Sparkles in the Air

Today is a little warmer than it has been only -15C. The sun in shining and you can see the air frozen into tiny sparkles. I like to look for the little things and the quiet sounds. Be still and the wilderness will talk to you, will stir your soul.

John Muir said “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, while cares drop off you like autumn leaves.”

The wilderness is fragile, and we must respect this vulnerability if we are to protect the wild animals and the land they live in. Nature writer Fred Bosworth warned us “If we go on as we are, we will destroy in the next 50 years everything that poets have been singing about for the past two thousand.”

We have not seen many animals lately, except a small group of moose making its way across our back yard, they must keep moving because the wolves are not far behind. We had several fat grouse sitting in a willow tree close to the deck. They reminded me of the Christmas song about partridges in a pear tree. They had puffed themselves up against the cold and looked like small turkeys sitting on the twig like branches. There are no new tracks in the snow so it seems the animals have moved on for a while.

We enjoyed some ‘Indian Candy’ that was given to us in fall. That is salmon that has been smoked using brown sugar and maple syrup, it is absolutely delicious. We reasoned that we could do it to trout. I have so much trout that I have started giving it away and I know the fisherman I live with is only waiting for the weather to get a little warmer before he ventures out to catch more. So today we are getting out the smoker and having a try at making our version of ‘Indian Candy’ with the trout. I wonder if that is still politically correct ‘Aboriginal Candy’ or ‘First Nations Candy’, either way it tastes good.

Hard to imagine

When I first arrived in Canada I was surprised to learn that women, I suppose some men too, made their own bread, baked cookies, made pickles and did all sorts of things in the kitchen that I had always assumed were done in the stores. All cakes and bakery items were bought when I was growing up, I had assumed that one had to be a professional to even attempt such stuff.

I guess that might be a product of boarding school staff and the home helpers who assisted my stepmother . I did not know how to cook, sew, or do anything even remotely housewifely. I had never picked up a vaccum cleaner or dusted a shelf, there had always been others who looked after these things. I had never even gone shopping for food. Hard to imagine isn’t it?

However, I am here to tell you that this morning I baked bread, made a cake, prepared chicken for canning, and my house has seen a vaccum and duster recently. I made sure my three sons all know how to cook, do simple fix it sewing and how to plug for a vaccum in, I hope they will be good husbands and not wait around expecting someone else to do the work around the house.

No other place to live

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, which is BC’s largest park, is relatively close to us, about 150km away, which is close by our standards because we travel almost that to go shopping. The park is nearly 4,0000 square miles of varied landscapes and terrain. Between the lakes that bound it on the north and the glaciers of 11,590 ft Monarch Mountain, 140 miles to the south, lie towering granite cliffs, deep canyons, meadows and marshes.

Most of the park is unchanged since Alexander Mackenzie camped there on his journey to the Pacific in 1793. Lord Tweedsmuir visited the park in 1937, while serving as the 15th Governor-General of Canada and he wrote “I have now travelled over most of Canada, and have seen many wonderful things, but I have seen nothing more beautiful and more wonderful than the great park which British Columbia has done me the honour to call by my name.”

We live in the same type of terrain, with the largest natural lake in British Columbia just down the road. The beaches are a rock hounds paradise, pink granite and green copper stones among many others can be easily found. Snow capped mountains are visible year round, and such a variety of animals and birds. I can echo Lord Tweedsmuir’s sentiment when I write that I have travelled to many places, both here in Canada and around the world, but I have yet to find a place where I would rather live.

It is hard for me to think, when I see so much diversity, that mere accident was its cause, rather than God planning it to be so.

Leaving a legacy

One of the blogs that I have listed as one I particularly like is “Turning the Pages of Life” by Gene Bach. He often has thought provoking items, one of which I quote here.

“Each of us, in our everyday lives, are writers. No, we may not be using a pen but, through our words and our actions, we are none the less producing a living, breathing legacy. What we do, what we say, how we act and react are all laying down the chapters of our existence. “

His observation ties in, I think, with what I have been pondering today – my purpose in life in this new time of retirement. Previously my purpose seemed clear but now it is a little hazy and maybe needs redefining.

I have a book on the shelf, that I have never read, for no good reason except it looks as if it might take some soul searching on my part, and I haven’t wanted to do that lately. The name of the book is “The Search for Significance” by Robert S. McGee .

What Gene is saying, and the title of the book, caused me to think that everything I do, say, or not do or say is part of something significant, therefore is my purpose. My mistakes, or successes are all part of it. My purpose in life, I suppose is to be part of the script about living, learning, growing, and dying. The mundane things of life are just important in that script as the more exciting parts, I surmise.

