Lisa and I had breakfast in the mountains this morning. There was an inch of fresh wet snow that squeaked underfoot. Willow ran rampant. Every track was the first of the day.
We heard the drumming of a Piliated Woodpecker. He was kind enough to pose for a photo and even followed us along on our walk. Willow tried to put the run on him without success. Why would he be bothered by a small, seemingly clumsy fur ball stuck on the ground?
Once the sun started to burn off the cloud the Pine Siskins and Chickadees started singing, jumping from branch to branch faster than my camera could follow.
The Ospreys are back. It is amazing how quickly they appear after the ice is off Lake Windermere. They are busy on their nests. Platforms are built on poles around the lake so the hawks won’t build nests on power poles. Many years ago, before the platforms, there were plenty of power outages and fried birds.
I raked the lawn yesterday and it has almost instantly started to green up. The rhubarb is starting to poke through. Soon we will be cursing the heat. But for now the sun feels good on our faces. Very fine day.
The Freak Brothers.
Was with the good neighbour last night. He is always interesting. After a couple beer he brought out some adult comix and one magazine, vintage, from the seventies and early eighties. He never ceases to amaze. I’ve known him and we have lived beside each other going on thirty years and this is the first I’ve seen of this.
One time he hid a Prime Minister Brian Mulroney piggy bank in my garden. Its was released in 1990 when Mulroney implemented the hated Goods and Services Tax. It had the Prime Ministers face on a pigs body. You put the money in his smiling mouth. It was touted as the Great Looney Collector. Collectors of such memorabilia pay upwards of $200 for it. To his supreme disapproval I gave it back to him. I told him it was too valuable to be in the garden. He told me I didn’t appreciate the meaning of a gift.
He also gave me a book of Pierre Elliott Trudeau stamps from 2000, commemorating the Prime Ministers life. These I accepted with much gratitude. It has the Prime Minister posing with a red rose.
The comix and magazine took the cake. I was instantly 10 years old downstairs in my brothers bedroom. My brother was 8 years older than me. He had the best records, comix and magazines.
Sometimes I would pretend I was sick so I could have the house to myself and listen to Rod Stewart, Dr. Hook and The Stones while thumbing through those early Penthouse magazines. I swear I learned to read by reading Penthouse Forum. Cunninglingus can be a real tongue twister, let alone trying to spell.
I think the good neighbour could gauge may appreciation. He said, if he goes first he will leave them to me. I was hoping he would leave them in my garden.
The world will chisel you down to nothing if you let it. First you think it’s making a masterpiece. Then you can see some mistakes, powerless, with the thought it knows what it’s doing, some people call it destiny, it goes on.
Before long all the chips are on the ground.
Ground down, under the wheel.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as there is a glimmer.
I saw two Trumpeter Swans fly over today. Giants of the sky. They stay off because they are vulnerable on land and water. My father tried killing one once. Thinking how much meat there must be on the bone. All he got was a whipping for being home late.
I guy told me today,
‘That’s the vehicle for you.’
It had just gone by.
Driven by a guy with a long manicured greying beard. A hot disinterested young women riding shotgun.
‘It’s a Mercedes, it goes 160,’ he said.
It was an SUV and looked like a breadbox.
‘Miles an hour’, I said.
‘It costs $160,000.’ he said like he was talking to a dummy.
She went in to inquire about timeshare, we watched her every step.
The guy with the long manicured beard asked the salesman where he could smoke and went to the designated area.
And that’s where he lost our respect.
There is a few bashes we take along the way. Better than not taking any at all.
Woke up to the sound of Willow throwing-up the stick she ate the day before. She does that sometimes. It was 2:30am. I put her out and cleaned up the mess. I tried to go back to sleep with no success. Since it was clear, we (Willow and I) decided to go for a walk and look at stars. Willow was happy, it took me awhile to get into it. We opted to stay in the valley bottom. The ice is almost entirely off the lake. The Milky Way stretched the length of the lake and was visible regardless of the artificial light. By 7am it was off to work. The days only guarantee would be an early bedtime.
Which way to go?
This is spring. Lisa and I had snow during breakfast in the mountains this morning. We huddled while Willow hunted. The thawing winter smells must be wonderful for her. The clouds shine every shade of grey. Birds sing from thick once and awhile they let us see them. Every now and again the sun shines through, warming us up. Still it was chilly enough to put a small fire on to warm the house.
Western Meadowlark letting it’s voice be heard.
Bob and Ron at Cedar creek.
Took your great grandchildren Cooper and Scarlett ice fishing last weekend, down below the old house where we used to skate and set lines. You should see those two, they are so wonderful. Lisa and I checked over our shoulders more than a few times to see if you were at the window waving.
Still run into plenty of things you’d find interesting. The Siskins were alive in the bush this morning. Zzweet zzweet in every direction through the trees. A few even allowed me to see them. Mighty kind of them.
Female Pine Siskin
A Water Ouzle arrived along the creek, bobbing up and down, driving Willow nuts. It was along the trail we walked often. Where you would point out cougar tracks and small orchids. Where an owl flew over us when I was small. There was something about that owl. It had power. The way it stopped moving it’s wings and sailed into the thick, silent, disappearing behind spruce and moose moss.
Water Ouzle (American Dipper)
A lot of things have changed in the valley since you left. Some for the better some naught. Still it’s easy to find those old trails. Not sure I ever told you this, I know you know, still, I appreciate you showing me all those places and animals so long ago. It’s always kept my boat pointed in the right direction.
Say hello to Old Joe Noseitall!
Red on the mountains. The melting snow causing streaks.
Every season’s has it’s own colours. Ones that only show up once a year. Ones that can’t be photographed no matter how hard you try. They happen near the edge of mountains at sun up. Or the way the ice turns deep blue before it turns over and sinks to the bottom in spring.
Kingfishers on dried Mullein. The female, left, is more colourful than the male.
It seemed the winter was a long one. We had an early fall snow and then nothing much until February. Still we had it all. Just not spread out. Some cold temperatures dipping to -30°c and staying there. Snow, mostly in February, but not much overall.
Storms depending on where you stand.
The frost is coming out of the ground. There’s still patches of snow in perpetual shade. That comes with mountains.
March full moon on the rise clearing the ridge.
The garlic should be popping up soon, along with self seeded lettuce and spinach. They arrive at the same time as thousands of weeds. It takes a discerning gardener to pick them apart.
Hunting on ice edge.
The days run longer. Summer with heat, smoke and fire is on it’s way. But for now the mountains are ever present, jagged and comforting, the sky deep cobalt, waiting on stars, in the east.
Mallards on ice edge being hunted. A Raven (middle), dips his beak, unnoticed, waiting for leftovers.