Monday, July 30, 2018

Sunday Morning in Paradise,Similkameen Valley, BC

I sure slept well.  I love the mattress in the Maverick camper. Quiet night. I was reading late and noted the neighbours in their campers and tents were all lights out by then.  In the distance there was the highway with an infrequent vehicle passing.  Night bird sounds.  Some breeze in the evergreens.  I dreamed fine dreams of friends and fondness. I awoke with light and fell back to sleep. More dreaming.
Then Gilbert grunted softly, his way of letting me know he was awake and bored.  I got up then and liked my little house on wheels.  Used the in house toilet. Then carried my little blind dog outside.  It was a moment of synchornicity.  My two nearest trailer neighbours were exiting their mobiles at just that moment. One had a coffee. The other was walking down to the creek with his towel.  I felt like I’d linked into the tribal consciousness.  We were the single guys here. The trailer with all the kids is still quiet and it’s been an hour or so.
I walked Gilbert. The older couple in the tent were up walking their little dog.  It seemed the thing to do. I thought yesterday was Sunday and fussed about going to church.  Only late in the day when I rode into Princeton did I realize it was Saturday.  Now it’s Sunday and the thought crossed my mind to take the KTM 690 and go to church but I expect I’ll pack up leisurely instead.  Another neighbour has come out of his trailer.  That’s the fellow with the pretty wife. The two played horseshoes down at the pit.
Gilbert liked the walk. Even though he was blind he handled walking among the rocks and boulders down to the stream where he had a sip of the water. Yesterday I’d washed him with Irish Spring soap, him standing belly high in the creek.  I threw water on him and rinsed him with crows flying overhead.  I was having a time with my flip flops getting stuck in the sand.  He got out ahead of me and proceeded to roll around in the sand before being visited by a really big German Shepherd.  Gilberts a social little fellow so having a meeting made up for the torture of being made to smell pretty.
I used the last of the ground coffee to make this morning’s cup.  I made toast on stove top toaster then smeared the four pieces with peanut butter.  With a couple of Iogo Yogurt I sat outside eating breakfast watching the birds flitting from tree to tree.  I finished off the Texas Paladin Rides Again western wondering about the minds of the guys writing these.  Pure fantasy.  Man hunting and killing and coming back to the bad woman turned good with marriage.  The marshall and the ex whore.  The marshall kills the man who reminds her of her past.  It’s horses and simplicity and revenge and morality.  Easy reading beside a stream surrounded by pine and fir.
I rode the KTM 690 again last night.  After barbecuing a couple of steaks I had with sticks of carrots and celery, Gilbert shared the steak but had no interest in the vegetables, I took the Ruger 22 Rifle and rode out on the bike.  Gilbert with a full belly was left to guard the home.
A Stellar’s Jay has just landed on the tree and then the ground in front of me.  Black tufted head and blue body.  Lovely bird. I’d been watching a couple of them flitting between the trees, now thankful to have this one come closer.
I rode the KTM up the mountain road, annoyed with the fresh gravel that makes the road a bit of a challenge. Cordoroy and lose gravel.  Once I got to the steep part I had more traction.  I decided I didn’t want to go all the way up and turned about to take the trail into the first plateau, chickening out with the first major dip off the road.  Further along I took an easier path only to end up in bog.  Now here I liked that the KTM was only 300 lbs.  I dismounted and  was just able to pull the bike out of the mud and turn it enough that getting back on I could gun it out of the mess I was in.  I gave up finding a place to target practice up there and headed back to the highway in the other direction.
I remembered a Canyon road from years past and headed up there as the sun was setting.  I’d not have a lot of light for shooting.  I also had to take a cattle trail up to the rock slide clearing maneuvering around big boulders. I stalled a few times still getting used to the gears and fearful of giving it so much throttle that it would send me off the road and down the mountain.  I really was pleased with the bike when I got to the plateau.  I’d brought a target and put that out where the rockslide would be a back drop.  I’d carried the break down Ruger in it’s soft case on a strap over my shoulder.  I put the pieces together and loaded in the Ruger semi auto clip.  Right off I was hitting the target at a 100 feet.  I set it out at the distance I’m mostly shooting grouse and rabbits at.  I was shooting a nice pattern but all a few inches low so I adjusted the sights till I was consistently putting a grouping just a half inch from the centre. I could have started on another box and got the grouping right around the centre itself but while a few had hit bullseyes the majority were still a half inch low.
Standing shooting I remembered my brother and I as kids competing for our target shooting diploma. I got the bronze for lying prone shooting, my brother got the silver for kneeling.  The range was indoor and up the street from us like a bowling alley would be.  As kids we loved it. I doubt the young people would have access to this now in Canada.  Sad really.  I remember my brother, Dad and I having a good time in that range plunking away at targets.  We didn’t have paint ball back then so maybe that’s the thing today. Different attitude.  Fantasy and war. Target practice was more precision,  like golf and putting and driving ranges.
I’d watched the sun go behind the mountain and the clouds go pink with colour. It was dark but still light enough to see when I broke down the Ruger and loaded it back into it’s soft case.  Getting back on the KTM I turned on the light and enjoyed the wide beam.  Riding over the open field trying to avoid boulders and pot holes and cow paddies I liked that light.  Going down the hill I really was cautious, first gear, braking with my right foot toes touching with my light grip on the forward brake, hard to see the rocks and holes in the increasing dark. Glad to be back on the Canyon road, pretty much a trail itself but really well lit up with the beams of light.  I liked that light beam  stretched right across the road. I worry about animals bounding out at night and a narrow beam wouldn’t pick up their eyes in the light. The KTM light was perfect. The high beam was fine too but I used he low beam as I rode out admiring the view of the winding river below as it appeared between the trees. .  Back on the highway I gunned the bike to 90 km and was back at the camp in no time. Gilbert was pleased to see me and we settled in for the night.  He stretched out on the floor. I lit a candle and read more about Jubal Cole in the western.
I’d read a couple of chapters of Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules.  I liked his reflections on the divisions of gender, yin and yang, then the next division, parental.  There’s depth in his writing.  An antidote to the superficiality that happens with so much history forgotten and all news apparently questionable as truth no longer is agreed and arts stadents want to argue the ‘facts’ of science. Fantasy so much easier than physics and chemistry.
Perhaps too many leaders are parachuted to the top.  I think of the British Navy where everyone rose from the ranks and even the admirals had climbed to the top of the rigging in the tall ships. It’s not just the radical feminists but more so the lawyers and bureaucrats who believe they can lead without experience.  So many political leaders with no experience of real life or even a sense of history. They sit in board rooms and come up with ideas and tell people what they want like the communists with their plans that lead to millions of Ukranians starving to death.  Mind and body. The drunks and addicts with all their ideas and over and over again the sober say, if you talk the talk, walk the walk.
I’m no longer a leader. I once was but didn’t like the politics I suppose.  A while back sitting in a cafe, a nearby man asking what I did wanted to talk to me about addiction, spouting lines from the media, ideas of marketting marijuana and I didnt want to discuss it.  I tell him that subject is work to me. I want them to register that when I an old man say, I’m a psychiatrist that I’m aware. He began to ask questions and showed the inherent disrespect for knowledge. I played the verbal ping pong, ask him back what he does. Do that dance for a bit but register the ‘social’ and ‘salesman’ ‘getting to know you’ and realize I don’t want to ‘make friends’. That’s so often my experience with strangers. I’m wrapped up in myself. Intensely with people in my work so off work at lunch in a coffee shop I want privacy and peace.  I can see the guy was miffed. Like paparazzi, he felt entitled to another time and space but wasn’t paying. I wasn’t buying. He was miffed.
I am glad however for the neighbour here.. He is a good neighbour and when he asks me what I do I say but also say I don’t want to talk about work,  he backs off. Nice man.  Lived in Mexico.  Works here.  I realize how ‘prickly’ I am.  I like the proximity of others now. Camping with Laura I’ve appreciated her pleasure in this but I don’t want to ‘get to know you’.  I’m too much with people, intensely, deeply in their lives, daily.  I want to be aloof here.  Enjoying my own company, the quiet. But interested in liking a picnic table and the proximity of others , each campsite a few hundred feet removed from the next.  I’d not like to be closer like other campsites. This government built one shows the wisdom and sense of our beurocrats in the ministry of outdoors and tourism.  I knock bureaucrats too much .  They do fine work but there are too many of them and I’m just disheartened by all the taxes and their tendency to vote for fools who give other peoples money away to lackies and other countries.
Yet here  I am enjoying the product of government, the clean sites and well arranged camps. All along the river there are places like this. Same for the Duffy lake  area. I like all these government wilderness campgrounds with just out houses, picnic table and steel pit for campfires.  I like the local woman who comes by collecting the $6  (regular $12 but as a senior I get half price)for a night maintenance fee.  I could have stayed where I was the first night for free but I’ve enjoyed this social experience.  On my motorcycle I’ve been off alone in the back country, at times thinking if I hurt myself how long before I’d be found.  I had some near misses on the motorcycle almost careening off the mountain as I gained experience with the new machine, the brakes and gears.  A couple of moments of very steep learning curve. My muscles ache today from the exercise and use of joints not pressed into such hard service for some time.

