28 04 2012

Six months ago, on a brisk October day, James and I concealed a jam jar filled with treasures under some stones on Nose Hill. We also piled up some branches, trying not to make it too obvious that we had hidden the item. From time to time, he mentioned the hoard and wondered what was happening to it in the cold and snow. Today was the big day, to find out if the treasure was still there or if it had been plundered. It turned out that someone, or some creature, had uncovered the jar but the items were still inside – a beaded model elephant from India, a souvenir from Taiwan’s National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, a miniature Eiffel Tower, a mutant marble, a plastic ring and an elastic band. After we collected the treasure jar, we went onto a nearby gravel pile and did some cloud watching.  I felt so lucky to be able to share this experience with my son.



15 04 2012

Snow, AGAINNNN???!!! AHHHHHHHHH, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! It was about a year ago that I wrote ‘Dismal Doggerel’, after stomping around in funereal snow. The nasty joke is over, please send in better weather. Yes, I know that Anglophones tend to focus conversations on the elements, and there are heaps of complaints about Chinooks (migraines, mood-swings, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, etc.) and the seemingly never-ending dismal winter, but, damn it, I’ve had my fill of winter too. Why should I wake up today, on April 15th, and see snow drifting down? Go somewhere else, and come back next November! The first snowfall of the year is magical but then it starts to get old along with the dead, brown crispy grass. Another thing, there is nowhere near Calgary to escape this onslaught of brown hills, inexorable snow, stony wind and dreary skies when one lives in here – perched on the margin of the foothills and the grasslands. It is the same, or worse, in all directions of the compass. I don’t care if this frustration is illogical, or whatever, I just want to see some green grass and to, once more, hear the enchanted trill of a meadowlark. Even a roar of swamp frogs would go over well. More grumping, I still haven’t seen a crocus peep out! Where are they? Quitters? I look forward to seeing some greenery, to see the trees in flower. I would rather have the seasonal allergies to tree pollen than endure the chilly tomb-like existence anymore. I hope that, wherever you are, you are getting nicer WEATHER than here, in frenetic Calgary – city of the people-who-show-little-outward-emotion-because-that-ain’t-fittin’, yep. Don’t get too friendly, we’re cold.

Sacred Canada Geese

6 04 2012

When I was an innocent teenager, I had the opportunity to ride my pony down to a slough south of where I grew up. While by the placid waters, I dismounted and appreciated the musty cool smells and the clear silence.  A pair of Canada Geese gracefully glided down, not perceiving a threat as I was on the other side of the horse from them. As I watched the majestic pair interact, it was very special. For about a half an hour, I saw how intelligent the creatures were, and, knowing that they mate for life, was grateful I had never shot one while out hunting at the slough. I am still thankful that I never shot a Canada Goose, and was overjoyed today to see a pair in Confederation Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They were regal, amongst the sundry smaller ducks. My son fed the pair, as they shooed the ducks away with menacing body language. The experience made me appreciate how much the world has changed in my lifetime, and how important it is to preserve these wonderful beings. Since I was born, the Earth’s population has more than doubled. In my youth, there was no lack of wildlife on the land, the rivers were full of fish, people were less materialistic and there was no global warming. Seeing the geese was a noble reminder that we need to make clearer efforts to save our world.