mid October

RCE_3988-PanosmKiller frost playing hell with the vibrance.

The leaves are thinning, starting at the top. I can’t say I’m sad to see them go. Green has always tricked my eye. I can’t see depth or discern between it’s different shades. The bush is turned deep again. The bears are revealed, along with elk, a mile away, scratching on slides, and dead trees, way back, begging to be cut and split, and I’d agree with them if only they were closer to the road.

The Tamaracks are turning, the snow is lowering and it’s getting damn cold in the morning. The long underwear is on till April, even if we do get a warm spell. Willow is taking no time growing her winter coat. She gives it a scratch now and again.

_LME3622Willow hanging in the skuff.

The wood is in. Next year’s still has to be piled. And I’m the shits at piling. Crooked rows, uneven spacing between blocks, shaky disbursement, all in an effort to mix up the types of wood.

IMG_2372Many brag, but few can deliver both length and girth.

An armful of split wood for the fireplace should contain at a least two, if not three species, cedar to get it going, pine to create a good hot base and larch to burn hot and slow, crackling once and awhile just to keep you hypnotized while the snow builds up.

It won’t be long now and we will start work in the dark and get home in it as well.

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story time

 

_LME8758.jpgAn hilarious day. The sky cleared during the night and got down to minus 10. I got to work early to enter yesterdays jobs because the computer wasn’t working the day before.

The groundsman came in next and said, fuck it’s cold, I hope the irrigation didn’t freeze.

Next, the young guy came in and said, what should I do?

Since I ain’t the boss, I said, whatever.

The groundsman said, go check for ice.

We hadn’t had any moisture during the night so that meant, driving around in the cold looking busy till light.

The young fellow radioed and said, we are going to need more salt to melt the ice.

I said, you have two buckets.

He said, they are already used.

He also said, you guys should come out here.

When we got there, every sidewalk and staircase was covered in a thin layer of ice. It looked pretty in a Disney kind of way. . . and dangerous. I imagined someone coming out of their building looking to the brilliant morning sky and stepping on the walk and going ass over tit.

I said, what the fuck is this.

The groundsman said, shit, I forgot to turn off the irrigation.

The sprinklers had turned the resort to ice.

The inventory of salt was in storage a mile away waiting for winter. Since the managers and supervisors with keys to the storage don’t get in till sun up. I grabbed the bolt cutters, jumped in the truck, and got the salt.

We poured a shit load of salt on the resort and had everything thawed by the time the guests awoke and the managers arrived.

Of course, I will have to explain a cut lock at the storage unit, but I’ll think of something.

The groundsman, still walked into the lunch room at 9 am and used the toaster to make toast and peanut butter, even though we don’t take coffee breaks, like nothing had happened. If I was him I would have been ducking my head.

The young guy impressed me, once the sun was out he swept up all the remaining salt. It looked like nothing had happened.

Not bad, I say, for three guys getting paid a pinch more than minimum wage.

The rest of the day was pure sunshine.

Ray

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Last month we had the honour to accompany Ray Crook out for his 101st birthday supper. 

Lisa and I took him out for his 99th and we attended his 100th. His 100th was a big celebration with lots of his friends and dignitaries.

The conversation was good as it always is with Ray. It seems we always learn something. He enjoys talking history and told us some tales of Kootenay National Park where his family had a service station at what is today, Crook’s Meadow.

Ray also talked fondly of my Grandfather and Father. He and my Father cut trail throughout the Park when they were young men, boys really. Many of those trails they cut, such as Floe Lake and Marble Canyon, are now used by many people.

Ray liked going to Strand’s Restaurant for fish and chips. Unfortunately, it recently closed so we went to Elements at Copper Point Resort. Lisa and I thought it was a good choice because we knew they served fish and chips, not that Ray eats a lot; he does, however, like his ice cream.

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Many people came over and wished Ray a Happy Birthday! A little girl came over to see what was written on his dessert, when she saw 101 she had a look of amazement!

