Christmas Zoom

 

“Thazzit?” Hopefully the White Christmas business is over. Thank you!

Two days before Christmas I sat watching the desert fly by. Cacti, and rocks and dust fling by the handle bar of a motorcycle where a video camera was mounted. The bike is participating in a rally in The Baha desert. I love the desert by I can’t understand why anyone would want to beat themselves, and their expensive piece of machinery like that. Just because I don’t get it does not mean it’s wrong, it is just not for me. I’d love to be there in fact, right now, on a motorbike, but idling along; Fred Quixote, the happy wanderer. I’m a lover not a racer. Outside my window here, a grainy snow sifts down, ahead of a forecast for a heap more snow, then torrential rain.

And the creeks did rise. There was flooding which subsided quickly.
"Follow me. Don't worry, it's too cold for snakes."
“Follow me. Don’t worry, it’s too cold for snakes.”

Television news this week is full of reports of cancelled flights and backed-up air terminals as people complain about who is to blame. There are claims of never having known storms like this before. Really? Do you actually believe yourself? It doesn’t taking much digging into records to see that there have been plenty of winter storms, fiercer, colder, snowier than this. A funny thing happens when you plan to travel during winter, you have to deal with winter storms. Yes really! Your agenda has nothing to with what the weather gods determine. It’s called reality. Don’t take it personally. It is not the fault of any airline, or weather forecaster.

I find it ludicrous that Canadians expect that by stepping through a few doorways, and waiting a few hours, you can move from a country known to be a wintery place and always arrive, on time, in some lower latitude tropical paradise. Even telephone calls don’t always get through. Reality, and our expectations, are often very far apart. There are still seats available on the all-inclusive Christmas tour of the Ukraine. For no extra charge, you can pick out an orphaned dog or cat and bring them home with you. And then, there are the children.

Bacon ‘n eggs. The pig is committed and the chicken is involved. Actually this one’s a rooster!
Winter weather brings the elk down to low ground. They’re very tasty too but it’s wonderful to see natural wild herds on the roam.
The bulls have shed their antlers already, but they’re still noble creatures.
This old farm boy will admit to hating goats. But, I’ll also admit, they do have a certain charm.

With Christmas past, the weather has warmed, the wind and rain have hammered away much of the snow. We have survived our day of grief missing those we so loved and are now gone. The wee dogs and I will soon head out, hopefully there’ll be no more slush-hopping. With wind slamming the trees around it may be a good idea to stay out in the open. Four days later, after another “weather event” of biblical rain, the snow is completely gone except for the receding heaps we shoveled so high last week. Now our lowlands are flooded as usual after heavy rain. Folks, as usual, are looking for someone to blame. Frankly, I’ve little pity for people who are determined to live in bottomland that is repeatedly flooded. Hello? Hello?

End of the home stretch. One more spawn at Christmas time. The colour is right.
Five on the hook, waiting for a cargo just before Christmas as another storm blows in from the sou’east.
Winter sleep
A glorious visual moment after two hours of snow-shoveling. It’s pretty up there.
Spider morning.
Follow me. He’ll never catch us. “Gawd, I hate spiders!”
The trekkers
United we stand.
Winter park.

And so we have survived into a New Calendar year. Fireworks intermittently hammered under a beautiful clear sky until after 3 am. It sounded like yet another assault on Kiev. Life goes on whether we like it or not, suck it up and go do something. Wishing everyone health and happiness with good things to look forward to. May you find contentment in the moment.

The watcher. From deep inside an old alder, yet another bark owl peeks out.
Juniper. We’d be shocked to learn how old this venerable beauty is.
Trincomali Bonsai. A  winter view toward Ruxton Pass during a solstice high tide.
Thet yer RV? A good mattress and two saddle bags, all you need. Due South!

You are never too old to reinvent yourself.” Steve Harvey

2020

First Light, New Dawn.
May you live as a free as a dolphin.

A low slab of solid grey cloud extended eastward. Beyond that hard edge, well out over the strait, a band of azure sky was pierced by the jagged peaks of the mainland coastal mountains. They were coated heavily in fresh fluorescent snow which gleamed against the pure blue. It would be crackling cold up there but the sight was cheering. A thin rain continued beneath my island’s cloud. And so the day wears on toward the year’s end.

No berry like a snow berry.
December Rose in a Ladysmith alley. Small but lovely they’re grand to see in winter.
On the other side of the house at the same time Forsythia blooms for New Years.
No complaints.
The neighbourhood book exchange. In a front yard beside a sidewalk in
Victoria. Note the rubber lizard peeking out.  Lovely huh?

I use an old anecdote about climbing mountains. When you finally get to the top of one, you find the apex is not level, often cold and windy, a poor place to rest for long. But you are rewarded a grand sense of success as well as the incredible view and what you see are more mountains. One in particular calls to you and off you go, heading toward it as directly as you can, sliding down steep dangerous slopes as you realize that going down is more difficult and risky than climbing. Finally in the shadowed valley far below, you find yourself up to your arse in the middle of a bog. It is then you must remind yourself that you are actually climbing a mountain. Move forward, one step at a time.

Jack and I walk past this building nearly every day. It looks like a blacksmith shop to me. I love blacksmithing and in the cold rain I can feel the searing heat of the forge, see the bright yellow of hot steel, smell the near-molten metal and the coal smoke, taste the grit, feel the jolt of the hammer on anvil and hear the ring of steel on steel. We walk on in the winter wet.
The way we were. The tag says Canadian General Electric. I found this old radio in an apartment window by the sidewalk. Note the slides for pulling the chassis out of the cabinet. Replacing the vacuum tubes was a regular chore. There was a testing machine and racks of new tubes in nearly every hardware store. I remember listening to these kinds of radios. The cabinets are lovely and collected by some folks.
Corner unit, third floor, no balcony. Same apartment building, more of the way we were.
The man cave. Past the apartment, down the alley. Someone took grampa’s TV and now he refuses to clear out the weeds although he took out the garbage.
Light at the end of the tunnel. Walking the opposite way the path goes through a tunnel under the highway. A homeless fellow has taken up residence.
A few blocks away uptown is a remarkable contrast. An old-style butcher shop still graces the main street. There is excellent fare but I don’t understand how folks afford it. The fish prices are per 100 grams! Remember when poor people ate fish and lived by the sea?

It is another New Year’s Eve. I’m happy to put this past year behind me and look forward to a better one ahead. May we all have someone to love, grand things to do and plenty to look forward to, all the while doing no harm. Long may we climb.

The fairy grotto. Not hard to imagine little flitters in spandex!
And so the daylight is increasing. Yeah right! I’ve tuned up the exposure on this shot 1 1/2 stops.
How about walking a little old half-deaf black dog at 4pm?  That dark blotch on the path between the two big trees is Jack. Guess I should get him one of those jogger’s tail lights.

Happy New Year.

 “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —J.P. Morgan