ever-present mountains

CRW_0009Wilmer

The March winds are starting to blow. It won’t be long the ice and snow will break up, turning every patch of standing earth wet and muddy.

The birds have been singing and I even saw a few young Bighorn rams clacking heads. It’s good to practice the the fight and fuck so when they get older they’ll be good at it. It’s the same for humans whether we think so or not!

signs of spring

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Planted peas, lettuce, beets, radish and carrots today. Tomorrow, time permitting, I’ll get the onions and spuds in. The challenge is leaving room for the warm weather vegetables like tomatoes, beans and squash.

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An article on CBC said Canada gives $65 million in aid to war torn Yemen, while we sell $284 million in military goods, weapons, bombs, etc to countries using them against Yeman. The article said, it’s kind of like partially paying for the crutches after you break someones legs. 

The garden looks good. Tons of worms in every fork full. The fall garlic is up. I noticed a spot where one did not come up. I dug around. Sure enough I had planted it bottom side up. It was growing downward. I flipped it. I think it will be fine.

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We like to be smug in Canada about our civility and place in the world.

Willow and I got higher on the mountain than we’ve been since the end of November. It rained while the sun shone. Plenty of snow higher yet.

I talked to a man who was battling cancer. He said he stopped paying taxes. He did some work for me. Said, the government spends money at every turn, including paying themselves first, while he scrambles just to feed himself. The government froze his bank accounts. I paid him in cash. I noticed he charged me GST. I considered it a tip.

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It’s all alive now. Not that it wasn’t before. The trees are budding. The creeks are flowing high, muddy, moving rocks and wood. The birds are noisy, flying into each other. They have a courtship I can’t understand but envy none the less.

We walked the road less taken of the three. Looking for dead fir. Marvelled at the easy going. Saw a pile of bear scat. Willow stayed close. Walked until the snow made our feet wet. Walked until we could hear the melt under foot and in the distance.

RCE_9639The Moon, power lines and Jupiter

There are spirits in the trees. I can’t see or hear them, but I know they’re there. There’s squirrels and grouse, bears and elk. Perhaps it’s the roots buried only inches under my feet. Spruce, pine and fir as deep as they are high.

They may as well be stars.

Lyrids

_LME7294-Pano_smThe Milky Way through clouds and spruce. Two scratchy satellites can be seen on either side of the tree on the right.

The annual Lyrids Meteor Shower is on. Willow and I were up extra early to look for streaks. I have had good luck seeing them in the past. There was clouds, but also a few windows with stars peaking out.

Snow still lines the edge of the road. Most roads are still snowed in once you gain in elevation. Still it is good to be in the mountains. Even on a cloudy night the Milky Way shines through. The owls hoot and hunt. Willow keeps watch and wanders a tight perimeter. 

_LME7272-Pano_smPeaking through.

The Lyrids were hard to come by. I saw one long streak directly above. It was dim but travelled the overhead sky in about 3 seconds. My camera was trained on the ridge, missing it.

_LME7263.jpgClouds catching the light of the valley bottom.

I took a few pictures hoping a star would fall into the frame. I caught a small bright meteor below and pointing back to Vega in the constellation Lyra. 

_LME7287A Lyrid glows green through the trees at the left edge of the picture.

Willow and I sauntered back into the valley bottom. The coffee shop was just opening. They offered a doughnut hole for Willow that she eagerly accepted and gobbled.

Perhaps we missed the peak. It may be worth going out again tomorrow morning. 

a piece of April

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The Robins that were late returning seem to be everywhere now. They have been poking around the manure and compost in the garden. A fork full of dirt reveals worms working the soil. It’s time to put my back into it and get ‘er dug. I haven’t looked yet to see if the Robins are cleaning and refurbishing last years nest. I will give them privacy until the foliage returns and they can hide behind the drapery.

fort

RCE_9396smLow clouds cast shadows on the ice.

The ice on the lake is hanging on. It will take either wind or rain to get rid of it. The ice wasn’t as thick this year as the year before. It snowed on the weekend and I was glad to see it. I like winter. There is something about fresh snow and spring clouds.

