summer’s end

We’ve been told due to the economy coming to a halt due to Covid and a good portion of the work force on CERB that the economic outlook for Canada is dire. So why is it, everywhere I look, money is being spent hand over fist.

Roadwork at every turn, money and tourists flowing like never before from Alberta, government rumbling about spending on everything from increasing our social safety net (for somebody but not us, Lisa and I will be lucky to claim a pension) to plenty of make-work projects and salary increases across the board for public employees?

***

Covid and the impending environmental crisis have made the public think they can’t do anything to help their own communities. Why care about issues such as local governance while a pandemic will wipe humanity off the earth and if that doesn’t finish us global warming will? I, of course, am inflating the risk, but not the point people feel defeated when it comes to fighting the little daily battles that make a huge difference in our lives. Meanwhile this has been a godsend for small town politicians and businessmen who make their living feathering their nests.

Our Mayor, for instance, pushed through buying a piece of land that will be made into boat launches and tourist shops. Who will be the ultimate benefactor; our Mayor who owns the local building supplies and hardware. Of course the real estate agents on town council will do well for themselves as well. Meanwhile, no one even flinches at the conflict of interest, because how can we worry about such petty issues when the whole world could stop turning at a moments notice? Maybe Musk has an open seat on his spaceship to Mars.

***

I’ve noticed the School District have used pesticides on the school grounds again, disregarding a District bylaw forbidding its use. Who cares what a little poison spread around children in light of all the environmental problems we face. Besides the students are wearing masks anyway.

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It is futile to try and make a difference in times like these. Your best bet is take cover and avoid the jack asses tearing it up to make a buck.

***

The bush at night is a sanctuary. The September smells and light are a reprise from the dreaded summer. To smell the the leaves changing, feel the coolness, hear the hidden small chirp of birds knowing more than we can imagine, the snow moving down the mountains will soon turn the trail silent. I welcome it back.

***

There is a tree I’ve watched since I was a child. It’s always been dying. An old fir, it hasn’t changed, part spike, part crag. The wind has turned it to driftwood at the top. Curled boughs hold green, hanging on, the base shows scars of lightening strikes. Regardless, it stands above the surrounding forest. Somehow it’s still there, standing vigil through long nights and 40 below winters, the summer sun thickening it’s bark. It leans away from the slope, making it seem even more in danger, precarious, like a slight wind might send it toppling to the creek bottom. Still it stands, it will continue to stand long after I am gone, oblivious to the triviality of any man’s problems. I take comfort in that.

smoke

The smoke rolled in from the fires in Oregon and Northern California. BC’s largest forest fire is burning about 50km from us. It’s been burning for over a month, yet hasn’t generated much smoke. It is reported that most of the smoke is from the US. It is stifling, casting odd light and turning the sun red.

Reports say the end is nigh, and worse, we have done it to ourselves, but we still have time to repent. It sounds a lot like religious fervour to me. That it was something in our control. If we only voted this way or that, stopped using plastic bags, weened our way off oil and harnessed the power of wind.

All the while we live in the best time of human history, living to an age unheard of 200 years ago, where more than ever humankind has enough to eat and fresh water to drink. Where we get to contemplate our navel instead of worrying about what the predator under the rock will do to us.

We sure could do things better. It is a shame how we treat the Earth and each other. The Earth is turning. It’s had enough of our disrespect of the land and sky. But that’s only part of the story.

Shit is bad. It’s depressing, our leaders, internet and television try to make sense of it for us but they are empty idols. It will be something else, something we haven’t thought of yet, that will get us.

In the mean time lets stop racing around the bush in ATV’s, churning up the waters in motorboats, stop building second homes, tossing cigarettes out the window, letting meat go bad, blaming others, burning what we don’t need, considering we are hard done by, thinking we are bigger than the earth, killing each other over race, rioting even if deserved, a Molotov cocktail and teargas never solved nothing, either right or left can we agree we want our kids to grow up, be happy and live.

It is hard to know what is in store for us in this climate. We’re not calling the shots nor is any deity, voted in or conjured. My money is on sanity, objective thinking, clarity of purpose, ingenuity, and above all else love and humility.

Photos by Lisa and Bob

dark summer

They yip yip from someplace they’ve found at night to stay hidden during day. It gives Willow consternation. It’s toads they find, mice caught in the headlights, moths even, flapping sideways, awkward, born to be eaten, but they keep on keeping on, Willow does it all, but only as a hobby, these guys are serious about their vocation. That’s why you have to watch out. Still is there anything like the sound of coyotes rejoicing late summer? 

