Fuck Zoom

RCE_5926Willow agrees!

The world is changing and there is plenty I don’t understand or know how to navigate.

Last week I had my first Zoom meeting with four other people. It was a business meeting. I found it awkward. I didn’t realize how much I rely on body language and looking into peoples eyes to understand what they are saying. From my perspective I was half blind.

I believe they were also at a disadvantage, however they were more experienced with the Zoom experience than I. They were also all younger than I. Perhaps the only disadvantage was my age. Like I said the world is changing, social cues are also changing, for instance I’ve never felt bullied by something someone wrote on Facebook.

Two of the people in the meeting, were obviously not interested in being there. Although they were the ones who requested the meeting they were disengaged. Maybe it was the hour (early).

Everyone was in a makeshift office, kitchen, bedroom or home office made to look impersonal, or professional as they have been taught, no personal pictures at your desk etc. A bright spot was when a dog barked, I made light of it, but it fell on deaf ears, they were gone to shut up the dog.

To be distant in such an environment is easy, to be engaged is difficult.

I failed at this first meeting. I am getting old. There are new ways I don’t understand. It’s unlikely, at my age, I will ever get it. That’s okay with me. I prefer my meeting face to face, even if it’s six feet apart.

And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even really like the company of people.

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.

father

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The crows keep me posted each morning. I’ve noticed the three young ones are getting brave, wondering further apart. The mother is still in the highest trees looking out. I’m the first to arrive at work and she greets me with her caw, caw. My sister Deb told me to listen for the sound between the call, the silence, as it is part of their language. I skim the pool of ants and bugs, most still alive, getting the pool ready for the guests to enjoy pristine swimming. I put the bugs over the wall for the crows. They’ve come to expect it and the only reason they await my early arrival.

***

A touch of rain tonight, true enough to make the garden grow. The peas have already out grown the fences. The brassicas leaves cradle the rain, holding the precious lenses, magnifying purple veins. The broccoli is sky high, the kohlrabi is billiard ball size and the cabbage can’t be denied. 

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***

The weed is well on it’s way. Weird not to have to hide it, like I’ve done for the last 20 years. Not that I tried very hard. They will be turned quick and have the entire month of August to bloom.

***

Had a large Wolf Spider in the bed the other night. I saw it as I was getting in and swooped it onto the floor. Instincts kicked in and I squashed it. Deb puts spiders and bugs outside, she does it with a feather duster. I don’t have one. Usually I just leave them alone. I was afraid the spider would give me bad dreams, but it didn’t. Perhaps I’m too old to feel. I killed a snake once for no good reason when I was a youngster that haunts me still. It’s important to be careful about what you kill.

***

My father got me looking into the sky and the running creek. It’s been my downfall and my salvation. 

***

When you get older the apologies never given start to add up. I wouldn’t help with homework. I was distant. I was younger then, full of anger that I thought was virtue. Looking back, I’m not sure I could do anything different. Every injustice rippled through my body and reflected out. I tried to teach them through my indiscretions that they didn’t have to be like me.

That’s the best I could think to show.

***

The swallows swoop in the evening, I think of them as giants. Dinosaurs flying through the air from ancient times, mouths open, eating mosquitos, chewing through clouds, just in time to reveal the setting sun.

hard in the mountains

RCE_5991Rare Yellow Orchids 

Lisa thought it was a good idea to take a trip behind the mountain and look for Yellow Orchids. I thought it was too early.

We walked to a spring where we have found them before. It was tricky as we had to find a crossing to the creek that was running quick. Sure enough, Lisa was right (should I have doubted?) and the Yellow Orchids had just started to bloom.

RCE_5983Oregon Grape, blossoms promising a good year of ‘grapes’.

We also noticed plenty of young cones on the pine and spruce. Oregon Grape is covered with blossoms, possibly suggesting a good crop of the sour pitted fruit.

