Tiger Lilies and Political Thoughts

I had a nice if chilly walk this morning with the puppies on the Lower Butter loop trail – the chief feature being lovely tiger lilies (see photos).

However, I have spent most of the morning reflecting on politics. The events of the last few days have brought international politics sharply into focus for most Canadians – so much so that the Conservatives are actually siding with the Prime Minister. We have lists of companies to boycott (selling Trump products or owned by Trump) published in such old-school respectable journals as MacLeans.

Like many others, I have been reasonably verbal on Facebook and Twitter. And I have seen that many Americans are apologetic and supportive of Canada and Canadians – mostly, of course, those who did not vote for Trump and those who are embarrassed to admit that he is the President of their country.

And this is where I have chosen to diverge from the path most Canadians are following. Ever since Trump was elected, I have heard apologies from Americans – and that’s at least 1.5 years now.

I say “Enough!”

If you can’t remove a man who is unfit for public office after 18 months, then I would venture to say that your system of checks and balances is not working.

Trump has lied thousands of times; he has done everything in his power to undermine democracy. He is a boor, a misogynist and a racist. He admires and courts authoritarian leaders and undermines Western democracies. He is, in short, a Fascist.

Apologies and good thoughts don’t change that. I won’t accept them. Do something! Do what? I don’t know. Invoke the emoluments clause? Revolt? Do what it takes. We have seen how this plays out. Remember the Second World War? We know how this ends.

There were a lot of nice German people in that country who didn’t like their leader and who apologized to their Jewish neighbours. I know about this. My grandparents were nice people who apologized and even stood up for their friends. I had a grandfather who had a seat in Parliament – the opposition, I should say.

Fascism has a way of creeping up slowly and undermining democratic institutions one by one until they fail.

And it all starts with the rallying cry of “fake news!”

Do Something – stop apologizing.

I come from a generation of women that was taught to be quiet, sit in a corner, be polite, and don’t ruffle the waters. I was taught not to speak out. I was taught that the most important thing is to have everyone like you.

It’s hard for me to speak out, especially when I see the result – people I like and admire disagreeing with me. It’s hard for me – it takes guts. Honestly. It may not seem hard to most people, but it is for me. I am programmed to be “nice.”

But I feel that I must speak out on this – that I must take a stand.

There are too many things I don’t take a stand on – things I believe in strongly. I see a fine line between honest and open discussion and debate and searching for common ground – and taking a stand for what we know is right. I think that I often make the mistake of opting for compromise – of trying to find a solution that works for everyone. Well, that’s not always possible.

In this case – with Trump and his supporters, there is no solution other than removing him and his enablers.


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The agony (!) of not hiking

I suppose I’m being a bit (a lot?) facetious about not hiking being agonizing. And I question this need I have to move. Because, as I’m discovering in the early stages of the new book I’m writing, I have a need to move. Yes, hiking is my preferred mode of moving – but travel is something I need as surely as I need air to breathe.

Is it an addiction? Well, I suppose you’d have to define addiction. I don’t like the word because it implies that you are a victim of something (cigarettes, alcohol, sex – I mean these days, you seem to be allowed to be helpless in the face of almost anything.)

So no, not an addiction. I’d call it a love. My endorphins do a happy dance when I move. I love the excitement of getting on a skytrain or in a taxi headed to the airport. I don’t like flying but I like being in a state of movement from one place to another.

One feeling I adore is that moment when I’ve retrieved my luggage from the carousel, emerged from the airport, and arrived on a train platform – and I’m waiting for it to whisk me away to the next place. And much as I enjoy arriving and putting on my hiking boots and slogging up a hill or mountain every day, I do like packing up again and hopping on another train.

I like huge train stations with dozens of platforms, especially those big old stations in cities like Munich, Paris, London, Zurich – the ones with the arced glass roofs where pigeons roost and masses of people are rushing about, grabbing a roll and a coffee at a kiosk, boarding their trains – starting new adventures.

I like getting on a train and finding my seat, settling into the plushness of it – that feeling of the wheels slowly beginning their turn, pulling away and out of the station – and suddenly sunlight and the backs of buildings where trucks unload their goods and people’s washing hangs on lines – and then the speeding up and backyards turning into fields where sheep or cows graze – and the world passing by.

I like the anticipation of what might be.

Hiking is an extension of that – and yet vastly different. Hiking is my meditation. When I am alone, my mind stills. Oh sure, there is always background chatter. I have no idea how to stop that. But it sinks into a rhythm, keeping pace with my feet. And my soul lifts and lifts and lifts. Even when I am with other people, I feel some of that same lifting. Hiking is my drug of choice.

