Ospreys defending

It is good to see the Ospreys back. They are whistling overhead finding dry sticks for their nests. I watched two put the run on a much bigger Bald Eagle. Not uncommon, especially when Ospreys defend their nest. This is early for confrontation.

***

There is a a passage in the Daniel Woddrell Book, Winter’s Bone, where a young girl of 16, Ree, left looking after her two younger siblings, watch a neighbour and relative skinning deer.

The young women and her young brother and sister are hungry. One of the siblings asks his older sister that they should ask for some of the meat.

The young women scolds her brother and says, you never ask for what should be offered.

It is a poignant moment.

It must be something about being poor or not ‘well off’. Perhaps you become your own worst enemy.

Still to ask for something, even deserved, is not in their DNA. It is either offered or not. They are at the mercy of the fairness of others. And others often have another agenda that doesn’t concern itself with charity, fairness or merit. Instead they are always concerned with their own advancement.

***

As I get older these people are easier to detect. They are a dime a dozen and make up the majority. Instead of out right asking for something, I point out how it would be in their best interest to grant the request. In other words, make it their idea.

***

Recently, I was overlooked. Many people have been annoyed at me for not fighting, not being mad. Still you have to stand by Ree Dolly, never asking for what should be offered. I am fine with that and tired of being angry.

saturation

A quiet weekend for Lisa and I. We got in a couple walks in the +2 temperatures. A nice change from the cold.

The kids are recovering from Covid and we missed them this weekend. Luckily they were not hit too hard. Our top doctors across the country now say it is inevitable that we all will get it. The protocol at the resort I work at, is to let the virus run its course as, they say, Covid is now just a cold, and also to show up for work as long as you are not too sick. Considering Lisa and I have elderly loved ones in our lives we are erring on the side of caution. With that said we sure have missed our grandchildren.

Been keeping an eye out for auroras to the north, unfortunately the night skies are cloud covered during this warm spell. However, the wet and warmth really saturates the colours of the mountains and creek beds. The greys, my favourite colour Lisa says, come alive in the clouds, sky, mountain side and water.

I found two veal shanks at the store today for $7. Rib roasts were going for $55 per/kg. A 4lb roast was $110. I wondered if anybody would pay that price or if it would go to waste. CBC says we are in for a good bout of inflation.

The shanks and bones are cooking now. We are looking forward to them. If inflation gets too bad I may have to sight in my rifle and buy some shells.

Down at the creek today I looked into the deep pools for fish. My eyes are bad so it ain’t easy. One, good sized, turned on its side and flashed silver like a falling meteor. It felt good to know they’re down there.

It seems each day we lose more. We lose the backroads, the fields we used to run, the watercress in the creeks, the giant firs thicker than logging trucks, the night sky given away polluted with satellites promising internet, the gentrification of hometowns everywhere across Canada, while characters with grumpy dispositions and sawdust in their boots die off and are replaced by more realtors, brokers, politicians and, so called, professionals. People who, when asked, can’t explain what they do.

It has dipped below freezing. The skim of water will become treacherous under foot as I grow older.

warm spell

that damn moon

+ 5 all day. melt coming off the roof. clouds gathering on the shoulder of mountains. walking in puddles. still warm air. feeling good.

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.

this & that

A nice weekend. They sure fly by. Lisa and I did manage to get out for a couple walks. Last weekend we went snowshoeing and wanted to try and get out this week but couldn’t find the time.

***

I had to replace my windshield wipers on my truck. I looked at the flyers and saw they were on sale at NAPA. I hadn’t been in there for years. The last time was not a great experience. Overpriced shit with dipshit clerks. However, that was years ago.

Time to give them another chance I thought. The first thing I noticed when I went in was the four people in there, two at the counter sitting at stools and two clerks on the business side were not wearing masks, even though they are mandated by the Provincial Government for businesses. Not a big deal I thought, even though my mask was firmly pulled snug over my nose.

Dust was on the product and shelves. I found the wipers but nothing marking the ones on sale in the flyer. A matter a fact, nothing had a price on it. I understand this is done because automotive stores have different pricing for different customers. Automotive mechanics get the lowest pricing, I expect to pay the highest. Which is okay with me as long as I get decent service.

Now this is where NAPA let me down. Even the four jokers at the counter were doing sweet bugger all not one of them asked if they could help me. A matter of fact none of them even looked in my direction. I could have been naked with dynamite strapped to my torso and I don’t think they would have even noticed. Most automotive stores have a chart beside the wipers that tell you which ones fit your vehicle, this place didn’t have that handy chart.

One of the guys kept telling his story that ‘fuck’ was every second word. I doubt he would have told it differently if I had of been standing there with my grandkids.

So I left, climbed back into the truck with Lisa, told her, regardless of new management NAPA is the same old place.

We drove up to Canadian Tire and 5 minutes later I had new wipers on the truck. Also got a better price than what NAPA advertised in their flyer.

***

The sun went down this afternoon and the sky turned red. It was brilliant while it lasted.

We are expecting some warmer weather this week. I have to say I’m looking forward to it.

***

Covid cases are spiking again. It seems the experts and government advice this time, with the Omicron strain being milder, is to let the virus run its course. The messaging through our health system and legitimate news sources (CBC) is all over the place, often contradicting themselves. 

The truth is they probably don’t know what the hell is going on anymore than any of us.

The anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers are all yelling from rooftops, ‘WE WERE RIGHT’! The vaccine didn’t work, even though it prevented death when the more virulent strains were dominant, and their other mantra ‘COVID IS NO MORE THAN A COLD’! Excuse the nearly 5.5 million people who have died worldwide from participating in the joy.

I’m not sure what I would prefer more; dyeing from Covid or listening to the noisy conspiracy theorists celebrating.

