Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It dawned on me















It dawned on me recently that the most honest politicians are the ones that... Seem to have lost my train of thought here.

When I was just a little boy in our one room school in the middle of the open prairie with twelve kids and eight grades our teacher, the one with the eyes on the back of her head, would read to us after lunch from the great works of literature which were on some grades curriculum, which she knew darn well would never get read if she didn't read them to us. And so it was that I first heard the story of Jean Valjean. Using the long braid from the gal in front of me for a paint brush from my ink bottle I would doodle and listen to the great adventures from lands beyond comprehension.

Now I remember... those honest politicians. They don't get many votes. Seems the vast majority of us enjoys being cajoled.

Jean Valjean was a thief. This seems to have been a pretty common occupation in the mid 19th century as there was lots of poor folk across Europe and beyond before our present rise of egalitarianism which has not seemed to have had much impact on the number of poor folk or the number of thieves for that matter. But Jean Valjean was a good thief, as he stole bread for his sister and her starving kids, although this didn't matter much to the bourgeois as thieving undermined the whole concept of making money from the rabble. Thank god for egalitarianism and ink and long braids.

Oh to be cajoled... seems to give rise to a sense of adventure and belonging. Those wickedly smart politicians.

In the middle of the open prairie we didn't lock too many doors and my folks would heat a bowl of borscht for the hobos who wandered in from the main CPR line to fascinate us kids with their tales and strange odours. It was a time of resourcefulness such as picking a bouquet of crocuses on a fine spring morning on the way to school to make things go more splendidly with the teacher with the eyes on the back of her head. Then came the sixties and wandering the earth to find low life scoundrels ravaging every nook and cranny of dirty smog ridden conurbations, using every dirty trick imaginable to empty the last dime from your shabby jeans.

And then it dawned on me... Seem to have lost my train of thought once more. Oh well.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Unremarkable

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We gather today from the remotest corners of the earth to revere us unremarkable folk, although by an exegesis of the definitions involved, that may be a task which is foolish in it's endeavour, which can been seen by the great number of empty spaces in this vast auditorium of the cyber emporium of humanity. We, not being the movers and shakers nor the artisans of enlightenment nor the leaders of vast religious awakenings, we tend not to get too carried away with the revering of any of those ambrosial remarkable folk who walk the plank of immortality. No, we tend to take the audacity of the delusional with a grain of salt.

To quote from one of the great mentors of the eidolon, the revered Lady Gaga herself, “I operate from a place of delusion - that’s what the fame is all about... I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be - and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.” That is our disparagement in a nutshell, us wonted ones, our eyeballs rolling incredulously at our cognizances.

As prosaic ex hippie want-to-bees from the sixties, and those unraptured ones from the newer generations, we have lived our lives to the fullest potential of nonpotentiality, abhorring promotions and glory in the firm belief that gratification of any sort is a vulgar disregard of the aesthetic humdrum which makes us proletarian. We sustain the worldly essentialities of our fellow beings with our daily striving to maintain our sanity in the ongoing battle of of being as lethargic as possible in obtaining our dole. We may say our prayers at night knowing honestly that we have not impeded anyone's dignity by stepping on their toes, so help us.

So we deprecate ourselves today in appreciation of our foibles, harking back on an unremarkable year in which those endowed with our plodding disquisitions embrace the disguised genius of secreteness by mentoring our peers into oblivion. We will remain indomitable in the forthcoming year, ready to take our places in the quiet yet circumspect revolution of sorts, in which us unremarkable folk will journey on to forestall the unwonted ones.

Peace and unremarkable insight to all.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our Christmas turkey


Twas three nights before Christmas, and the turkey was in the fridge to thaw. I'd been up a mite late reading because having a mate with just a touch of dementia and who desires my constant attention allows me a life of my own only when she sleeps. So I stumbles into the kitchen at the bright early hour of eight and thirty without my glasses on yet and sees my good wife just encumbered with that old turkey in the roaster on the counter. She's just a hackin and a sawin and me not thinkin too good yet figures well that's a new way to prepare a turkey for the oven and it must be still pretty frozen cause we only took it out yesterday and well, strange things happen around here pretty regular like. So, I finds my glasses and looks at that turkey, and holy kershmoly, if that old turkey isn't lookin pretty brown and roasted on the outside at least. And yes, now that my nose is waking up it does smell of roasted turkey even with the window wide open and the odours extrapolating themselves into the neighbourhood.

Now normally at this point in the story we would go into a theosophical adventure involving turkeys and mythology but today we'll just carry on with the facts. So me, being a nice guy and not wanting to cause mayhem, and her looking just all proud of her early morning accomplishment, she must have woke up at four to pull off this feat, I just says “Wow, you cooked the turkey.” She smiles patiently at me and being somewhat tired, hands over all responsibility to me, her concentration being all used up, the normal being that I wake to find something parched in the oven and her fast asleep with no recollection of having activated the range. So, very pleased with her sharing of responsibilities around here, she wanders off to bed to forget about turkeys and cooking and will ask when she wakes if I bought a turkey for Christmas this year.

Needless to say I made a pot of coffee and considered my options. The sage and thyme and loaf of bread crumbs were still in the cupboard, and though the innards were well thawed at this point they were still pretty red and juicy and though stuffing a half cooked turkey would be physically possible the outside inches would obviously be well overdone with another three hours in the oven, so I decided to forgo the stuffing at this time. I went with option B, which was to cut and hack that half cooked turkey into pieces and using every container I could find, I packed and labelled with a container for stuffing parts and broth, and a big one for soup carcass, and several for white meat, and another big one for drumsticks and wings, and in less than an hour everything was cleaned up and washed and hidden away in the freezer, and our three cats were wondering if they had been dreaming about the delicious smells.

