“I spoke a word
And no one heard;
I wrote a word,
And no one cared
Or seemed to heed;
But after half a score of years
It blossomed in a fragrant deed.”
John Oxenham, "We Never Know"
Well, I can hope that after a half a score of years, my writing will blossom in a fragrant deed, or at least a deed of some sort.
Anyway, as he was looking at the river, he said, “You’ve got a really nice salmon pool down there.”
That down there salmon pool he was talking about, was totally built by the river. There were no blueprints, schemes, or late night conferences, just the river doing her thing. In this instance her legacy was a salmon pool. Which had also become a haunt for the beavers. Life flows on and on.
However, this semi-blockade-salmon-pool place might be a little troublesome for us in the future. The pool has now become an area where large and small uprooted trees and branches loiter. That gathering of trees and branches has spread out since last week’s flood and is now blocking over half the river’s right of way.
Now, when it floods, it either roars over the blockage while pushing it further out into the river, veers to the left and roars over our hiking trail, (that’s a laugh, our "hiking trail"), or swings to the right and heads for the bridge. The force of the rushing water is awesome and I know this: the river doesn’t dilly dally.
Anyway, we took some pictures and then returned to our little trailer in the woods. A few minutes later, I looked out the window. My gosh, the world over the river had filled in with a bank of fog while thicker blobs were still coming down the mountain when she comes.
That’s why I say we might be living in a special place where the invisible fairy weather-makers create the weather for the rest of the island. And I don’t have a big ego either.
Here, I was surprised to find the heights swarming with tiny brownish coloured moths. Now, these moths can also be sighted around our place, but not in such numbers.
The next Sunday, I hiked back up the same mountain. There was more snow on the ground this time but there weren’t nearly as many of these wee moths. However, I did find many lying still on the snow. I figured that they were dead or waiting to be dead.
To find out, I increased my hiking speed, so I could keep up with the little fella. Well, he flew a little way further, then swerved off the trail and landed on a patch of snow. There he remained still.
I couldn’t help but think that the moth was hurrying to his dying place. And it seemed so natural and so not a big deal. Probably lived well as a moth and now he was resting in his dying place. Doing what comes naturally.
Of course this is only a conjecture because for all I know he might have been preparing for hibernation. A place where he would get a minimum of a good eight hours sleep. Whereby, sometime in the spring, he would awaken hungry, jump out of bed and begin nibbling away our forest.
Maybe, he’d even shape shift and switch into a caterpillar costume. Miraculous, really. There are lots of metaphors for death, resurrection and such which may have been floating around in my subconscious thinking when I watched the little moth lay down his head.
If anybody knows what kind of moth he is, feel free to let me know.
“Come with me
amongst the shadows
where inner wounds
can quietly heal
where anger melts like snowflakes
and love blossoms
like a warm embrace.”
John George Williams, "Come With Me"
“I love to pick
in splendid fields
for those flowers
that I pick
shall never die.”
John George Williams, "Immortal Flowers"
John George Williams is a Cape Breton poet. You can find more of his poems at: www.voicesnet.org/allpoemsoneauthor.aspx?memberid=99549
This bird didn’t make a peep. I think he was super stunned. He couldn’t even sit up straight but kept wobbling back and forth like a roly poly.
However, when I placed the bird in the container, he immediately hopped up on the side and soon had his posture sorted out.
With him perched on the plastic private room, I put the container and the bird on the deck railing, so he could keep an eye on his buds. I then went inside. From the kitchen window we could see the poor bird teetering on the edge, but only for a minute or two. It wasn’t long before he squirted up off the plastic container and was soaring off into the pasty gray sky.
Now, that’s two birds in a week I’ve picked up and then watched fly away into the sky. So I suggested something. It was only a suggestion.
I just said, “Why don’t we go to a discount store, buy up a whole whack of cheap headache pills, bring them home and mix a bunch of them in with the birdseed?”
Was that such a crazy idea?
To me, infinite means there is no end to something. For instance, if there were an infinite number of moose, then we would never have to worry about depleting the moose population. Of course there might be a moral aspect to the number of moose we could shoot or kill, but we would not have to worry about there not being any more moose.
Then there’s the word “finite”. Which may not apply to our universe, although Einstein might disagree, but it surely does apply to our earth. For me, the word means, there is only so much of something and then there is no more, if we use it all up.
So you see, I can’t get my noggin around the idea that we live in a finite world and yet the wizards out there spew out theories that treat finite as infinite. There is always getting more of this and that, or we always need more of this and that. Until the this and the that is depleted and then we won’t have any more of this or that. See what I mean? Oh where, oh where has the little boy gone who said, “But the emperor has no clothes.” Is he locked up somewhere?
Up here in Cape Breton we have much natural beauty. The tourists love it and come here to get away from the places they call home. Many of them live in communities where they can find all the conveniences they need close by. However, they love visiting places that are naturally beautiful and have been mainly untouched. Uninhabitable, some of the visitors say. But they love to visit.
To my mind, we have this wonderful preserve as a result of damn good luck as well as hard work. I’m so thankful that the people who created it and continue to maintain it had firmly implanted in their minds the meanings of finite and infinite.
However, there are, up here, some folks who plan to build in the Park a ten-storey high war memorial. Which they want to call, “Mother Canada”. This Disney World intrusion into a spectacular, mostly untouched part of the Cape Breton National Park coastline will come with tons and tons and tons of concrete, gift shops, parking lots and I don’t know what else.
I understand the need to remember those who fought to protect our freedom. I also have an idea that some day we may have to build a gigantic memorial to remember the wild places that were lost through decisions that seemed more important at the time.
You can read a thoughtful and well written open letter by Susan Zettel, if you want to see a balanced approach to this project: http://susanzettell.blogspot.ca/2014/11/never-forgotten-national-memorial-open.html I, meanwhile, have nothing more to say about this project except to repeat my mantra. Finite, infinite. Finite, infinite.
“A light had gone out from his vanquished eyes;
His head was cupped within the hunch of his shoulders;
His feathers were dull and bedraggled; the tips
Of his wings sprawled down to the edge of his tail.
He was old, yet it was not his age
Which made him roost on the crags
Like a rain drenched raven
On the branch of an oak in November.
Nor was it the night, for there was an hour
To go before sunset. An iron had entered
His soul which bereft him of pride and of realm,
Had struck him today; for up to noon
The crag had been his throne.
Space was his empire, bounded only
By forest and sky and the flowing horizons.”
E. J. Pratt, The Dying Eagle
through the ruined city
and I heard his baying echoes———--
I heard his voice ascending the hill
and at last his low whine as he came
floor by empty floor to the room
where I sat in my narrow bed looking west, waiting
I heard him snuffle at the door and
I watched as he trotted across the floor
he laid his long gray muzzle
on the spare white spread
and his eyes burned yellow
his small dotted eyebrows quivered
"Yes," I said
"I know what they have done."
Mary TallMountain, "The Last Wolf"