Cherry ree in a coal heap. a remnant of the glory days of coal mining and export. Environment was a world seldom used and misused.
Between the sea and the mountains. Burnaby, once a suburb of Vancouver has become another urban jungle.

November 11th. We had a windstorm last night. Half our leaves are gone and the starkness of winter descends. I always say things about Remembrance Day that inflames someone. I’ll keep my pie-hole shut except to say that we really need a day to remember all the innocents who die in wars which are always about someone else’s greed, usually far away form the carnage. There is no-one standing to the haunting strains of the ‘Last Post’ and thinking of the thousands of children dying in Gaza, Israel, Ukraine and other places we’ve simply forgotten. There is no point in remembering anything about war if it is still not in the past tense.

You’re probably wondering why I called this meeting.

Lately we seem to worship the infinite possibilties of artificial intelligence. No-one wants to consider the overwhelming force of genuine stupidity and that we have not learned anything through the ages. Our weapons may have evolved but our penchant for cruelty and destruction remains immense. Frankly my perspective leads me to feel that the war-dead, military and civilian, are the lucky ones. Their pain is over. It is the survivors who carry immense burdens for the rest of their days that we the ignorant elite cannot comprehend. It is also part of my silent rage that the Americans must have a finger in every pie. I understand that they truly believe they offer help but goddamnit! Stay home and clean up your own mess. Maybe a lot of the world’s troubles would disappear if you retracted your missionary compulsion to make everything just like home.

I’ll keep my uninformed opions to myself. There is no media source which is trustworthy, there doesn’t even seem to be concern about using language correctly. “No doubt eh?” (Yes really) You have to put together the pieces of conjecture to arrive at a vague overview of the approximate truth. Every time I have had firsthand experience with an event which the media covered, their account left me rather mystified about what they are talking about. But today of all days, when our noble savages who went to the other side of the planet to “Defend democracy” are touted as heros, and we see images of wide-eyed traumatized children huddling in the rubble of Gaza… don’t you want to ask a few questions? Then, after all the lip service and horn blowing, think of how many of our vets are treated so poorly. It is bullshit!

It is a sunny morning, most unusual for November eleventh. I remember standing in a military uniform at various cenotaphs, always in the cold pouring rain, listening to trumpet solos and some medal-chested geezer droning on with cliche sentiments. I don’t intend disrespect but do wish folks would peek out from under their blinkers and try to grasp a bigger picture.

Another fine day. Nanaimo in the autmn sun.

The dogs are asleep in their wee beds and I’ve been perusing advertising as I look for a small travel trailer. Folks, if you really want to sell something put some basic information up front. Make, year, length and please lay off the bullshit. “No leaks in roof but four walls are water damaged.” I see! There is a venerable wooden tugboat, now a liveaboard, being advertised as “Lovingly restored above the waterline but needs some work below.” Uhuh. That’s nice.

A head of its time. The tasty tidbit, a long way from the stream is proably being enjoyed for supper at this moment.
Here today, gone tomorrow; a lot like us.
This delicate beauty looked edible to me. But I didn’t.

November 12th dawns grudgingly. It is bleak, grey and slimy damp. Life stumbles on. My knee which awaits replacing throbbs mericilessly like a ten-pound toothache. It is amazing how that seems to suck the energy out of a body. I remember the grumpy old folks of my youth and finally, I get it. Still, today is the only day available and we may as well make the most of it. The dogs knows only how to live in the moment and they want to go for a walk; NOW.

This damned leaf leaves me feeling awfully tiny.

And now, on the 15th, I’m getting around to posting this blog. Life gets in the way at times. I’ve had time to think about what I’m saying and I’ll stand by every word. So there!

Out of ballast, heading for a cargo. “The same mystery which floats a vessel in a fathom of water, provides bouyancy in a thousand.”

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” Bertrand Russell

Don’t Forget

Remembrance Day. The weather is typical, cold, damp and rainy. I recall parades on this day over half a century ago when I was a pimply Air Cadet. I’d stand in rank on rank at attention in my immaculate blue wool uniform, very heavy Lee Enfield rifle sopping wet with rain or snow, fluttering pigeons trying to crap on the uniforms. You’d get an itch you dare not scratch and then the bugler would blow the ‘Last Post.’ Warm tears in that cold rain. At the time it was somehow romantic and en-nobling but then I grew up some more. It is always the young people who get charmed into going to become immortal. I got to know some real veterans and almost went to Vietnam (because the US Army would teach me to fly helicopters for free) That’s another story.

After getting to know some of those people I can tell you that Remembrance Day is more than a little twisted. Yes there are hundreds of thousands of military personel who never came home but there are uncountable thousands of dead and maimed innocent civilians that were left behind. Conveniently we don’t take time to remember them. Of the veterans who made it home, there are thousands with shattered bodies and minds who truly pay an ultimate price over and over again. We try to ignore them.

War is no video game. If you think so, try an all-inclusive holiday in the Ukraine or perhaps Afghanistan.

Well, there’s my annual Remembrance Day rant, but remembering the horrible consequences of our base human nature is a daily obligation we all need to fulfill. Pray your children do not get called to go run the gauntlet.

To The Dead