I have three sons, born in an abusive marriage, which now, Thank God, I am no longer a part. However, if I had not endured that marriage, these wonderful young men would not exist. Was their existence more important than my putting up with something less than ideal for a time? I think so, and because of that I cannot wish that I had not been part of that marriage.

I think I am rambling, go to Gene’s page and read some of his insights I think you will appreciate them.

Some of our neighbours on the road

Today we went out for the first time in a week, to travel into town to get a few groceries and attend our little church, about 100Km or 60miles distance away. It was -22C with the wind chill making it feel like -30C.

The big lake has not frozen over as yet and a mist was rising from it in wisps, because the water is still warmer than the land. I would love to see the moment in time when it freezes, the still water suddenly turning to ice. I think it would be rather wonderful to see. Apparently the Artic ocean does the same thing.

As we ventured down the road we saw several ravens sitting in a single tree, their feathers all ruffled up to conserve body heat. They take turns in flying up and down the road looking for road kill. I guess it conserves energy for one at a time to look for a kill. Ravens are considered to be more intelligent than dogs, I would imagine it is a different kind of intelligence though.

As we rounded the corner we saw four large moose browsing on the willows that border the road, and another moose, who was firmly planted in the middle of the road, staring right at us. We had been told never to hoot a horn at moose, as they take quite severe exception to your rudeness and are likely to attack your vehicle. So we crept closer and eventually it obliged by walking slowly to the side of the road.

Travelling on, we passed the small lake in which we like to do most of our trout fishing. It was frozen solid, probably a foot of ice by now, and strong enough for moose to walk across. The ice fishermen will be out there soon. They drill a hole and sit over the hole and wait. Sometimes they even light a fire out there on the ice.

Further along we drove past the beaver pond that had been built, in the summer, across a small stream that runs near the road. The beavers will be hunkered down in their lodge, in relative warmth, only venturing out under the ice to their refrigerated larder for a snack of willow which they had stored away in fall.

Finally, we arrived at junction of the highway, the sun was so strong on the snow I had to put on sunglasses. While in town we indulged in Kentucky Fried, sharing some with Annie, our dog, who came on the trip with us. In all 100km we saw five moose and two cars, my husband said, “You know you are in the wild when you see more moose than vehicles”.

So now we are home again, and I am writing this while my husband has the TV on and he is snoring in front of it.

Rape of the wild

Kitasoo legend says that Raven the Creator, went among the bears and turned every tenth bear white to serve as a reminder of a time when the Earth’s great glaciers covered the landscape.

In the beginning of time, the world was white with ice and snow. Then the Raven came from heaven and made the world green, as it is today but he wanted to make something to remind himself of the beginning and its whiteness. So on this Island, this special piece of paradise, he went among the black bears and every tenth one he made white. That way he could remember the world as it was. Then the Raven issued a decree: “The white bears would live here forever in peace”

The Kermode bear or Spirit bear is a beautiful white bear that lives in the rain forests of British Columbia. The Kermode bear is not a polar bear, nor is it an albino but a sub species of the black bear. There is a recessive gene which both parents have to have to make the black bear white. There can be a family with white and black bears at the same time!

Logging companies have their eyes on these rain forests with trees that are hundreds of years old and logging has started in some areas, thus threatening this unique bear.

When will we ever stop this rape of the wild?

Information about Spirit Bear by TARA – Petlove Promotions

Not so grand a gesture

A few of the blogs I have been reading lately are writing about communication and I remembered this incident when I wanted to communicate acceptence and respect, and maybe I did, but it may not have been the wisest of gestures, when I think of the situation that the man was living in.

In 1968 I was twenty-one, and had recently emigrated to Canada. After a year in Toronto my friend and I decided to move to British Columbia, and we thought that taking a southerly route through the United States was a good idea. We decided to take a three month break in order to see the country, and accordingly we loaded up our old Pontiac Impala with all our meagre belongings, plus camping gear and left Toronto, heading across Niagara Falls into the States.

One event of that move, came to mind the other day when thinking of trips I had taken. We were walking on a street in a town in Georgia, I forget which, and an elderly man was walking towards me. We made eye contact. Here was my chance, to make a grand gesture. I stepped out into the gutter, and stood aside, in order to let him walk by.

Did I in fact show that man respect, or was it idealistic conceit and ignorance? A young, white girl moving out of the way for an old, black man, in a time of great friction in the southern states regarding black and white people.

On reflection, perhaps I did not help that man but made his life more difficult. Not only could I have stirred up trouble for him with others, who witnessed the act and would blame him somehow, but what did that action do to his heart. Did I stir up old wounds, or did I encourage him? This side of heaven, I will never know.

Have you even done something meaning well, but on later reflection may not have been wise?