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.
A wonderful Christmas with most of our children around. We missed Maddy and Chad.
Lot’s of food, of course, and presents.
Cooper and Scarlett couldn’t believe their luck and must have figured they’d been good for the entire year. Food and presents kept coming.
We missed out last year. Considering everything that went on with the pandemic, we were determined not to be apart again.
If there is a lesson to be had, it’s how to stay together in a world that we are told is crumbling.
Everything that comes over our table has truth and some fabrication. I still stick my nose out at night to test the temperature and see if the snow is falling.
It’s cold and I like it. Frozen boots with warm socks. Ice hanging off the river’s edge. Eyelashes thick with frost. Breath freezing into shapes like a Genie coming out of a lamp. Snow, swift, kickable under step. The wood splitting easy at 20°.
A few cold nights coming on. I am building a rink for Cooper and Scarlett.
I have never built a backyard rink. No need because we live so close to the lake.
However, kids are not allowed to wander like they used to, plus it might be nice to watch the kids skate while I get supper ready.
The problem is the land isn’t level. There is going to be 10″ of ice on one side and an inch on the other.
Copper and Scarlett have a lot of energy. This will do them well.
My brother Ron was laid to rest today. He passed away a couple weeks ago. It has thankfully been busy to keep my mind occupied. My bones have hurt, head, joints, I haven’t been able to think proper. Last night I wrote his eulogy. Not really a eulogy but a few stories. It wasn’t hard to come up with stories as we shared plenty of times together. My Sister Wynanne spoke wonderfully and said so much, things I wanted to say. Our Sister Deb with Kurt sang a beautiful rendition of Go Rest High On The Mountain.
Ron was eight years older than me and kept me from plenty. Times were not easy when we grew up. The truth is they were harder for him than I. Plenty was expected from him. That goes with the territory when your father gives you his name.
We fit in some good times and I learned a lot from Ron. I was always welcome to go through his records and magazines. They were a treasure trove of information for the young me. I swear I learned to read reading Penthouse Forum.
When I was sixteen he took me down to Montana where we went from one down and out bar to another. We were always one step away from getting into fights. It was probably the size of his arms, the jagged scar across his chin and his gregarious nature that kept us out of them.
One of those nights, at a topless bar, we stayed until closing. We found ourselves on the street at 3am with nowhere to go. Another patron with the same problem as us started in on me verbally. Of course he was older and bigger. Ron thought it was funny. The guy said he’d just been released from prison and I didn’t doubt it. I figured I’d get in the first shot and I’d make it a good one. While the guy blabbed on trying to rile me, I reached into my pocket and arranged the coins into my closed fist into a column. The guy didn’t see me but Ron did. Ron stepped in and put the run on the guy without lifting a finger. The guy was never a threat, I just didn’t see it. Ron said he wasn’t worried about me, he just didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in jail. He also said, if you are smart you don’t have to fight. That advice probably came at the right time in my life.
When you are born in 1956 you could go on to be a modern man or you could live a life similar to your Father and Grandfather. Men who’s only way was to push feelings down. I think Ron did this and like his father and grandfather it caught up with him. Some people inherit feelings. I believe Ron inherited his Grandfather and Father’s horror of war and their mental anguish.
About ten years ago Ron with the help of his wife Leslie, who has always been by his side, quit drinking. I never asked, but I suspect he had to lay some of those inherited demons to rest. His Grandfather and Father would have been proud.
When Ron was diagnosed with cancer he faced it with determination, grace and never felt sorry for himself. He always said, he should have been dead long ago from liver or lung cancer, the rare form of blood cancer he caught seemed like a joke to him.
The past two weeks since Ron has passed many people have expressed their condolences to me. Some have said how unfair his death has been, because he was able to put away the alcohol, perhaps a longer life should have been promised. I don’t think Ron felt his cancer was unfair. I don’t think he thought fairness had anything to do with it. He told me, it is hard to feel sorry for yourself when he saw people much younger, in the clinics and hospitals, facing their own battles with cancer.
I’ve spent a lifetime learning from my brother. I’ve followed him around all these years and am going to miss him paving the way.
A little rain to keep us sane after a stretch of high 30°’s.
Lisa and I were in the bush a few days ago. We picked 8 freezer bags of Huckleberries. It’s nice to find them plump and plentiful. Scarlett and Cooper are coming to visit and they love them.
The garden is booming, we have too much broccoli. It is being given away and frozen, but still threatens to bolt. I made broccoli and cheddar soup the other day and it was a big hit.
The peas are just about finished. The second planting of lettuce is coming along nicely. It will bolt quickly in this heat. I am considering another planting to come due in fall, perhaps some radishes and beet greens as well.
Yesterday I wrote an email to the managers where I work asking for a raise. In the email I justified the reasons I felt deserving. I didn’t send the email, I figured I would have Lisa read it over tonight before sending.
This morning I was called into my managers office. He closed the door and gave me a raise, the exact and generous amount I asked for in the email that was never sent.
I fucking near fell on the floor, for the raise but also that I had written the email the night before.
Lisa called it manifesting or co creating your world through the energy you put out. I said it sounded like a bunch of bullshit to me. More of a coincidence I figure.
Regardless, I’m thankful, very fine day.
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.
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.
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.
This could be our hot spell, the grass is dying, turning yellow along with some of the trees. It doesn’t take long.
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.
The lesson is the world will absorb us if we let our hubris get the better of us.
Five Finger Road.
Some nights don’t feel quite right. Was hotter than a three dollar pistol today. Not a cloud. Willow and I went out looking for comets and stars. The moon was waxing, close to going down. I remember these hot summer nights, but not fondly. The best was being in Lake Windermere, diving at night, not being able to see the bottom or sky.
The smell of water in the air as the earth cooled is unmistakably summer. Willow was startled by a toad. She barked. I got her away from it before she got over her fear and ate it. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have agreed with her and damn sure it wouldn’t have agreed with the toad. Sometimes you have to run interference.
The Milky Way is turning, sticking straight up and down. The backroads are calling, with their sides of long grass and dark trees. Hoots, loons, birds calling their final chirps, coyotes yip yiping, and stars moving like anything else matters.
My granddaughter, covered in raspberry scratches and mosquito bites, wondered the pea patch and brought her bounty to me to open for her. She could get into them if she had to, but she is kind.
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.
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.