Bears and bambi

16 07 2009

Well, Dear World, It was a day to remember.I took my morning Java out to the verandah to greet the day, smell the air and listen to the birds. It was a morning in paradise. Even in the space of time between the beginning and the end of the last post ‘Gapping Out’ the dandelions yellow insurrection has lofted airborne and disappeared for another year in a mass parachute exit. It was a truly lovely visit from dear friends. In their place the forget–me-nots have taken centre stage along with the deeper blue of the periwinkle; and now the false nettle with it’s variegated leaves and bright blue pennants amongst the long grass’ green shag. (Yes mister pedant grammarian. A fragment!) I looked it up to find it’s botanical name but couldn’t find it. But what wonderful names flowers have! Pale trumpets, purple ground-cherry, baby blue–eyes, etc) A greeting party of exquisite swallow-tail butterflies loops erratically around the lilac which is now filling the morning air with the most sensuous perfume as the sunshine floods in. I stood and watched them for twenty minutes or so. It was an incredible  display. They would land on a blossom and plunge their proboses into it. Immediately after, as though hit by crystal meth they engaged in multiple tag like a bunch of kids. Watching butterflies looping flight I had always thought of their erratic  movements as some kind of genetic tick that had fortuitously   helped them avoid birds. But when you see three or four of them whipping through the air like a kites tail in a high wind you realize that they are in full control. It is an astonishing sight. For awhile they loop around and then break formation  to splurge on nectar again.They must be so high!. The day is filled with the buzzing of the  bumble bee’s promiscuous fumbling amongst the crabapple’s pink underwear.A little later as I sip my  coffee a doe walks confidently  between the plumb trees heading for my tree-nursery space . I address her gently, “Good morning!My Dear” I explain that I don’t want her pruning my tender little tree seedlings, thanks very much. She stops and turns her great eyes on me . The morning light glows through her ears as she listens, chewing a plum leaf, a long stalk of grass sticking out of her mouth, before ambling slowly away. A beautiful and gracious soul. I think she is pregnant. I go inside for a second cup and  curl up with it in my little breakfast bay. A dark form takes my attention. A large black bear is padding silently past about two feet away. He passes  on the other side of the window. I put down my cup and run to the door. I know this guy. Even as a two year old he was  indifferent to people and wandered towards humans to check out my fruit trees with a nonchalance that brings to mind an image of Mike Tyson passing through a cluster of adolescent males. And I would happily share a bit of fruit with him except that his idea of ‘a little fruit’ is fifty pounds of green apples at a sitting—long before I can eat them, and the same with the plums. And worse, he disdains climbing the trees ( at which he is very agile ) and instead prefers to snap off all the branches one super-bear-swipe at a time. Furthermore he begins his larceny at 3 am, as I used to as a young poacher. Which is unfair. So he has become ‘persona-non-grata’ meaning that I shout at him, put up electric fences, set alarms and even fire rock-salt at his black hide the way the  King’s gamekeepers used to fire it at me when I was a rogue teenager in  merry Olde England. So I went outside and shouted at him. He turned and surveyed me scornfully and walked insolently away, stopping to snuffle in the grass for the odd insect, frog or root. He was in no hurry and I wanted a little more respect, I guess, so I jumped into my Old Blue Toyota pickup and rode it at him across the meadow. This did impress him a little, as it would me, and at the end of the meadow he shinnied up a cedar for about ten feet and then surveyed me. The next moment he jumped sideways like a squirrel from a hanging-on position on the branchless cedar trunk onto another cedar about five feet away. Bears never cease to amaze me even when we don’t understand one another.That was the beginning of the day. I had shopping to do and set out for the nearby town about 45 minutes away. There I delivered some of my books, and received a parking ticket for $50, and caught a thief after he broke into my car and wrenched out my ashtray for the small change. I suppose I was disrespectful of the poor wretched man and admonished him. I always give to people who ask me for money and I guess I felt he had stolen my opportunity to be generous, though, of course, it isn’t generosity the panhandlers want and need. It is equality. I then collected a notification from the Taxation Assessment Authority telling me that they intended to try to tax me off my land because I wasn’t a successful enough farmer. At that point I decided that I had had enough of the hot grabby city and jumped into my little red ‘89 Tercel back to the woods. Remember that song from the fifties.. “ Bumble, bumble, bumble I don’t wanna leave the jungle , oh no no no! NO….?” I’m out of here! Cities are full of nibblers forcing us into unselected labour. “AAAAarrrrgh! Home, James! And don’t spare the horses!”