And so Christmas Eve finally came and I spent the afternoon preparing a tasty stuffing which went in it's own pan, and another pan for a drumstick and a wing and a huge white breast, and we smelled up the house to once more drive the cats crazy, and had a delicious dinner with cranberry sauce and rice and even a bit of gravy from the juices, and along with the box of chocolates my good wife was smiling ear to ear as she remarked “You fooled me, I was sure you forgot the turkey this year.” Then we went for a ride through the more upscale parts of our dear city to view the lights and that night she slept soundly, and as I lived my own life for a while that evening, daring Santa to try our chimney, I wondered what adventure I could possibly wake to in the morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ah, the winter solstice

So, winter solstice is upon us, and we will celebrate the renewed vigour of the suns majestic beams of warmth with a freaking hullabaloo by which the opposing solstice humbles itself in the worship of zealotry as the gods of rebirth are forgotten in the summer warmth. Yes, that freaking hullabaloo in which the gods are slighted by post agrarian consumerism, but do not fear, the makers of the heavens and the earths are kindling a fire in their azure, a roast robust enough to melt the orbs off all self righteous scoffers who deny the workings of providence. Hark all ye naysayers, the second great flood is imminent, caused neither by man nor nature, but by the gods of rebirth sadly neglected by our pragmatism. Their vengeance is gaining it's momentum as the oceans rise and storm clouds burst upon us heathen transgressors, as we delight in materialistic denial.

That being said, my Christmas list has been mailed to H0H 0H0 and my chimney has been cleaned for delivery and the side table is set with milk and cookies for Santa, and I've deleted all the ignorant stuff I said during the year about our delightful Prime Minister, so I'm waiting for Christmas Eve for my brand new drone with the fancy dancy camera to forthwith document for future generations the rise of the mighty River Red into a rejuvenated Lake Agassiz arising from the storms of snow and sleet and rain of forty winters and forty summers of flooding tempests as the makers castigate our earthly adventures into consumerism. That mighty River Red which will once more flow south to leisurely impale those neighbourly zealots south of our doughty 49th lateral which divides those who know everything from those who wish to know everything but are be too cynical to laud the vagaries of imperialism and must enjoy consumerism piggy back style.

Gods being gods, however, will snicker beguilingly as men build arks from every available buoyant nomenclature to float down along the might River Red, loaded with a pair of every living species of vegetable and beasty and hoards of plastic Chinese artifacts now redundant through lack of provocation by flooded towers and submerged turbines of the chop-chop age. And in ten thousand years when humankind is weaned from his materialistic bent and again worships the true and tried gods of presentiment with luptuous burnt offerings to appease it's makers, honour will be restored and men and gods will join in a freaking hullabaloo to veraciously celebrate the renewed vigour of the suns majestic beams of warmth.

Have a happy hullabaloo!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Adventurous George (14)


Materialism has had a silent momentum in the history of humans, it being that the needs of generations and the small discoveries which have made these needs easier to obtain have been greatly viewed as treasured inventions in the hands and minds of souls who relished their significance. Since it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness and society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations and the relations within which these individuals stand, so it was that George who had read a little of Marx's writings but with the knock on the noggin and all, mixed and matched phrases in his mind to suit his whims realized that, just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of spirituality and the relations to those material things worshipped or at least used to make sanity more comforting.

So with all that being the predominant thought in the back of George's mind, spring finally came and the lake eventually thawed and George used the last of his caulking on the bottom of his boat and loading six full sacks of little hornswoggles with the elder hornswoggle seated on the rear seat he and Mottles departed their island in wake of an east wind which blew them straight to Jump Off Docks in the big city. George found a friendly fisherman with a pickup truck who was willing to trade him a ride home for his boat so they loaded the boat on the back along with all of George's stuff and careened off back through the city to where George's pad immured. The key was still on top of the mantle where he had left it, and other than that the refrigerator would need a good cleaning his place looked ship shape and uninvaded. They unloaded the hornswoggles and the few other possessions which George had deemed worthy of materialistic envy, and bid each other happy returns on their investments.

The caretaker in George's building bid him a smiling “Hello, haven't seen you for a day or two, your rents all paid up as usual, you have a nice day now,” as George settled in. Mottles was not overly impressed with these new digs and would not get off George's back for any money when George made advances out the door, so George took to wearing his backpack open and Mottles settled right in with his head over George's shoulder as they trudged along the concrete city walks. George's bank account had been growing in his absence, and he was calculating that he might have enough to rent a little shop with a flat above were he could spend his time carving and possibly even selling his creations. It would be an excellent way to share some societal bliss with his fellow humans and to give him a materialistic lever by which to turn hornswoggles into capital making sanity more comforting for others as well as himself. So George headed off east along the less used secondary route into the more industrial part of the vast city and when he came to that intriguing intersection with the cross street which had many small and interesting shops he headed north to find a little shop which he could call his own. He didn't even need his compass any more, the directions just seemed innate.

A narrow shop between a shop which sold reread books and another which sold a collection of games and puzzles made for the those with a bent for the obscure had a “For rent” sign on the door and after spending the better part of the day tracking down the owner who George found in a darkened bar several blocks away, George made a deal and using the bank machine in the corner, he paid his deposit and first month's rent and receipt in hand headed back to pack his things which wasn't all that much because even his foam mattress was better than the old saggy bed. It was with an affliction of amusement that George answered the door the next day and there stood his worker rather apologetic for not having the time to drop in more often and George must have been out last time and George sort of played the role of being his old self and showed off his numerous hornswoggles which made the worker chuckle and he thought George had come a long way in the slow flowering of his potentialities. And George who was really getting the hang of this capitalism thing and realizing his worker held the key to more capital asked him if it was possible to have his rent payment transferred to a new flat located on the second floor of a little shop in the more industrial area of the big city. The worker overwhelmed by George's incentive and thinking this was a great step in George's recovery was delighted to take down the new address and said he'd make the arrangements with the owner, not to mention that the cost was less than his present abode.