RCE_5986Young Pine cones covered in pollen. Pine pollen is used medicinally for many ailments. I told Lisa it is also said to boost testosterone, she said, ‘we should take some home’. I chewed on a few cones on the way home. Very sweet. Sure enough, I was harder than algebra when we pulled into the driveway. Unfortunately, Willow wouldn’t let me get close to Lisa. What nature gives, nature also takes away. 

It has been a damp year so far. The plants and trees seem to be enjoying it.

early June

RCE_5618More rain in the valley bottom, snow in the mountains. We took an extra special trip behind Swansea, beside the swollen creek running pure mud, under a canopy of black spruce. My kind of day Lisa remarked.

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It would be nice to have a rainy year for a change. It does the bush good. I expect the bush to be extra busy this year with people from out of province camping in every nook and cranny due to campsites being closed to out of province visitors. The rational for this decision is to keep people close to home during the pandemic. Both Alberta and British Columbia have implemented this rule.
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In our neck of the woods I have already seen Albertans camped in the damndest places with, motorbikes, ATV’s, trailers on jacked up trucks, booze and loud music, sky high bonfires and not a drop of water in a five mile radius. It’s a recipe for disaster. At least if the recreational and commercial campsites were available to them they would be kept in check with plenty of water available and threat of a scolding if they get out of hand.

It started to pour, we were back down too soon for my liking.
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thunder

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The garden always grows after a thunder storm. The rain that falls beside lightning is special. Full of nitrogen science says. I figure it comes from the sky in a hellacious crash and that’s got to be good.

The shed provided shelter until the rain stopped. Luckily I’d hid a couple beer in there for a rainy day. They were just as I like them; aged to perfection, woodshed warm and dying to be drank.

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rain mostly

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It makes me feel like I should be in the bush, slipping and sliding, looking for spruce to take shelter, the bears like it, snapping off flower buds, so why shouldn’t I take a bite of those big yellow dandelions, more fluorescent as fall sunflowers, both on the verge of kissing colour behind.

planting schedule

RCE_5234Willow tries to harvest gophers.

There is a whole lot of theories out there. Some say you plant when the snow is off Baldy, or when the snow pulls up Three Finger Slide.

Others say you keep a close watch on worms, two weeks later, the tender stuff, like tomatoes and squash can go in. Frost and greening of grass, count too.

As for seeds, put them in whenever, even the year before.

RCE_5191What’s down there?

If I had two hundred years to plant a garden I might get it right.

This is only my thirty-fifth garden, not counting my father’s and grandfather’s gardens, that I only ran through raiding radishes and carrots. 

It’s life, those plants, they can be delicate, but most time strong, like everything I guess.

The storms are close to the mountains, the snow is melting in rain. It will start sliding. Down here we keep watch and try to make sense of  it all.

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Early May

RCE_5093Don’t make such a rhubarb about the current goings on!

Covid19 precautions are starting to ease in Canada. We are seeing more tourists. Shops are starting to reopen. About two thirds of the vehicles on the highway and around town, on the weekend, are from neighbouring province Alberta, ignoring warnings not to travel outside of your home province.

The ambulance has been out several times today, a sure sign the roads are getting busier with tourists.

It should be reminded, we are as susceptible to this disease now as we were two months ago.  The only thing changed is we have learned to social distance and bought time to possibly better ready our health care system. Numbers show most are still vulnerable to contract the sickness. This will remain so until a vaccine is developed. It will be interesting how we go forward.

RCE_5096A handsome Flicker.

Five years from now, we will know better how we managed this illness, did we overreact, was there things we could have done better? Right now we move forward with the information we have.

Strange times. One good thing in our small community; it’s amazing to see people forgetting about money and tourists, choosing instead to support each other.

love

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The Lyrids are flying. Tomorrow they will peak. Weather permitting Lisa and I will be out fishing for them.

We went out tonight to test the waters. As soon as the coffee was made the clouds rolled in, we went out just the same.

I am easily discouraged these days; clouds, moon interfering. I long for dark skies with starlight so bright it casts shadows, the treetops tangled in a bottomless sky and the rivers running silver.

Souls, like bats, fly so close they take my breath when I duck my head.

Lisa pushes me until I see the beauty.