Spring is coming. I’ve always liked late snows.The birds are making lots of noise. The rhubarb is breaking through the ground. Soon the garlic and last year’s lettuce seeds will be showing. I should dig the garden early this year. Get the spuds, carrots, beets and peas in early. As usual, I started a few tomatoes and weed plants inside. Black Cherry and Early Girl for the tomatoes and a Sativa for weed. They will be ready to transplant by the end of May.

The backroads are mud, ice and snow; in that order. I have been keeping to the valley bottom for Willow’s walks.

A few winters ago I spotted what looked like a treehouse from a distant hillside perch. It is a spot I only walk in the winter. In spring, fall and summer it would be well hidden with foliage. I have always intended to check it out, but deep snow always deterred me.

On the weekend I found myself again looking at it across a mile wide coolie. Still hard to see, it kept starring back. Since there was little snow I thought I would finally check it out.

RCE_9384Three windows, aesthetically placed.

It was a bit of a scramble, through thicket and deadfall, the route I choose, but other than carefully crossing a small patch of thin ice over moving water, it was a nice walk. The treehouse had been there awhile and had been abandoned for just about as long. There was no way into it, not for me anyway. The ladder was long gone. There was a thin rope hanging. Too old and thin for me. I stayed looking up, where I belong

It wasn’t the work of kids. It had two sunning decks, a locking door and three framed windows facing east. Not a bad set up. My guess it was built by young adults for a place to squat during summer while working trades, though the trade wouldn’t have been carpentry.

Packrats had shredded a bed or mattress and stuffing lay below the fort. Willow enjoyed going through it. She loves chasing rats when given the opportunity.

RCE_9389Watch that first step.

A roll of poly lay covered in forest debris. Old beer cans scattered. Those beers must have tasted good on a summer day watching the sun leave the eastern mountain tops from such a vantage point. Most of the trees used for support were dead or dying. The firs would survive. They will be stunted but standing long after the fort disappears entirely.

It was a steep haul back to the trail that the here and there snow made double difficult. Should be a quick melt from here on in.

Early April

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To be young, feel the wind, the cold and the pull of the clouds on a string. I remember back to those days, only a short walk from where Cooper flew his first kite.

The bunch grass overlooking a frozen lake, the blue mountains majestic, tho we didn’t consider them, since they’d been there since we were born. Same as the lake and the train hauling coal and sulfur.

Times are different. It’s not necessary to fly a kite anymore. It’s not necessary to see it dip and learn when to run.  To pull the string and walk with the wind, watching it stagger, then when the moments right, turn into the breeze and watch it dance back into the spring sky. It was essential once. It was essential to let out all the line, risking the high winds that could send it crashing back to earth. But to master those winds was a craft indeed.

It’s not necessary anymore. There are so many more important things, I’m told. My problem is I never figured them out, nor considered them.

Cooper got it right away. The string, the wind and the sky. It’s nice being his Granddad, because I get to show him good things, while he reminds me how lucky I am.

Very fine day.

Jumped

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Chased a Kingfisher around the sloughs. It was having fun with me. I’d get the camera to my eye and it would launch into the sky a chatter and waving. It came back when I turned my back, trying to get my attention. I am old enough not to mind being made fun of.

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A herd of Goldeneyes took to the sky when we crested the hill after the tracks. It was Willow’s fault this time. She considers the shore and river her own. I tell her she is too small to think so, but she doesn’t listen to sense; never has. I’m guilty too. It’s a miracle, sometimes to our detriment, we get to hang onto our beliefs. So far the coyotes have been kind enough to let us continue to lie to ourselves.

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A Bald Eagle stood for us. Even turned it’s head away, not concerned, looking to the slough in the west. It whistled to it’s mate hidden in the tangle. They will be picking chicks off the water soon. Diving for newborn lambs on the crags above the river. Some will loose their balance. The smell of blood on the rocks below will bring Magpies, Crows, Ravens, the Wolves will get a whiff, by then the Eagles will be back in the trees, nesting.

nest

Willow is much more comfortable with all this than I. She raises a ruckus over the littlest thing and cares naught over swimming the river that rises quick once the sun reaches midday.

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Sometimes it makes me wonder who’s in charge. The Big Dipper is pouring by midnight. The Coyotes yip yip at the waxing moon. The first of the owls who who in the morning before light. All this while I keep steady.