Hornswoggles may come, and hornswoggles may go, and that's exactly what they did. Spirituality and capitalism walked hand in hand in George's shop with the sign out front “Hornswoggles for sale.” And that youngish women with whom George had shared a peanut butter sandwich with almost a year earlier would stop by for a daily peanut butter sandwich and along with a host of many regulars and many passers by, George's hornswoggle shop became the place to discuss spirituality and capitalism with the goal of making sanity more comforting for everyone. It would seem to be a stretch of the imagination, but it may be told that the youngish women who had been coy with George on a bench that day back when, turned out to be an Eleanor and moved in with George and they made many little hornswoggles which were given a daily offering of peanut butter sandwiches and sanity was extremely comforting. Oh yes, and Mottles took a liking to the little shop and all the customers, and made his home on a pillow on top of the elder hornswoggle and they both greeted everyone who entered the door.

The end.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Adventurous George (12)


Human adventurers meaning no ill will, will sometimes bring with them to foreign lands ravages of nature which devastate the populations of their vanquishments. So George, harbouring no vengeance, awoke one fine morning a week after his inestimable visitors had departed to depart with the contents of his stomach in a rather forceful manner, which left poor Mottles rather taken aback as George collapsed back to an irritable stupor. George lay in oblivion for a mere twenty-four hours although eternity does not mind the clock, the latter half being in a copious diaphoresis, in which his mind was beset by visitations from tenuous dimensions some which stuck in his mind for days after he recovered. As George regained some composure the following morning and was able to light a kindling in his cold stove and warm up a delectable broth, his sentience was unabashedly worsted by the seraph of an ancestor who had been prominent in his delirium.

This seraph who had in his own words, been floating around the universe much like the detritus from a resentful supernova since his earthly departure, had come to impart bits of his icky bicky spirit unto his descendants more for his own gratification than for any altruistic considerations. But anyhow, he had told George realms of fables about his own and George's past, about the rather tedious relationship which had developed between their kin and the god almighty, and their search for a new land where they could be ostracized for their sinful nature without the constraints of totalitarian governments. They had come to this land of virgin soil to build their little wooden church with uncomfortable stately pews and keep their nonheathen convictions free of adultery. And so it had been that George as a little boy had been taught the true way, the uprighteous way, the way to heaven and the everlasting life. And the god almighty would make mince meat of him if he ever so much as thought of straying from the path of total servitude.

But George had not been a good lad. He had the knack of asking the darnedest questions. The leather strap did little to quell his enthusiasm for shameless knowledge. The elders and the revered pastor found no pleasure in George's flights of fancy and so at the modest age of sixteen, when he was found hiding in the woodshed with a paperback copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” he was convicted of being a menace to the purity of his compeers and banished to the outer world to live in sin in duplicity with the heathens till fire and brimstone could take his soul forevermore. Even his upright parents could not see their way past this unremorseful dilemma and turned their other cheeks when George bid them all a brave farewell. So George had trudged off with a few clothes and not too many dollars to make a new life for himself.

Resentful supernovas, or resentful seraphs, or even Georges for that matter whether resentful or not, can have a difficult time coming to terms with the staunch biddings of the fantasies of nature which have guided their conquests of a self identity out of the chaos of our universes building blocks. So George lay in bed one night and said out loud “There is no god,” and nothing happened. The devil didn't come dancing in his head with corruptions of fiddling duels or hot women, no, everything was humdrum. But time went on and the feeling that there must be something significant in the spiritual history of humankind would not leave him forsaken to the fervours of capitalism. George found a lowly job in his non-diplomaed state but not having the social skills to fan wangle his way through legions of the more aggressive sorts he sort of stayed at the bottom of his calling which gave him latitude to make the local library his second home where after several years he knew the covers of most books by heart having read bits and pieces from many of them, and the kind librarian had taken to ordering in armfuls from the main branch downtown dealing with everything spiritual and philosophical, some with a slightly pagan bent, which George would devour in no time flat. And so it was that George being not a trifle disillusioned with with the construction techniques of fine furniture for the well-heeled, turned his mind inwards to the disciplines of sages and mystics not to mention yogis and began a journey into the depths of his noggin where there lay a wonder world of adventure far beyond the confines of condescension. He had few friends, that being non, although he got on well with most people in the work-a-day world and even developed a sort of humour about life, but he could just not bring himself to trust the self importance of anyone desirable of an indelible bound through the vagaries of social stratagems, many of which had befuddled his childhood with their destinism.

The ancestral seraph had left his mark, although time obliterated the details of a lively encounter which may or may not have had a footing in the less walked corridors of reality. Georges memories of his past life returned. They were not so scary, they actually made a bit of sense. People were people and no one was perfect. We were all flawed perfections of humanity striving to whatever humans strive for. George began to feel he wanted to be a part of it.

(To be continued)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Adventurous George (11)


The winter progressed. Rice was rationed to one cup a day and the berries to one small handful. George dragged some lumber out onto the bay and built a shelter over his fishing hole. As the ice reached a thickness of about two feet and it became more and more difficult to chop his hole open, George spent a week when the temperature warmed a bit just fishing. He went twice a day for a couple hours in the morning and a couple more hours towards evening and soon had a huge cache of frozen fish buried in a snow bank. The little perches were his favourite and fish eyes worked swell on his hook although often they would get nibbled off before he felt a little tug and he could reel one in.

