the winter light.

Things have settled down. The kids have returned home. It was great to have them all out.

The excitement has dispersed into the realization of another year with plenty of challenges.

CBC keeps letting us know that things will get worse before they get better. Inflation will continue to rise along with interest rates. It is inevitable as countries try to lower carbon emissions. Of course, it will hit the poorest hardest.

Our staff at the resort is down to a skeletal crew as flu and Covid takes its toll. Everyone’s happiness just before Christmas is long gone, as the work load gets shared between fewer.

Our neighbours to the east keep flowing into the valley, unrelenting, big trucks, loud mufflers with trailers hauling ski-doos.

“Where are you sledding?” I ask

“Up Forster Creek” they say.

Forster Creek is a swamp of snowmobiles in the winter.

“Can you get up as high as Thunderwater Lake?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

“Shit ya” is the answer.

I remember when it took two days skiing to get there, with a night over in an old cabin, that was a godsend for its limited supplies and hopefully a few sticks to get the fire going. Back then the rule was to leave more than you used. If you drink the powdered soup, you leave a tin of beans and replace the wood in the morning.

Now it’s just a destination, something to be crossed off a list, while frightening every living thing within five miles in every direction with BRAPPP, BRAPPP, BRAPPP. To think we care about emissions or nature is a joke.

Meanwhile, I bluff, pretend, showing respect or recognition when none is warranted. I remind myself my opinion means nothing, it’s just part of the job to be nice.

***

This is not exactly a Happy New Year’s Greeting. It is hard to know what 2023 will bring. I wish everyone the ability and courage to be ready for anything. Fight back when you need to and embrace every happiness that comes your way.