August 1st

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Pea patch.

A good thunder storm hit in the evening. It felt good after the hot weather.

I left for work about 5:30 in the morning. Lisa always gets up to say goodbye. Because it’s been so hot she opens the front door to get a cross breeze with the open windows. This morning a bird flew in. It did a couple laps of the front room and went out the door, or so we thought.

This evening Lisa went to her sewing room, she spread the closed curtains to let air in through the open window. To her surprise a bat fell out onto her. The bird that flew in and out wasn’t a bird at all. The open door at that hour must have looked like an inviting open cave.

I looked for my fishing net and finally found it under the back seat of my truck. The bat was hidden, but finally flew. It and I worked together, he refused to hit me and I was as careful as I could. I set it free into the darkening evening sky. Lisa took a video and sent it to Scarlett and Cooper.

***

_LME6499Poppy seeds.

It’s a busy weekend. Broken glass at every intersection from tourists bumping into each other.

***

The nitrogen from the thunderstorm will do the garden good. The small amount of rain is like spitting on a campfire. It all makes a difference though.

***

_LME6495Some green.

The air is cooling, Lake Windermere is warm. If I was a little younger and knew a place along the shore not so busy I’d dive in.

late July

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This could be our hot spell, the grass is dying, turning yellow along with some of the trees. It doesn’t take long.

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Despite everything affecting us humans the natural world seems to be getting along fine. It has enjoyed a respite, although slight, from our usual rape and pillage, jets flying tourists pretending to be explorers to the four corners, mining and burning. The sky is bluer to have those jokers grounded. With luck they will notice what’s around their own corner and start to love it.

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The lesson is the world will absorb us if we let our hubris get the better of us.

summer nights

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It feels good to wonder around with Lisa on a summer night. Everything going on in the sky, planets moving, the Milky Way, the Tail of Scorpius just above the mountains, comets and satellites.

The mosquitoes were ferocious. Willow riled up some deer. Elk lined the highway. Lisa and I both looked for eyes in the ditch far ahead. We can’t see the way we used to, so go slow now.

There was a time I used to dive off docks and rocks in the pitch black with faith there would be water below me. In summer nights the water is warmer than air. I can still see you wade in. Lisa made her own bikinis. There was fish down there that swirled around us.

It never really gets dark in summer.

Mid July

 

Not a lot of hot weather. Rain in-between sunshine. I’m okay with that. The world’s seemed to have gone strange. I hold onto what’s familiar. Not because it will save me, but because it’s the only thing I know.

The garden is teeming. We can’t grow enough to be self sufficient. Even if I started shooting all the deer around me, it would be a tough go. The new spuds ease the pain of reality, and there’s something cathartic about picking your own lettuce.

We trade with friends; pickles for rhubarb, weed for meat, firewood for jelly. . . it’s a trick we play to think we are beating the system.

If this is all we get I’ll be happy without the heat.

Father’s Day

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Came across a mother Black Bear with two cubs. A couple barks and the cubs were up a tree followed by their mother in a flash. Amazing how fast they can climb. We left them alone as not to stress them. 

Lisa treated me to Father’s Day in the bush. We made a day of it heading a valley over to the Palliser. Going the extra mile was worth it. We never saw another vehicle after turning off the highway onto Settler’s Road.

We explored in the country we love. The creeks and rivers were raging. We picked up a few stones for Lisa’s rock garden, some firewood, hiked a cut block, let the hounds run and took a few pictures.

We even got around to stripping Willow of her winter coat. This can be quite a chore but wasn’t that bad as we did it after the hike and Willow was tired and did put up much of a fuss.

When we returned to cell reception my phone started buzzing with Father’s Day wishes from my children. When we arrived home I returned the calls to my kids and grandkids.

Very fine day.

(The photos were taken by Lisa)

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Cutting up a stick of firewood while Maynard looks on.

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The rain has the mushrooms popping. Not sure what this species is so it stayed on the forest floor instead of added to the soup pot.

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Heart Leaved Arnica. An edible plant, widely used by indigenous people before colonization.

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An odd puffball?

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Lunch on the side of the road.

black & white

RCE_5949Roots from old logging set.

RCE_5981Making a getaway.

RCE_5938Ancient fire circle.

RCE_5937Pine Siskin.