As the snow cover had become deeper George had sawed and carved a pair of fine skis from some clear 2x6's. He stuck the ends in his tub of water for a couple days and wedging them under a plank nailed to his floor blocked the long ends up to give a nice curl to the fronts after they dried again. The harness took several tries, but he finally braided some poly rope and melted the ends together on his stove and just screwed a loop over each ski so he could just step in and out of them without taking off his mitts. He kept to the same trail and his rabbit snare run became a daily joy unless the wind was howling more than usual. He usually came back with at least one rabbit every few days and he and Mottles enjoyed the change from fish rice stew to rabbit rice stew with gusto.

The little green house didn't produce too well with the sun low on the horizon, but as winter wore on and the sun became higher his veggie garden took off and he soon had lettuce, radishes, green onions, and even baby carrots and spinach to keep him healthy, although Mottles wasn't overly impressed and viewed the whole affair as a mighty fine litter box to be dug and scratched in which didn't impress George all that much. So George built a box and filled it with dirt which was a chore in winter and the dirt had to be dried out first and then it had to be changed every week, but Mottles took to it like a pro and really got lazy about going outside unless it was a really, really warm day.

Throughout all this the mighty hornswoggle had kept guard on the door never once allowing a sneaky trickster spirit to enter, and George chuckled as he gave him his daily burnt offering still relying on that degree of history backed by tried and true methodology. The offering always disappeared when George was not looking and though he suspected Mottles may play a role in this he was never quite sure. And history books were rather vague on demise of burnt offerings. So George in honour of his beloved eidolon who had saved him from the cunning hairy beast, carved out many weeny hornswoggles, each with it's own peculiar mien, and in time had three walls with shelves three deep all lined with little hornswoggles and the place took on the look of quasi-sacred gift shop with offerings available for the needs of anyone's vexations.

And so it was with much amusement that Albert Two Shoes and Albert One Shoe and a fine assortment of friends and relatives arrived one fine day on a whole fleet of snow machines and filled his cabin with laughter and teasing and George made a whole canner full of hot tea which was sipped out of George's one cup and plates and bowls and everything else which would hold a few drops and they emptied the whole pot out in no time and wished George the best in his pricey resort and each left with a miniature hornswoggle as a parting gift. That visit made winter two months shorter. This human contact thing may be something he could cultivate in his future. George realized he may be a mite lonely.

(To be continued)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Adventurous George (10)


For at least 6000 years, depending on which god has enraptured one's heart, and possibly a bit longer, charming spirits have added their two cents worth to the aesthetic experience of the human condition. Man has resorted to allegorical mediums in warding off the the naughtiest of these tricksters. So it was not without a degree of history backed by tried and true methodology that George, not in the mood to share his little cabin with a horrible hairy not to mention hateful and cunning beastly spirit, took out his case of nifty carving tools and went to work on a good sized piece of a stump his buck saw had made slow work of squaring off in the bush. He seated his unblemished block on a low bench and began the process of hewing an hornswoggle which would fry the globoids off any well endowed Adam-zad. George had not much care for the beauty of his masterpiece, it being that ugliness may work to his advantage, and when he was done he left no stone unturned. He proffered up a burnt offering to his mighty eidolon and abandoned any lurking evil to it's expedience.

And so it came to pass that one cold evening as the ice thunderously crackled out on the lake, that George heard a little something which began with a huffing and puffing of the “And I'll b,b,b,b,blow your house down variety.” Was that coming from some hateful cunning swinish eyes, grunting and chuckling at him for his blissful exultation as he sat with Mottles purring on his lap, them both contemplating his mighty fine hornswoggle? The huffing and puffing grew in stature to a shriek as the tightly sealed cabin began inhaling vapours from every teeny-weeny microbic chink available to their pleasure. The floor begin to rattle and tremble as the mighty hornswoggle faced his resplendency towards the door. The battle which ensued was memorable to say the least as hornswoggle sat statedly grinning at the door angering the annoyed hairy beast to no end. Then the conjuring commenced with horrible shrieks and screams from the roof top as the cabin filled with black sooty smoke and the Acme Wood Stove was motivated to take on a red glow in the dark, the stove pipe taking the brunt of the wizardry gleaming hot red in the eeriness of the bleakened battleground. Hornswoggle held his ground, his outlandish grin now begrimed with soot leering in mockery at the steadfastly holding door. His sorcery proved the more efficacious as the hairy cunning beast rattled the stove pipe in one last gesture of bluster before he limped off utterly defeated into the cold dark night.

The air settled, the stove regained it's composure, Mottles retracted his claws from the ceiling, and George swept everything off with his handmade grass broom and they shook the quilt out outside. George knew deep in his heart that the cunning hateful hairy beast would ne'er to bother him ever again. He gave his hornswoggle a great big kiss on his bald noggin as he straightened him out on his bench. Life would be good.

Before he went to sleep that night with Mottles unravelling himself on his feet, George made a mental note to add a 6” chimney brush to his list if he ever again ordered supplies from the mainland.