It’s been hot. Very hot. I’ve drunk a whole lot of pop and enjoyed the bottles of flavoured Perrier water. I get too much sugar in the canned drinks.  I’ve gained a manly pot myself and would like to see the pear shape go.  All this exercise helps. Just climbing in and out of the camper, riding the motorcycle on the trails. Lots of upper body action I can feel today.  Counter balance to the gluttony and sloth of winter.
I see fisherman out on the stream down from the rapids. I’ve got my fly rod and spin rod but have been lazy about getting out there. If I wasn’t packing up today I’d go now.  The sun is hot already.  Cleared the tops of trees and landing warm on my side.  Work tomorrow then I’m off to Reno for a few days of medical comference. Laura staying with the home and pets.  She finds being at my place holiday from her city life with all the traffic and people. My little community is off the grid.  I’ve liked places like that in the city. Staying at the marina I never felt the pressure I did living in an apartment downtown. The same is true for my place in Burnaby.  I liked the quiet beside the river, with the walk in the woods for the dog.
It’s been great. I could see just going across country like Brian did.  He loved that tour. That’s the dream.  Now I’m just outfitting for the adventure.  Open ended time. Like the summer vacations of childhood.  Off the clock and off the calendar.  My neighbour had already set up and is attaching his Scamp to the jeep.  I’m impressed with the speed. I’d better follow his lead and begin to load up. I’m worried about the bike.  I’ve yet to push it up on the back hitch all by myself.  This will be the third time. I’ll see if I can do it.  If I can it will be a good thing. Part of being here is knowing I can ask another human for help. It’s not a muscular thing, more about stability. I’ve got to be holding the bike while tying it down. It will go well. God is good.
Thank you Jesus.

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