We were treated to dinner by one of Ray’s old friends Bernice Hathaway, a long time local, who now lives at the coast. She said, she only wished she could be there. She stays in touch with Lisa and Ray and was insistent she pay for our dinner out. There was no arguing with her, as often is the case when it comes to the generosity of her and Ray’s generation.

Ray enjoys good health, a sharp mind, likes to laugh and can still climb into my truck on his own, which he always remarks is very quiet. We should all be so lucky.

Bradshaw Shank Redemption

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The good neighbour and I were given a few plants this year. I’d requested them and thanks to a couple sisters three plants were given to me in early spring. Much earlier than I usually start plants.  I passed on two to my neighbour as he is much better with young plants than me. The last one I was able to keep alive until it was ready to be transplanted outdoors in May.

They were seeds from Aaron Bradshaw’s plants that he gave his sister, Linda the year before. 

Linda started them on her windowsill. Aaron had left the parent plants for his sister when he died of cancer.

The plants were young at the time he passed, but grew in his sister’s backyard. It’s possible Aaron used cannabis for pain or comfort during his battle with his sickness. More than likely, it was something everyone here grows up with and knows helps with many everyday events, happy, sad, life affirming or life threatening.

Aaron was a year or two older than me. We ran into each other plenty. His father and my Grandfather were good friends. The first time I met him, I remember clearly, we were both just tots. My father took me to visit his father. Aaron was running around their house wild. Of course he was showing off for me and probably wanted me to play. But his speed intimidated me and I stuck by my father’s leg.

After that, even later, he knew he had my number, I knew it too. Growing up in this area you had to be tough. Aaron always knew I looked at him meekly. Once, long ago, he stopped me on my bike and asked me to borrow it. This is how a bike was stolen in those days. It happened a lot to me before I hit ten. He said, he just had to do something then he would give it right back. 

I gave my bike to Aaron, figuring where he might dump it twisted and broken. Instead he brought it back just like he said he would. 

Later in years, when ever we ran into each other, usually in the bar, we would talk, share some stories, about fishing and hunting. We always mentioned his Father and my Grandfather’s friendship. Like there was a bond. And there was a bond. We both grew up in this place. A place that seems to be cruel to some of the people who have been here the longest and love it the most.

Our families have had their share of feeling it. 

The plant in my garden put out some big early buds that have been enjoyed by many. I am unsure what strain it is, but it’s a deep powerful one.

My good neighbour’s plants turned out to be a male and female. After I told him about Aaron and the origin of the plants. He decided to breed the two plants  and we now have seeds for many years to come.

The good neighbour calls the strain Bradshaw Shank Redemption. I think Aaron would have got a helluva kick out of that.

fishing

RCE_3375.jpgLisa & Scarlett.

Hope is something you have if you love. It can’t be any other way. The world is vast, changing all the time, the end of the world comes suddenly and everyday for so many, as it will for all of us.

RCE_3383Free range.

That’s the end we’re supposed to be afraid of. It’s the gift that makes the fear disappear.

RCE_3496As good as it gets.

You don’t get many days fishing in September. To waste them is a sin.

RCE_3467Wild child.

The magic in dragonflies at water’s edge, or a daytime moon guaranteeing the fish will bite.

RCE_3585Dressing the catch for supper.

I’ve heard it

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Seen it this way before.

Still disconcerting.

It looks hopeless,

this time with science

on their side.

It was in the sixties. . . or seventies

eighties even

they said it the same

but different.

addiction

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It’s time to get serious, I’ve been told and I’ve been told more than once. The rivers sure look promising, same as the muddy water in those gypsum sink holes, I used to dive when I was younger. Every single time I thought I was going to die. Sometimes instead of coming up I’d keep swimming down. I did it because it was hard. Everything trying to pull me up. The air in my lungs, lifting, my eyes open, facing the current. Stinging. Looking for a breath. That’s the way it is on any given day.