Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Ill communication

Lying here sick I felt like I should have some communication with the outside world. Whilst shivering in the shop yesterday we day dreamed about sunnier days. I found a little story from a holiday I took over a year ago now and thought I'd share it as it was full of sunny days. If it reads too much like a school assignment I apologise..

Our log cabin beneath the stars.
A fridge full of beer and a bag full of clothes.
Four fishing poles, two families, a Grandmother and Tucker, nose sniffing and tail wagging.

The first thing I notice are the damn mosquitoes sucking at my arm and neck. Their overwhelming presence alarms everybody. Having got used to the hazard slightly I begin to find pleasure in taking them out. Watching them land and position themselves and then driving my hand down on them hard. Sometimes the remains are a black smear. Other times when they are already well fed there is blood there too. It could be yours or it could be someone elses. This bothers me the most.
Later I am informed that the mosquitoe population is up by 480% this year. I don't know how they get these figures but some mornings when I see the sheer volume of the bastards I can believe it's accuracy. It takes days to get used to the bites and the itching. Actually maybe you never quite get used to it you just learn to accept it. Being eaten always feels like a violation regardless of it's frequency. Surrounded by the Rocky mountains it's hard for anything to spoil your location. The swatting becomes second nature.
Two hundred year old Pine trees, tall but not magnificently so. Their growth is stunted by the inclement Winter months. These trees surround and define ones view. Thick forests and sprawling lines which live amongst the mountains. Beside every road, lake and train track are these silent observers. From the ice cold Winter to the hot sweat of July. I greet them in their growing season. I saw some of these trees beside a glacier. Branches and leaves only grow from one side of the tree because the wind off the glacier is too cold to allow any growth. These hardy testaments to nature sit there while Elk walk among them and woodpeckers busy themselves in their branches. They are the landscape from the floor up. The great rocks they surround and pepper are everywhere you choose to look.
The three sisters, Pyramid mountain, Mount Edith Cavell. Many are named and carry with them stories. One thing is certain at ground level looking up and around they are omnipresent. They are the boundaries. The mountains are forever the guardians on the outskirts of your perspective. Their height and size is ominous, their beauty amidst the great blue sky undeniable and their reflection in any of the clear blue lakes a wonder to behold. Like a glimpse into an alternate universe, a land beneath our own. Their immensity cuts into the sky and reaches through the clouds. Snow capped peaks dwelling beneath the suns light. The clouds cast their deep shadows below. Green, black, grey, white. Shadow of ridge, cloud, tree. Each rock face is it's own entity, it's characteristics often contributing to it's name.
I float down the Athabascar river with my Uncle, brother and two cousins. We float downstream from the foot of the falls. Trees are on either side of us. We are completely hidden from the road. Driving on the roads you see each mountains intrusion into the sky. On the water instead of a mountain looming up at each turn they seem to recede into ones peripheral vision. A belt of rock to the bluest sky I've ever seen. Each of us at points jump from the raft into the ice cold water. Our oars guide us into and towards white water. Each splash is an invigorating incentive to head for more rough patches as they arise.
At one point, wet through and tired from rowing we lie on our backs and look up at the clouds. Together and alone with the river. Alone beneath tree and mountain and sky and earth. Moments like these are the reason we need to get away and visit new places. They remind ourselves to carve out moments of peace and appreciate them for what they are every time we are lucky enough to do so.

Maybe there's another short one from that trip I could bring you tomorrow. Have a good Wednesday

1 comment:

Christopher Massey said...

Wicked story...

Bats are the answer, as they have been shown to eat an estimated 500-1000 or more mosquitoes a night.

Everybody should breed Bats.