You see, Cape Breton is stuffed full of micro-climates and these days my muscles are threatening to bring out the guillotine and start chop-chop-chopping off the cloudy-headed mini weather pattern’s barometers unless they cease and desist.
A couple of weeks ago we were hit with hurricane force winds and rain. So the snow left over from a previous storm began melting away and pouring its juices into the river. The winds and the flood waters took at least another six trees down. Two fallen trees also blocked our lane. Out came the chain saw.
Test question: what’s one of the main differences between a maple tree and a spruce tree? Answer: the maple tree is a deciduous tree and the spruce tree is a coniferous tree. Deciduous trees are hardwood. Coniferous trees are softwood.
See, I know the answer. So why didn’t I think about this piece of info when the chain saw was cutting and zooming merrily through the spruce tree? Why didn’t I recognize that a maple tree is a different kettle of corn? Because it is “harder”. So why did I stupidly not bother to make an undercut beneath the incision I’d inflicted on the top of said maple trunk? Which led to the maple tree putting a death grip on my chain saw’s guide bar and chain. My excuse is that I was in a post-flood-plus mice-piss-in-snow-blower-foul mood. Anyway, I used an axe to get the tree to let go while I tried to shout over the river’s incessant babbling, “Let go, you basket!”
We live in a forty-five foot trailer. It falls a tad short of being a palace. Yet when I got up one morning, (as I usually do, thank goodness), and peered out of our bedroom window, I witnessed a beautiful sunny day. I then hitch-hiked to the front of the trailer, where our living room resides, put some wood into the wood stove, started the fire and when I turned around to look out the living room window, guess what? It was pooping snow. I kid you not.
A few weeks ago we were in the city, where we were enjoying its attractions. Pubs, taxis, libraries, movies, stores, malls, people, cars, more people and cars and noise and restaurants and buses and noise and smoke and fumes and a part of me was loving all the stimulation and conveniences. But the other part of me soon began to give me the elbow and clear its throat and nudge, nudge and it didn’t take me long to get the message. I was missing the quiet, the fresh air, the quiet, the animal sounds, the cawing, my snow blower farting its way down our long lane, the quiet, no exhaust fumes and nights with bona fide darkness. Where we can really see the stars when the clouds aren’t dragging their asses across the firmament.
I have a theory. Like most of my theories, it’s probably rife with error but here it is. I think that people become slightly neurotic when they are in an environment of constant stimulation. Maybe their brains close up a bit so they won’t become overwhelmed by the excitement and the constant exposure to others.
David Thoreau wrote: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Who needs wilderness nowadays? Don’t we have the virtual world? Don’t we have poorhouses?
“When you tell a story or write a poem, it is from your point of view that you select, reject, arrange, make form. The thing you write about must interest you wholly, must seem so vital that you accept no current or approved view of any item of it, but look at every constituent from your point of view...”
And maybe that’s what we’re doing. We’re living life from our point of view. Creating, just like somebody created a Walmart or a Costco. Creating something different is what makes a life or a story or a poem vital. Our story.
Hang on, one more quote from Sydney Cox: ”You can hardly fail to notice that the writers who most delight and challenge you do not look at anything from quite the angle that any of the broad terms designate.”
A brief mention of my friend and bicycle, Buddy Lee. He is miffed. Ticked off. Because he was evicted from his wood shed apartment and put into the tool shed. Which is not convenient because it’s way back at the corner of our yard. And he is sharing his living space with the bad, destructo mice who maliciously attacked Grinder, who is now living in Buddy Lee’s old bachelor pad. I just didn’t have room for both, and I specifically told my bike that he would not enjoy living with Grinder. Not unless he likes mice pee perfume.
Next blog I might try to explore why I like to give names to such critters as my snow blower and bicycle. Have I mentioned that my truck’s name is Basque?
Have a great week.