Well this is turning into a very bucolic post this time and  I have to report a birdy tragedy. Mama goose who decided to nest on the roof of the swamp house has sat a full thirty days. I have checked up on her daily  and many of the days have been sweltering hot and the roof of the swamp house is metal. I guess that at last she realized that she was trying to hatch hard-boiled eggs and quit. This is the second year the  poor creature has  lost her clutch and one cant help realizing the incredible difficulties birds encounter in reproducing. The beautiful little humming bird in her exquisite nest lined with spiders-web fabric has lost one of her eggs, probably whipped out when the wind thrashed the branches. But now there is one minute beak showing over the edge of the nest. When I think that those  creatures only survival tool is a tiny beak as big as a thorn with which to collect the materials of a nest, construct it , secure it to a tree so that it wont fall, and then gather the food to feed its young, I cannot withhold my amazement and admiration. They speed through the bush like a hurled dart and  can snap the brakes on and stop dead in thin air as though they had hit a window. . Amazing! In fact I never find dead humming birds beneath my windows. When the Canadian summer is over they truck off to Mexico or other parts of the tropics. Truly amazing!

Well, that was all awhile ago.Right now I  have just come in from my cherry orchard where I have been picking. It is a voluptuous occupation—standing up on a ladder in the lush, green foliage , milking the great clusters of magenta cherries into my picking bag. Between the leaves, the deep blue sky. Is there another kind  of paradise? Well , maybe there  are as many paradises as there are people and as many hells. But a couple of weeks ago I changed the lock on my  country mail box because it was misbehaving. And promptly lost the keys to the new one. I searched and searched confident that it was merely another manifestation of my brainlessness. They would show up somewhere. I  must have put them somewhere safe— another  way of spelling l-o-s-t. Finally, giving up on the  madness — or to put it another way after looking in my left boot for the keys for the third time –I decided to cut the lock. I took down my huge bolt cutters and snipped the  hasp. Inside was a cornucopia of paper. I actually weighed it on my pottery triple beam scale. Almost half a pound of demands, summonses, warnings , and other unpleasant missives. It took me more than half a day to deal with them—actually I still haven’t fully dealt with them – and set my mind a-longing for my little rented room in Asia at $7.50 per night and NO MAIL. Just about all the nasties had one thing in common— they were manifestations of our economic system and its imperatives. Which is to say that money must move. It doesn’t matter  whether or not it moves in ways that are  high or low-minded, deeply planned or trivial, good  for the world or bad. The hands that shuffle the dirty paper that runs this world can be evil or benign. Whether  it is a charity organization or  the mafiosa moving the money makes not the slightest difference in the long run. Our economic system is utterly and irrevocably a-moral. All that  matters is that money should move, so that , as it moves the nibblers  can take their bites. Nor, in the long run is there the  slightest difference whether the money extracted from your  trembling fist is extracted by government or a mugger. The only manifestation that the system is working is the polizaration of capital. I lend you a few hundred dollars and a few weeks afterwards  you are deemed of being indebted to me for a few hundred dollars plus. The lender  considers that the hundred dollars, should grow into a hundred and twenty if working correctly,—as it should work. The borrower is concerned that the hundred ( and twenty) he borrowed should earn him more. In the world of finance it is called ‘interest’ and in the world of physiology it is called metastasizing. In other words cancer. The greatest problem with our economic system is not merely that it impoverishes increasingly large amounts of  people in increasingly larger measures. It is that it doesnt care and is oblivious to the fact that capital polarization leads inevitably to bloody revolution in which the children  of borrowers and lenders both, are massacred. Equality is the only stable social stasis.

But – there we are. We are all complicit. What is our economic chemotherapy? And that is my rant for the day. In the meantime it is getting hotter and hotter. Harder and harder to work.And even harder to think.Since this post has taken so long to put together I am going to send it off as it is and truck off to Vancouver for all the summer festivities for a few days and then race back to harvest the remainder of my cherries before the bears get to them and then back to load and fire my pottery kiln while the weather is still hot.So much to do! So little time!

Back into confusion. So long, Dear World Until the next post.




One response

18 08 2009

Hi Laurie…I suppose that you often wonder if anyone reads your blog. I have it bookmarked but forget it for long periods and have only just caught up since March. I enjoy it very much since your descriptive way with the language is soooo pleasing to me.
It seems that our crazy,speedy lifestyle leaves us so little time to enjoy our language, and sound bites ,shortcuts and abreviations abound.
Thank you, my friend…….Mike

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