(To be continued)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Adventurous George (9)


George never did run into little Adam-zad again, little Adam-zad having a dislike for white men, probably because for the most part they were just too capitalistic, and careless. George tried for a time not to think of his dream. He sorted through the bags of R-20 insulation which little critters and bugs had enjoyed living in for the past many years. He put a triple layer on his ceiling which he nailed out with poly and 3/8” plywood. Building went much better now with his handsaw and some nifty saw horses. The walls were insulated and nailed out with plywood over poly and the window and a few other cracks were caulked. He built a door with 2x4's on the flat, insulated and covered with plywood, which swang real well on the orange hinges. He had two large totes of nicely dried berries, sort of a mix of mostly blue berries and saskatoons. The rice had been a lot of work and he had ended up with four big sackfuls, after all the chaff had been blown away in the breeze. His Acme Wood Stove got moved inside and he made a coned flashing for the roof from an extra piece of the stove pipe using some geeky little snips in his new tool box. He had some lettuce and green onions sprouting in a little greenhouse he had patched together out of slider windows on the end of his deck under his window and was wondering if it would be warm enough to keep them growing when it got cold if he cut some vent holes through the wall for heat. The triple glazing was a bit of overkill for a greenhouse and he hoped they'd let a few UV rays through. He even scooped out a little privy one day and built a three sided shelter with a bit of a roof over it and a throne, over which he had to chuckle every time he sat on it.

But that trickster spirit had vexed his mind and that dream nagged at him. It had to do with meditation, or some sort of a stupor of the mind he had gotten himself into. Somewhere deep in his silly head he had entranced himself until this horrible hairy bear had taken over his being. He knew he had been trying to achieve some sort of enlightenment, the way the mystics did, and he was rather amused at himself as he mulled over reverberating with umm, umm, umm, umm, umm. He remembered candles, yes that was it, a candle flame and staring at it for hours and hours till his mind became one with it and it was the only thing which existed in the whole universe, and then he would have visions, beautiful visions, of worlds beyond our own were life beat to a different drummer and he was filled with a euphoria beyond expression. Then suddenly this horrible hairy beast of a bear had begun invading his ecstasy with his hateful cunning swinish eyes, grunting and chuckling at him for his blissful exultation. I had driven him to despair. And yes, he remembered that book on self hypnosis which he had used it to try to forget it all. He remembered meditating over and over and over... I remember nothing, I remember nothing, I remember nothing... and the horrible hairy bear just grunted and chuckled.

They had told him in the hospital, after they brought him out of his coma, that he had been walloped on the head by the mirror on a half ton truck as he wandered aimlessly onto a busy road. The scans had shown some significant damage to his noggin which might or might not regenerate itself in the coming months. So they sent him away with a worker who got him a home with a throne and some sort of monthly disability benefit which paid his rent and bought him his needs. And now he was here, on an island with his buddy Mottles, and life was good. He still did not want to remember anything although it was becoming hard to avoid. It just seemed too consuming.

The first snow came peacefully. George spent his time fishing and cutting up sound deadfalls nearby which were much easier to bring home now on a little sled he crafted with 2x4 runners. The fish he cleaned and froze in a plank crate outside which was soon filled to the top. And so the lake froze over, the shallow parts first, and then the whole expanse, and George was left in a world of white to his horizons. It fervored a smallness in his wonder world.

(To be continued)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventurous George (8)


So, every person reaches a point in their endeavours where their subliminal rational is plundered by the trickster spirit who can use any analogy emanating from a belaboured mind for his own purpose of torment and enlightenment. And so it was that George, engrossed in his numerous projects of gathering rice and insulating his cabin and cutting firewood and building a little greenhouse on his deck, perchanced to spy a little Adam-zad foraging in the woods. They actually ran into each other, almost face to face, each going about their own busynesses, and both backed off leaving the other to ponder the encounter in considerable detail.

That night George dreamt a dream under his cozy goose down comforter. That trickster elucidated memories of readings from his opportunistically forgotten past, that past which had till now been too painful to remember. George dreamt of this dude Matun, in a dream which went somewhat like this:

YEARLY, with tent and rifle, our careless white men go
By the Pass called Muttianee, to shoot in the vale below.
Yearly by Muttianee he follows our white men in -
Matun, the old blind beggar, bandaged from brow to chin.

Eyeless, noseless, and lipless - toothless, broken of speech,
Seeking a dole at the doorway he mumbles his tale to each;
Over and over the story, ending as he began:
"Make ye no truce with Adam-zad - the Bear that walks like a Man!

"There was a flint in my musket - pricked and primed was the pan,
When I went hunting Adam-zad - the Bear that stands like a Man.
I looked my last on the timber, I looked my last on the snow,
When I went hunting Adam-zad fifty summers ago!

"I knew his times and his seasons, as he knew mine, that fed
By night in the ripened maizefield and robbed my house of bread.
I knew his strength and cunning, as he knew mine, that crept
At dawn to the crowded goat-pens and plundered while I slept.

"Up from his stony playground - down from his well-digged lair -
Out on the naked ridges ran Adam-zad the Bear -
Groaning, grunting, and roaring, heavy with stolen meals,
Two long marches to northward, and I was at his heels!

"Two long marches to northward, at the fall of the second night,
I came on mine enemy Adam-zad all panting from his flight.
There was a charge in the musket - pricked and primed was the pan -
My finger crooked on the trigger - when he reared up like a man.

"Horrible, hairy, human, with paws like hands in prayer,
Making his supplication rose Adam-zad the Bear!
I looked at the swaying shoulders, at the paunch's swag and swing,
And my heart was touched with pity for the monstrous, pleading thing.

"Touched with pity and wonder, I did not fire then . . .
I have looked no more on women - I have walked no more with men.
Nearer he tottered and nearer, with paws like hands that pray -
From brow to jaw that steel-shod paw, it ripped my face away!

"Sudden, silent, and savage, searing as flame the blow -
Faceless I fell before his feet, fifty summers ago.
I heard him grunt and chuckle - I heard him pass to his den.
He left me blind to the darkened years and the little mercy of men.

