single leg trap

There ain’t many left, but I see a few downtown. Usually they are hell and gone creek bound, stumbling up or down a mountain looking for bears, goats, sheep, elk, moose or the next good huckleberry patch, always keeping an eye out for straight pine, without a knot for the first twenty feet, something that will lend it’s self to easy dovetail and make a descent cabin.

The fish and muskrat will come, same as the beaver and lynx, bobcat and coyotes. There is still people that want to wear fur. Sometimes just a bit for trim. The animals get to live on in a place where they won’t bear their teeth.

You ever try opening a trap to set an animal loose? It’s easier to kill them with a rifle or rock. That’s why you never see three legged wild animals.

It’s a collaboration. They don’t get to watch the world go to hell. They live like their fathers. The snow gets deep and things don’t turn out, they wonder about something easier, sunshine for instance in the November cold. Then it gets colder and finally the sun comes back making everyone feel special.

The animals trapped given their druthers, more than likely, would prefer having their hide on the hood of a rich bitch instead of being eaten by magpies.

Not that any of us get the choice.

Murmur

A Fairy above the forest floor.

A lot of good stuff out there despite it all. It’s always been that way. It takes looking, searching even, sacrificing, just when you think it doesn’t exist it jumps up and slaps you in the face.

Yellow Orchid.

It’s what’s given to you, a gift. Born in the wrong era, hellbent to prove them wrong. Adrenaline and height, lost on purpose just to find yourself back. It’s the only war most people will know.

Twins.

It’s easy to die, to live in these times takes courage, fortitude, strength and conviction. You have to be quick to react, and do so with the same purpose of a murmur of starlings or school of fish.

Solomon’s Seal.

Early May

Lisa celebrates spring.

The garlic has all come up. First time in a few years. I planted it deeper last the fall. The onions are also up. The garden has been dug, with manure mixed in. I planted three rows; beets, early lettuce and late lettuce. Everything has been planted thick so we can enjoy the thinnings. The tomatoes, basil and cannabis are doing well inside and I can’t wait to put them out so they don’t have to be cared for. An inside gardener I am not.

A good start to oncoming summer.

If I take the picture in the right light I can obliterate the second homes and condos that line the shores of Lake Windermere.

light

Willow and I went out early to catch the grouping of planets coming up in the east. We never saw Saturn, Mars or Venus. We were too early and cold. I pointed the camera down the lake southeast and took a few pictures. Willow sat beside the tripod. She whined a few times and I saw her shiver when I turned on my flashlight to check I was still focused on infinity.

A photograph is made of light. The camera records it without sentimentality or prejudice. The photographer adds that later, trying to show a story to the viewer. The viewer also adds their thoughts to the image. Sometimes the image touches and tells a different story to many different people. That’s called art. Sometimes a picture captures a time and place. That’s a document.

This photo is light only. The light of The Milky Way. The Dark Horse near the centre of the galaxy. The Scorpions Tail. The purple and green aurora signalling flares from the our sun. The lights of Windermere and Fairmont in the distance. The sun showing below the horizon, marking another day.

Some of the light has been here forever while other, even brighter light is recent.

The Northern Lights and stars reflect in the lake. Do the fish take direction from this light? Does it trigger when they spawn, when they go into the many creeks feeding the lake? There isn’t many native fish left in Lake Windermere.

By comparison humans have only had the ability to cast light, shading the skies, for a short time. To capture light even less.

I worry what happens to our souls when we can’t see Andromeda, Aurora and the The Milky Way. Like the fish we may forget our way.

Late March

Kelsie, Cooper and Scarlett called to me to complete the ring. This Fir tree would be well over 300 years old. To think of its place in history. The many forest fires it survived, drought, world wars, colonization and the epic battles of the lands first people. It resides in a place known for warring between the Ktunaxa and the Peigan Blackfeet Pikáni. This one even survived the greed of developers. This area, on the east side of Columbia Lake is now protected, the developers satiated after being handsomely paid off.

This was the time of year I’d get stuck, sometimes on the flat. Teaches me for running around on bald tires. I don’t have to do that like I used to. I’d ask Bucky which tires had the most rubber after the tread was worn off. That’s how you know a good tire. It is easy to slip slide yourself into real trouble.

An old Ranger with a mismatched box. Smelling like oil and rust, but can still deliver a half yard of well rotted manure.

I took one of these roads yesterday. The snow hard in the trees, soft where the sun hits. Four wheel drive can’t save you once the truck starts pushing snow. It gathers under the truck and before long you either need to shovel or hope for another week of warm weather.

Spring clouds with a few more snowstorms inside. I could always walk up that hill if someone was chasing me, I bet they would give up before I did.

The plants have been started inside. Tomatoes (Black Krim, Brandywine and Black Cherry), basil, some flowers and a couple varieties of cannabis. The frost is out of the ground where my garden lays and is waiting to be dug. Scarlett, Cooper and I took down the tall sunflower plants we left for the winter birds.

Scarlett smelled them before she found the Juniper Berries. It’s Spring after all, they are filling with sap. She stuffed her pockets to take to her friend Savannah, she said. Hopefully Kelsie checked her pockets before doing the wash.

***

Amazing everything said is taken seriously. The figuring consciences is that both are inside us. Bad and good. We use them to get what we want.

Kindness works almost always. But if you have to fight back, fight back harder.

*** 

Don’t think I forget every old timer like me on the road is a desperate man. It makes me drive close to the shoulder. Not to mention the middle age driving up my ass and the youngsters taking too long in the Horton’s line. For the most part everyone is respectful. But you never know when that might change. We all have reason after all.