***

Perhaps the best thing to do, is stop trying to think we can save the world, or even think we can make a difference, and start laughing at it. There is plenty of comedy being peddled.

Rest

The Columbia River freezing. If it backs up far enough it will take out bridges. It’s good to see a small glacier advancing regardless of season.

It has been so nice for Lisa and I to have a few days to spend with family. We have been fortunate to all be in good health with plenty of food to share. Last year we said we would figure out a way to be together come hell or high-water.

It’s turned chilly at about -25°c. Tomorrow is back to work and it’s supposed to get colder with the windchill. I’ll probably be in a plow cleaning up parking lots, shovelling off walkways and tending to guests minimal problems.

With the Covid Omicron strain running rampant I will be ducking my duties with guests unless it’s urgent. What is urgent – fire and flood, everything else can wait. My job description doesn’t include getting Covid because somebody doesn’t know how their DVD player works.

However, I am a realist, due to how quickly this variant is spreading, I get the feeling we all are going to have trouble staying out of this disease’s path.

Steamboat mountain at the left. Sitting in the middle of the Columbia. Like a big steamboat or where the river boats could be heard signalling to the ragged folks watching them pass?

The sky has been deep blue on occasion, the snow covered mountains incandescent in the sun long after the valley bottom is in shadow.

I woke up early this morning to chase stars. It was overcast. I went outside to make sure, and saw light spikes to the NE. I knew what they were right away. The air had ice crystals and the lighted billboards along the highway were shining straight up.

They looked cool, some of them shined then dimmed. It’s Christmas. I thought it would make a good shot, but it represents everything I hate; light pollution, billboards with faces of realtors, standing sky-high, selling off the valley to the wealthy oil executives to the east. And also the plight of the people on the Shuswap Nation that feel they have no other option but to do business with these arseholes. Not that that is an excuse. I can only try to understand.

The snow beneath our feet.

Once the sky goes down for good after a day of shining strong the landscape turns grey, ground to sky. That’s when our lives become real.

For me, I protect what I love and tell them a bright day is coming again tomorrow.

On Top

Mines, farms and clearcuts take away from the blue sky above the Purcells.

Monday after being off for three days. The truck fired up no problem since I put in a new battery. The windows needed scraping. I jumped in. The radio started. Peter Frampton, Do You Feel Like We Do. Monday felt better all of sudden. It was the fourteen minute version that just about gets me to work, even with a stop for coffee. I was rolling in when it ended, expecting some talk, instead the radio doubled down, Creedence, Fortunate Son. I had to stay in the truck till it finished risking being late. By the time I walked in for my shift I was jacked. Monday was beat before it started.

A mature Ram takes a sniff for something to rut with. Luckily he didn’t consider me anything but a nuisance.

The Palliser

White water.

We set out to find driftwood 35 years later. It is a good spot the Palliser rushes towards a series of falls before joining the Kootenay in the valley below. The wood from its tributaries banks are pummelled and smoothed in high water, left on the stones once the river goes down, like gold in the sluice.

We found love in this spot among the large boulders, on top and behind. Because of that our kids saw the same rocks.

looking for patterns.

The river always takes me, down, the flow, the rush. When I was a youngster it all seemed so natural. The quartz and blue water whispered in my ear, cascading into canyons that if caught in the current would mean death, since we are not, after all, driftwood, our skin only a thin layer of bark.

Now we are older, we poke around, picking up rocks, turning over polished wood, watching the current. It’s the same place my Father opened a can of peaches with his pocket knife in the rain. Where my Mother said the light was good. Where we were cautioned and in turn cautioned our children about the power of the river.

a reminder

A Raven at the dump, saying don’t feel sorry for me, you filthy bastards!

It’s good to wake up and not have to go to work. A long weekend gives that little bit extra. Fuck laying the clothes out on Sunday. Rushing, getting a shave in, reconstructing your constitution, always important to see you through.

To have a whole other day is a reward. The lawn ain’t mowed. The beans aren’t in. Still time to putter. Have a beer between jobs. Entertain Willow. Lounge at breakfast. Read the paper. All the good ones are online now. I am going to be pissed once my eyes go for good.

A smart man would take advantage of this extra time. After all the shit could hit the fan at any time. Still the odds are in my favour. It’s been awhile since an astroid hit, so excuse me if I take my time.

The wild orchids are up same as the spinach. Hummingbirds test the feeder and chase each other off.

It makes me wonder where my personal responsibilities lie considering the state of the world. How can I be happy when bombs are falling in the Middle East, when lies are being pushed be governments and officials of every creed?

The mountains are getting a dusting of snow. The frost is off for a few days at least. The plants will feed us through summer.

The stars are up each night. Doing their best to shine into my soul. They remind me to fight for what I think is right, but most of the time, they remind me I am part of something huge.

They remind to take advantage of what has been given. I can fight at the drop of a hat, but I have to be reminded to watch birds.

April

Spring dusting.

Most spring days are strange like the weather and I like that. Took off for the Kootenay on Saturday. Willow and I rounded up some firewood. It wasn’t hard. The Kootenay was clear as a bell and I could have brought back supper if I had half a mind and a rod.

Lisa asked if I worry about my head considering, concussions, sickness, drinking and all the rest. I said nope, I remember things just like I want to. I know this is selfish.

It did piss me off coming back with a load of wood not remembering the creek my father and I stopped for water. There was Fade-Away Creek, Witness Creek and Bone Dry Creek, but damned if I could remember the small trickle that crept, ice cold, filtered under a thick canopy of full grown spruce around mile 9.

A Ruffed Grouse

I stopped at the creek and the water was just as good. That’s what’s important after all. Perhaps the name will come to me.

The time between still early and damn late is shorter as you get older.