"Now ye go down in the morning with guns of the newer style,
That load (I have felt) in the middle and range (I have heard) a mile?
Luck to the white man's rifle, that shoots so fast and true,
But - pay, and I lift my bandage and show what the Bear can do!"

(Flesh like slag in the furnace, knobbed and withered and grey -
Matun, the old blind beggar, he gives good worth for his pay.)
"Rouse him at noon in the bushes, follow and press him hard -
Not for his ragings and roarings flinch ye from Adam-zad.

"But (pay, and I put back the bandage) this is the time to fear,
When he stands up like a tired man, tottering near and near;
When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute guise,
When he veils the hate and cunning of his little, swinish eyes;

"When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer
That is the time of peril - the time of the Truce of the Bear!"

Eyeless, noseless, and lipless, asking a dole at the door,
Matun, the old blind beggar, he tells it o'er and o'er;
Fumbling and feeling the rifles, warming his hands at the flame,
Hearing our careless white men talk of the morrow's game;

Over and over the story, ending as he began: -
"There is no truce with Adam-zad, the Bear that looks like a Man!"

... (“The Truce of the Bear” Rudyard Kipling 1898)


Is it needed to say here that George, in a cold sweat, sat up straight on his foam mattress with Mottles lunging for cover? It was not little Adam-zad he was thinking upon, however. It was memory from his past.

(To be continued)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Adventurous George (7)


It's not everyday that the universe develops a rift and the temple shroud tears asunder from top to bottom, and it certainly didn't happen the next day as George and Mottles ascended their homemade ladder to nail some fine cedar shakes on their little cabin roof. The effort was a mite tedious but the results were spectacular and by evening the front side of their refuge looked fabulous. George was excited. His list of necessities was coming and he kept thinking on how he could harvest that rice with his old row boat. It would be mighty hard to push it into the grassy bays and his only idea so far was just to get as close into the fray as he could and harvest from what he could reach. So the next day after the next, after he had finished his fine roof, that's exactly what George did. He rowed his little boat, with his tarp all nicely cleaned up and tucked neatly over the whole bottom, alongside the outer rice stalks and using a couple light sticks as he had seen the experts doing, he began bending the stalks over his boat and gently knocking the husks off. It was working, sort of, as he learned which tufts gave up the most for his efforts.

Just as he had a noticeable layer over most of his boat bottom he heard laughter. “Snowball, yer a real pro” came from smiling faces as his friends came closer. George had been so involved in his effort he had not even heard them coming. They encouraged him though, and told him he might even get lots from little tufts of rice along the shore which no one usually bothered with. So George continued and by the time his arms were ready to fall off from exhaustion, he had enough in his boat to fill maybe half a sack. He rowed back in time to meet his friends with their canoe loaded to the point of danger. Albert Two Shoes and the younger Albert One Shoe, because he had never been seen wearing more than one shoe as a little kid, had left mom at home to dry rice and begin the processing. This would be their last trip this year because the reserve was installing a new sewer system and they had only gotten a few days off for ricing this year. Oh, and they had put all George's supplies in his cabin. That evening after a feast of juicy mushroom burgers which the Alberts had brought in a cooler, and after he had spread out his own rice to dry, George went up to his cabin to check out his new stuff.

Everything was there, along with receipts and a carefully tallied list and his bank card, with the total coming out to $1,258.49, all packed neatly in the tub and plastic totes. Many items were from Canadian Tire and the rest from Walmart. The quilt had a little handwritten note attached which said “Hand sewn goose down, made by Emma, $50.” The grain sacks were used but clean, and the hinges had once hung another door with a bit of orange paint still decorating them. But everything was there including a little case with his wood carving tools. That night George and Mottles slept in their corner on their new foam mattress with their down quilt, the coziest sleep they had ever had. He should have asked for a pillow too. What a life.

Next evening after they all returned with their loads and the Alberts were preparing to leave, Albert Two Shoes told George in a very candid manner “If anyone ever asks you what you're doing here, just tell them you are here for some religious solitude with the blessings of our First Nation. This island is actually a disputed part of our reserve, but it is unlikely that anyone will ever bother you. We sometimes come ice fishing out this way, so maybe we'll stop by for a good cup of tea when the lake freezes over.” And with that they were off, chugging away, slightly overloaded, canoe in tow, but it was a calm evening.

(To be continued)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Adventurous George (6)


George woke to the sound of a motor boat. Not a big one, just the putter of a little engine. He was up in a flash and out the door and into view of his bay in no time, Mottles peeked out from behind a rock too. There were three of them, two in a boat and one in a canoe which was being towed behind. They saw him too, just as surprised as he was. They waved as they coasted onto the beach and George headed down to greet them. They had come, it seemed, for some of the best wild rice in the country which grew in several bays just around the east side of the island, and this was where they always camped for a night while they filled their boat. They were more curious about George than he was about them, and he was soon showing them his cabin and his stove and they laughed and laughed and began calling him a snowball which made him laugh too, and even Mottles was taken to them and that really made them laugh as he jumped in their boat and sniffed everything. They were from a reserve north of the big city, a mother and father and their son, and they made several trips here every August for the rice which George was becoming very interested about.

George went about his setting rabbit snares when they left to harvest rice after putting up a tent. When he finished he got in his boat to fish and was drawn to venture around the east shore to see what his new friends were doing. He found them in a grassy bay, the son was standing in the back of the canoe with a pole, pushing through the grass and the father sat towards the front with two sticks which he would use to pull the grass over the canoe and lightly shake, and then go on to the next strands. It looked so easy.