Walking the Rails/Women’s Day

Familiar tracks.

Walked the tracks on the weekend to the old fishing holes I used to be so fond of when I was a youngster. It was about this time of year I used to throw the first lines with the hope of hooking a nice char.

The old bridge site and brush thicker than the hair on a dog’s back.

The walk is different now. For one I don’t carry a rod. Willow enjoys trotting the banks among her namesake the Red Willow lining the Columbia. We did it early in the morning before the mud thawed, saving Willow from bringing her weight home in river silt.

A couple large Swans, either Tundra or Trumpeter, flying north. At one time they were nearly hunted to extinction. Their loud honking is exceptional, as was evident on our walk. When they are shot and dying they make a soft cooing, known as the Swan song. Incredible birds and hard to sneak up on. Perhaps they tired of being shot.

There is nothing as soothing as walking railway ties. Seeing how many you can step at once walking or running. Balancing the rail, jumping from rail to rail. Giving the engineers a wave, counting cars until the red caboose. And if lucky, on the way home, the train would slow enough to swing up onto a coal car and jump off right beside our old house where it was sure to slow due to the half mile of twined track. The trick was not to let the engineer or brakeman in the caboose see you. This required walking further up river from home while tired and often late to a bend in the tracks. Sometimes the train wouldn’t come and it was a longer walk home and a scolding for not arriving on time. Admittedly the scoldings were never much in our house. Looking back I’m not sure my parents even knew I was late until I walked in.

Willow gets ready to drive away regardless if I am ready or not or if the windows have been scraped.

Now you can get fined for walking the rails by the CPR police. Luckily they are not around much. They make a concentrated effort to fine trespassers after someone throws themselves under a train, which happens more often than you think it would. They always rule it an accident.

A young Mule Deer doe gives us a look and listen.

As a twelve year old carrying a pack and fishing rod I never had a problem. If the train was going too fast I gave it a pass even if it made the walk home long. Don’t think I could run fast enough to grab the ladder now. Besides what would Willow do?

***

It is International Women’s Day. In honour, this is a video our Granddaughter Scarlett and her Mom sent Lisa and I today.

I believe her!

Early March

The fucking world keeps us on our toes. War, racism, bigotry, sickness; not a lot of good news out there.

Our connection to the Earth is in jeopardy. To be clear, the Earth doesn’t care. It will survive in spite of our abuse. Rocks can be moved, crushed and turned into metal, blasted into space even. It is us that have polluted that thin part of the sky that keeps us alive, no longer allowing us to see The Milky Way. The stars that put us in our place are gone.

No wonder we turn against one another.

Something

Chilly, only -10°c in the creek bottom but with a stiff breeze. A difference from the warm winter we have been experienced.

***

An unexpected day off today. Got to the resort and was told to go home due to to it being a stat. The manager usually tells us when he doesn’t want us in on a stat. I’m not surprised, it has been slow for the managers, with ours being particularly aloof, dumbfounded really, and that’s when shit get’s overlooked. Regardless, I was happy to have another day off, even if the money would have been good. Guaranteed it will be a shit show tomorrow with things left undone for three days.

***

Prices are going crazy, inflation the news reports. Fuel a buck-sixty a litre with everyday heading higher. Beef over $50 a kg. Houses in the valley out of reach other than for our neighbours to the east, who, regardless of their constant bitching about how hard done by they are, continue to come in droves, driving three-quarter tons pulling trailers full of snowmobiles and retiring to their cabins (read abominable, opulent second homes) on the shores and hills overlooking Lake Windermere. What a disgrace this once pristine lake has had to endure.

***

Speaking of snowmobile enthusiasts. Willow and I took a drive to a launching spot for sledders. It was the tail end of the weekend and they were all safely tucked in. The lot was littered with garbage, piss and feces. I didn’t let Willow out of the vehicle. She would have worn herself out marking her territory. I once had a Wire-Haired that would have rolled in such offerings.

***

The yahoos in Ottawa have called it a day and left the city. They are so comfortable they can’t even pick a fight against a cause that could make a difference. Sure, it was a ragtag group of racists, homophobes and dipshits, however, there was also lot of regular people there, protesting the fact government is far reaching and incompetent.

Of course, government is incompetent, that is almost the definition of Canadian government. Trudeau’s handling of this crisis has been a disaster. Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada is rubbing his hands together at the strides they have made. Whenever you see yellow vested old-time racists, hardworking truckers, and yoga loving, health conscious hippy chicks commiserating together can only signal a movement that may even take Canadian elitists by storm.

***

This of course is all above my pay grade. There is nothing coming around the corner to make it better. When my mother was dying she said she didn’t worry about Lisa and I. We would always get by. I didn’t like she said it, but took it to heart. It didn’t sound like much of an endorsement, but, when you think about how many people don’t get by, it’s something.

A few photos

Water Ouzel
The short tailed American Dipper. Willow and I watched this little guy for about an hour. It seemed to enjoy performing for our entertainment. Of course, maybe it considered us the entertainment as both Willow and I got stuck in the hip high snow trying to get a closer look.
Signs of Spring
I thought these may be the earliest pussywillows until I found a post from a few years ago of pussywillows in January.
Morning Sun
A small Chickadee or Nuthatch (I love subjects you can study your entire life and still not be an expert) looks for sunflower seeds stashed in the fall.

long shadows

It is amazing what can be determined with math. Distances covered, to the top of the mountains, to the sun and the furthest galaxies. I don’t understand, but I understand shadows and how they correspond to distance. You learn looking at avalanche chutes and climbing routes when the sun is about to set. It can’t be mastered without turning it into numbers. Still you can get by just looking into the shadows.