Crazy dreams, cozy. People alive, that haven’t been seen for awhile and plenty of dead people too. All the people I love or did.
Had my head down today. In and out of a plow, shovelling snow. It was just a skiff. Winter eases us into its season. Sometimes it can be a bastard. Freezing beards, crawling up ankle socks, long underwear and Lullulemon britches, which are similar if not the same thing, when I wear them my ass looks anything but nice.
Wood heat, electric blankets. Putting your head under the covers and flexing. Whatever it takes to keep warm.
Shovelling, plowing, gathering around the fireplace.
All those friends and family in the dreams working hard to keep warm.
Damn it feels good. The cooler weather has been a welcome reprieve. It’s still warm for this time of year. Waking to cool air has been nice. Pretty soon we will be ‘fighting for warmth’. That’s what my son Hunter calls it, when you pull the covers over your head, and flex your muscles to keep warm. Probably why many families in the old days had so many kids before central heating.
The summers are trying, heat and tourists. Lisa and I thought it would be funny if fifty years from now, people looked at the large second homes and thought, ‘Damn, what were these folks thinking? Global warming and not an inkling of thought to try and cut back. Can you imagine the energy used to heat that monstrosity?’
It will probably never happen. The final answer to the pickle we are in will have to protect the richest. Otherwise it would have been solved long ago. It’s not that hard really.
We had breakfast behind Swansea. We took a spur away from the ruck. Plenty of bear shit on the road, they are also trying to avoid the crowds.
Even wondering cutblocks, climbing logging roads, looking for dead snags, a chicken or two crossing the road, washouts, Lisa and I looking at each other in glances, her saying, ‘you should put it in 4 wheel drive,’ and me saying, ‘I’ll put it in four wheel when we’re stuck.’
The weed is coming. Same as the cabbage. It’s a good thing it grows from the inside out, all the grasshoppers and wasps grabbing a drink from the big leaves will be left outside. Once cool comes they will take off, the wasps will be slow by then.
The carrots are harder than a stripped turtles back. Somehow, this year, so far, the skin on the ripe tomatoes is thin. The spuds are plenty, thou I worry about them drying in this weather. It used to be they would grow into October. We would sort them and put them in gunny sacks for winter.
Times have surely changed. It’s tough to defend the old ways. They weren’t good that’s for sure. Not sure why I keep a foot back there.
Still that’s where my foot planted feels most at home.
The creek hasn’t changed. I can carry anyone off the ridge and down the mountain if need be. Don’t ask for a drink of tea or rest.
The garden is peaceful, same as the mountains, the sun sets in the same spot, but looks different every time.
We were up early to beat the heat. We headed for the backroads in search of berries. Our first stop yielded a half bucket each. They were small. By 10:30 I was ready to call it a day. The heat was picking up. Lisa said we should try further up the mountain. We hit a cut block where the berries were bigger and more plentiful. Willow ran rampant chasing rodents. We picked, filling our buckets, admiring the view of valley bottoms and towering mountains. I gave up figuring we had enough. Lisa kept going, thinking every berry was for her grandchildren. They love the jam.
Once done we were both hot and thirsty. Willow was laying in the shade, tongue hanging out.
It was a big dog, face twice the size of mine, docile. It would have been okay if it wasn’t for the two cougars following me. The older was injured the young one was following along. Dogs are smart, instinctual, they smell fear. I was the intermediate between both worlds, cougar and dog. Not understanding either.
The old cougar woke up, knocked out most likely, saw the young one. The big dog knew right away the game was on and started barking, slow and deep, its giant face, jowls and eyes jiggling.
The cougar reared back and made itself twice as big as the hound. There was no reason to step in.
The last dream. I was playing hockey and had to put the puck in an empty net and couldn’t do it.
Usually something goes wrong.
But sometimes I am swimming in the deep water out at the logs. Doing backflips into the lake when the sun goes down, while a girl in jean shorts straddles the log watching me. If the time is right I elevate into the sky. That’s better than anything conscious or dreaming.
Willow asks if we are going fishing tomorrow and I tell her, ya.
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.
The garden is coming. We have enjoyed some wonderful salads. Everything is up and if I don’t get the fences up for the peas soon they will flop over and will have to be trained.
The rain has been falling for a couple of three days now. The grass is knee high. The good neighbour Larry’s feral cats, the mother and kittens, are starting to wonder around. She took up nesting under his hot tub that hasn’t been operational for ten or fifteen years. The cat’s a calico. Larry’s a radical. Not sure how the kittens look. All I hope is they stay across the road, which they won’t. Larry might, but the cats will wonder.
We still can’t see the tops of the mountains due to storms. If it heats up the snow will melt up high, the rivers will swell and the wetlands will flood. It’s been a long time since Athalmer has been underwater, lot’s of fill and dykes. Can’t say it won’t happen again.
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.
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.