That evening as they cooked some nice white fish which George had caught near the bay, they told him all about processing the rice. They had put all their days collection, about four hundred pounds, in sacks and as soon as they got home tomorrow evening they would spread it out on tarps to pick over for leaves and bugs and to dry for several days in the warm sun. Then came the parching which would be done in open pans on a big stove top. It had to be stirred constantly till it turned a glossy dark brown as the kernels separated from the chaff. Then came the hulling which further separated the kernels from the chaff. They put a layer of rice in a large flat bottomed tub and “danced” on it, a light rubbing motion for which they wore soft moccasins that came to their knees because the chaff was prickly. Last it was winnowed, which they did using an old combine sieve, but which could also be done by tossing it from a pan to let the wind blow away the chaff. George was fascinated, this might be a real good boost for a winter food supply.

The next evening as the three returned to sack their rice before returning home they asked George if they could leave their canoe and tent and blankets for a few days till they returned for another load. George had been thinking all day. Would these nice people give him a ride to pick up some winter clothes and supplies. They would be coming back. There was a little conversation in a language George didn't understand, the outcome of which was that the boat would be too heavy for another person, but if he had money and made a list they would gladly bring back what he wanted. George knew exactly what he wanted and quickly wrote a list on a pad they gave him, and then he wrote his magic number on the bottom and gave them his bank card. “I don't know what's in the bank” he said, “but it'll be over two thousand by now. Find out at one of those machines and you can spend whatever is there.” They laughed and laughed and called him a silly snowball and were still laughing as their boat putted out onto the lake. George wondered to Mottles if he had done the right thing, but Mottles jumped on his lap and purred so soothingly that George felt he had made a good decision.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Adventurous George (5)


Since George had been sent home from the hospital, under the care of his client laden worker, he had not been prone to planning anything much. He did things pretty much on a whim, letting the force be with him as it were, and it seemed to work for him. Since it was only late June and there would be plenty of time to contemplate winter, he decided to give building a nifty cabin a try. What could he lose? So he planned, while picking berries to dry as it was the height of the season and he thought berries would come in handy no matter what. He spread them out on several sheets of plywood which Mottles guarded to keep the birds and little critters away, most of the time.

To build a cabin with no saw, he would keep all the dimensions to multiples of four feet, that way he could avoid a lot of plywood cutting. On a flat area behind the tuft of pines where all the lumber was, George used the 2 x 8's which were 16 feet long to build a pad, 16' x16'. The hatchet worked real slick for pounding nails, and he had his floor covered with 3/4” plywood in one day. Without cutting, the plywood didn't quite come all the way to the front edge, but who cared? That was side was going to be his little deck so he nailed a 2x4 across the end to cover the joists. The next day the back wall was framed in using 2x6 studs, between fishing and berry picking. His Bic lighter had come to the end of it's life and he had to keep his fire smouldering all the time now, so he spent a day uncrating his Acme Wood Stove and bolting it together tightening the stove bolts with his handy pliers. He didn't bother with the stove pipe outside here, but it would be of good use in a cabin. He used some 2x4's and a sheet of plywood to build a roof over it for when it rained. The stove worked real well for cooking on, he didn't have to hang his pot on a tripod, but it was a little harder to find dry wood that would fit in the stove. That would be a challenge for a winter adventure.

The back wall was 16' long, the length of his floor, but the side walls he made 12' so he'd have a 4' deck on the front. He found that by marking both sides of a 2 x 6 real deep with his hatchet he could break off a piece with a good whack leaving a fairly good end. He nailed 3/8” plywood on the three walls to keep them square. He hadn't had to cut any plywood yet, he was keeping things simple and these walls would have no windows. The front wall took a lot longer to build. He wanted a door and a window so he framed in the door exactly four feet from one end. He found a slider window which would fit a 2' x 4' opening and framed that in four feet from the other end. He'd spent some time marking an eight foot 2 x 4 at one foot intervals and it came in real handy for measuring stuff. Cutting out the door and window from the plywood wasn't too hard once he'd figured out a method. He marked both sides with a sharp stone, and then using a good size rock and his hatchet he banged through about halfway on each side, one hatchet width at a time. With a little perseverance it left a fairly good cut. He nailed in the slider and leaned the cut out door against some 2 x 4 moulding and wow, Mottles seemed impressed. He'd have to figure out how to make some hinges for a little heavier door, but the roof would come first.

This building seemed to come second nature to George. He couldn't remember what, but he knew he had built something like this in his forgotten past. Everything just seemed common sense but the fog of the past would not reveal where the knack came from. So he carpentered on, lost as if in a little fantasy, building a cabin in the woods. He built roof trusses so his roof would overhang his four foot deck and covered them with 3/4” plywood, strong enough for ten feet of snow. That night they moved in, from under their tarp, Mottles and George, most of the floor devoted to drying berries to keep the thieves away. Shakes would be the next job, to keep their cottage dry. Tomorrow would be a day for fishing and setting more rabbit snares made from cable strapping which had held the piles of lumber together. Mottles was getting a mite lazy as he humoured George for his hunting skills. He did like catching mice though.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Adventurous George (4)


Now if you think I'm just making this story about George up, well just you think again. It's as true as the gospels. Oh the names might be changed, and the characters to protect the guilty ones, and even most of the events may be skewed to make them less ineffable, but it's all true, cross my heart and hope to die. And here's a little map to prove it. It matches perfectly with a well known location in the western hemisphere.

