Beauty in Gloom

rain-diamondsIn this persistent gloom, one still finds subtle beauty. The rain on this tree hung like diamonds.  Accasional gleams of light made interesting


needle-grass-in-rainA hint of sun in the fog, but that was all we had.yellow-fogThe pond had been frozen but then it thawed, and now it has started to freeze again.frosty-sedgePuddle ice is always fun.puddle-iceI have had a couple of new visitors to the bird feeders. The pine siskin stayed around for only a few days.  Sometimes they gather in flocks of 100 but are always sporadic.  He is slightly smaller than the chickadees but definitely the boss.  (Again, apologies for the poor quality of photos – I am still using an old, not very good camera, which performs even worse in dull light.)pine-siskinAnd the little downy woodpecker has been around.  (Downy because of his fluffy “moustache” – the hairy woodpecker is very similar but slightly larger, and his “moustache” is bristly.)downy-woodpeckerOne day, at the top of a power pole on the lower property, I encountered a magnificent pileated woodpecker.  Not so common here but very striking.pileated-woodpeckerNot long after I last wrote, we had an afternoon with incredibly wild wind gusts.  We often get windy summers, but wind goes with sunshine, and this year has been virtually windless.  Combined with the mild, wet season, this meant all kinds of rot quietly took place, and our windstorm bowled over the dead beetle-killed trees like ninepins.  I waited 2 days before I tried to drive my road, hoping that casual users would clear some of the first three kilometres, but I got landed with the lot.  Took me 2 hours to cut it out.  Most of the wood was too skinny and branchy to be of much use for firewood, but the tangled mess was sometimes difficult to clear.road-clearing-1road-clearingThen I backpacked my little chain saw over my trails.  Sometimes I could just reroute, but this tree was awkwardly placed with a willow-choked ditch on one side and a swamp on the other.  The tree was hung up and had to be dismembered with care.tree-on-trailAt last!  Not too pretty (and a long way to backpack the wood home) but the trail is now usable.cleared-trailNearby, I saw what I at first thought was an odd burl on a fallen tree.rabbitThey are common enough – the dogs chase them all the time.  But to see what sitting in full view like that is very unusual.  Looks like he’s got most of his winter coat.  I wonder, with global warming, if their moulting times will have to change.

On a couple of occasions, the rain stayed right over Kleena Kleene.  Once it was fine half an hour west.  The blue slice of sky stayed above the trees all day.rained-all-dayAnother time, I planned a trip to Williams Lake.  I woke at around 2.00:am and heard the rain pattering on the deck.  It was 4 degrees above freezing – at least I would not have to worry about an icy road.  It was pitch dark and raining steadily as I left.  About 40 minutes east, I drove out of the rain.  It didn’t just stop – for here, the road was completely dry.  I could see stars as I drove.  The sun rose about 2 and half hours along the way.r-sunrise-to-ws-lkTown was hot and windy.  The temperature reached 21C (70F).  What an incredible treat to drive home with the windows open.  But as I drew west again, I could see the storm ahead.  it seemed to have stayed put.s-storm-aheadJust about the same place where I drove out of the rain in the morning, I headed back into it.w-near-tatlaBehind me, it looked like summer.  This next picture, and the one above, were taken only a few hundred metres apart.rear-view-mirrorSoon the wipers were going flat out.x-streaming-windshieldNearly dark when I got home.  It had obviously been dumping rain all day.z-my-road-in-rain-stormIn the morning I could hear the river, which is audible from my place only during a flood.  Sure enough, it was at spring flood height.  river-floodWe had a disastrous flood here in 2010, when warm rain washed all the snow off the mountains, so we were all worried that the same thing might happen.  At least I had plenty of gas and food this time (the 2010 story is told in Ginty’s Ghost.)

Before I close this post, I want to talk about a comment I received referring to the last two pictures of the previous post – the dead bull on the road.  The correspondent called the pictures disgusting.  I am sorry if she was offended, but it never occurred to me that they were at all obnoxious when I posted them.

The reader must have been a city person.  No rural or wilderness dweller would think twice about seeing such things.  City folk lead a very isolated existence as all the nasties in their lives are taken care of.  They don’t have to dispose of their own sewage or garbage, find their own water or shelter, create their own power and so on.  City folk don’t even have to think about these things.  It is very scary, because these people, who know so little about the real world, are, by their sheer numbers, the ones making our political decisions.

Here’s a bumper sticker for you: Nature is not a Walt Disney movie.

7 thoughts on “Beauty in Gloom”

  1. The world is much bigger than one idea,one view, one political move.We cannot sum up our life styles in one tiny picture. The very fabric of life is indifference and as such we all depend upon each other to our very survival. Embrace! Not all city folk are absent from the world or the nasties as you call it.If some person maybe vegetarian has a great compassion towards animals, thats thier bag. You seem to believe all city folk are dummies. Your rather insulting and sounds like that maybe, the wilderness has consumed you to one thought, you.Although your blog is very nice and i do enjoy your stories,i cannot understand your lack of knowledge, that the world grew up.

  2. Chris, we enjoy your ‘blog’ very much. Your photographs are amazing.
    Have a wonderful Christmas, and we send our very best wishes to you for 2017 and always. Good health and happiness.

  3. Chris, your photography is fabulous. I look forward to the posts. Hope that Nanaimo will be a tour stop next year. Keep well.

  4. I dearly love your blog and read every post here in my city life of Brooklyn, New York. But to paint all “city” folks with such a broad brush is as illogical as it would be for someone here in the city to decide that all wilderness dwellers must be uneducated hicks. Cities have every kind of person and personality imaginable. And I and many many of my friends are raising our kids in a way that ensures that they know that meat does not grow in the supermarket aisle — that when we eat hamburgers and chicken and bacon it comes from animals that were killed (hopefully painlessly) for this benefit.
    As for who is making political decisions, is you followed the US election closely you’d know that most major cities voted (overall) against President Elect Donald Trump and his potentially disastrous policies toward the environment. Most of his base is from rural areas.

  5. Life is certainly not a pretty picture all the time and despite your beautiful photography, it is still the wilderness which is a reality quite separate from city life. I totally agree with you.
    But that’s not to say that all city dwellers live in lala land. Poverty, gang life, street people etc. have a harsh reality too. If some choose to ignore it, then that’s another story…
    It is a huge topic
    Barbara recently posted…Signatures Ottawa 2016My Profile

  6. Chris – am excited to read your new book that you helped Harry to write!
    As for your pictures – you are so artistic no matter what medium you choose.

    I am watching Alaska, the Last Frontier quit a bit. Life is clearly very “real” there as well!
    I am absolutely not equipped to live the very full and vibrant life you live – but am envious of how adept you are and how fearless.

    And Harry and Badger have a great life with you.

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