So, George and Mottles wanted to explore their whole island, but the walking was difficult as the beaten paths were made by those born to be wild. George had been doing some fishing with the little boat and was quite confident with the ores now, so one really calm morning with Mottles seated on the prow, they ventured off along the shore, taking everything they valued with them in case they found a better nook to call home because the prevailing west wind really blasted at them some days. They headed south, George having his compass handy to make sure. Most of the shore which wasn't just plain swampy and full of red wing black birds had a little clay cliff wall along it which was the summer home of many swallows, with muskrats thriving in the mud at the bottom, and mud hens paddling in the weedy puddles. When they came around the southern tip there was open water to the east as far as the eye could see. As they cleared the rocky treed outcrop they could see into a nifty cove with a sandy beach and a little meadow sloping gently up from the waters edge. They went no further. This would be home. With their hearts in their throats they gently beached their little boat and both jumped out to explore this little piece of paradise.

Mottles found it first, hidden from view behind a tuft of pines, almost overgrown with grass and saplings. Lumber. Neat stacks of 2 x 8's and 2 x 6's and 2 x4's and plywood, 3/4”and 3\8”and cedar shakes and rolls of heavy plastic and bundles of pink insulation now home to more than a few critters. Plastic pails of nails with names like ardox and common of many different lengths were all lined up in a row. There was even a pile of triple glazed slider windows strapped over with several sheets of plywood. There was enough stuff here to build a castle. It must have taken days to haul this stuff out here. Maybe it had been sledded out in winter over the ice, who knew? Some of the new pines growing through it were six feet tall. This stuff must have been here for years. As they poked around further they even found a crate half sunk in the sand which said in big black letters, “Acme Wood Stove.”

Well, George sat down on a stack of 2 x 4's and scratched his head. And Mottle's head too. Somewhere in his forgotten past there stirred a memory of building things and the pride of his accomplishments. But the only tools he had were the hatchet and a pair of pliers. He could probably pound nails with the hatchet but he had no saw. Could anyone build a little home with a hatchet? He started to ponder his future. Could anyone survive a winter out here? He'd need some warm clothes. He'd already snared a rabbit with a piece of soft cable he'd found on the beach. Ice fishing would be good, the lake here was full of nice Jacks, although they were a bit bony. If he waited for a good east wind he could make it back to the big city and his bank account would have lots of money after not spending any for a few months, but could he find his way back out here? He really didn't want to go back to his little pad with the saggy bed. This life was way better. What should he do, what should he do?

(To be continued)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Adventurous George (3)



Lakes oft have streams running into them and as George and Mottles trudged south they came to a big, big stream, actually an inlet with a swath of water to the west as far they could see. George had not heard any trucks at all for the last stretch and knew the road must be a long way off now, or even headed away from the lake. They followed an animal trail along the north shore of the inlet. It wasn't easy going as Mottles would have a little snooze while George figured out his way over the often jumbled entanglement. Mottles found it first, the little row boat, and was smugly seated on the prow when George came into view. It seemed to have been washed ashore, in a bit of a storm perhaps, as it sat askew on the edge of a thicket. It looked reasonably worthy with it's two ores tucked neatly in their locks and it looked even better once they had it floating in the water moored by the rope George had been carrying with him for two days now. Mottles took to the prow like an old sea hand, never once getting his feet wet as he leaped from the shore. George's skills needed a little honing as they went around in circles drifting into the lazy current.

As they settled into their new home, the current carried them out into the lake and the breeze took over as the main influence on their trajectory as they unerringly headed southeast into the quiet expanse with the waves lap lapping at the gunwales. The boat held a few items which might be of use. Stuffed into the tiny bow they found a tarp and Mottles made short work of the mice which scampered out as they hesitated to dive into the depths. Under the rear seat, which was hinged on the the back edge and they managed to pry open, Mottles being the first one in, they found an assortment of camp gear including a set of tin plates and a pot and pan and even a big tin cup. There was a very tangled fishing reel on a short homemade pole, and a little plastic tackle box with some lures and pliers and a really sharp filleting knife in a nifty leather case. The bright yellow rain coat with the big hood was a real find as George tried it on and it came down to his knees. And in the bottom was a little hatchet with a wooden handle.

As the shore became a thin line between the water and the sky, George practised his rowing. If he kept the blades just under the water, not too deep, and pulled evenly, he could keep the little boat heading back towards shore. But no matter how hard he rowed, the shore line became more distant. George finally gave up and after finishing his pail of berries for a snack, he stretched out with the raincoat for a pillow and was soon fast asleep under the warm sun. He dreamed. A life clouded in his forgotten past, of a farm yard near a river with a garden and field of potatoes and chickens and cows and a warm barn with hay in the loft and cats, lots of cats. And thud. George just about jumped into the reeds. Mottles was already perched on top of the muskrat house waiting instructions. Wherever they were, this was not a good place to moor a boat of any sort. The mud looked bottomless and the tangle of reeds was too thick to push through, so George coaxed Mottles back from his perch and eased away with his ores. He was getting better. He held a course just beyond the lily pads and around the rocks protecting the little marsh they had landed in and came to a nicely tree lined beach with just enough sand to pull their boat up onto.

The next few days were spent untangling the fishing reel so it could be used, and picking berries which seemed to be everywhere, and cooking rabbits and mud hens which Mottles magically appeared with and always set at George's feet for his approval, he was really beginning to enjoy a few scritches for his gifts. George's compass told him they had landed on the west side of what turned out to be a long island. He found a trail, with evidence of deer and a least one bear, which headed in through the birch and poplars and pines and through a meadow and on up towards a grassy hill strewn with boulders, the highest point anywhere around him. He could see the lake on the other side, maybe half a mile away. The horizon in every direction was sky and water. This life was growing on George, he didn't even miss his throne.

(To be continued)