I like the feeling at the end of a long hard day of being physically tired – and elated.

Today I was a bit of a sloth. I wrote this morning – and that was good – but I also essentially lazed in quite a sloth-like way. It was cold and raining and I was grateful that Simon started a fire for me before he left for work.

I walked with the dogs this afternoon.

I may write some more. Maybe not. Maybe another hour or so of being a sloth. Maybe a visit to the garden.

Tomorrow something more ambitious with the dogs – part of Butter. Kinball Lake on Tuesday and then a road trip.

You see, I love road trips (as should be obvious from this post). Movement. Point A to Point B. Yeah. I even think I know some of the origins of this desire – my childhood.

Like almost everything else in life, I can ultimately blame my parents! Awesome! As I’ve said so many times: the secret of life is knowing who to blame. (smirk)

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The Myth of the Shoulder Season

I almost bought into it – not that there isn’t such a thing as “shoulder season” – of course there is – but that somehow shoulder season should limit my ability to hike.

Certainly, on Vancouver Island, I hiked in different places in the winter because on the coast there are plenty of lower lying mountains that never get any snow. Conversely, in the high places, the snow lingers longer than it does here. And what do people do? Hell, they get out anyway! What’s a little bit of snow? There are places where there is snow in August.

Here, I’ve found a treasure-chest full of snowshoeing places in the winter. No winter hiking, but to make up for that, there’s the alpine! So that’s awesome!

And then “shoulder season” hikes open up but as I have discovered, there’s no reason to limit ourselves. All we have to do is be prepared to grab an ice axe and crampons or just hoof it through snow in some places. The alpine is accessible here year-round. So – that’s awesome. No, you can’t reach it easily where we live but just drive south 90 minutes and there you are!

That’s the good news.

It is also good news that it’s raining, or should I say pouring. Glad we went up Mount Plewman yesterday and really glad for the rain for several reasons:

a) mitigating “fire season”

b) watering the garden

c) giving me a great excuse to be a lazy toad

An interesting thing: I am so ready to move into a place that really works – and I want that to be “works” for both of us. – A place with room for a garden, lots of light and sun, a community where I can walk or cycle where I need to go and within easy reach of hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. At the same time, I know that I can’t predict how long the sale of our place will take so I am feeling quite content to be here and to make this a beautiful home while we are here. Wherever we are is home and it’s up to us to make it feel like that – a lovely refuge – a nest.

The guy from Kelowna picked up the canoe this morning. His kids (9 and 11) wanted it so badly. They are going canoeing tomorrow. I’m so pleased it found a lovely home.

I believe there may be a road trip in my future. Home Sense perhaps?

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Mount Plewman

It was one of those amazingly, fabulously satisfying days – meaning we worked our bodies hard, had a few challenges to overcome and ended up on top of a mountain with wonderful views and sunshine – and we spent the entire day in great company!

We were surprised by the snow – right from the start. And, naturally – no gaiters.

But hey! What’s a bit of snow in your boots?

And then shortcutting the trail up to Unnecessary Ridge in order to avoid steep snow – and then a snowy ridge walk.

And – beauty – just beauty.

In other words – I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

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A day – a day passed. Odd that – how the days go. Days that are not earth-shattering or significant. Just another day in the life. Just another day in the journey – a journey that will end and then be forgotten. Human life – such an odd phenomenon. And I don’t know the meaning of it. Oh sure, I have flashes of brief insight – when something triggers and I say to myself, “Aha! That’s it!”

But most days tick away one hour at a time and they’re fine and I find things that make me happy and that please me. I laugh and I have fun and then another day…

One more existential day.

Today I found joy in watching the hummingbirds at the feeder and watering and weeding the garden. I will find more joy in preparing a huge salad full of fresh in ingredients from the garden. I will find joy preparing for tomorrow’s hike.

And – oddly enough – I found joy today in a clean house. Oh no – not the cleaning itself – goddess forbid I start liking cleaning! It’s when it’s done and I can look at the tidy, dust and doghair free space that I feel good. If I had the money I would pay someone to do it – trust me.

On the other hand, it’s not like I don’t have time to do it.

I like the sun and the heat. I like summer. I have always been a summer person. I suspect I always be. On days like this winter seems such a distant memory.

Really looking forward to living in a place where winter will be something I can incorporate into my life.


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Wakefield Trail Attempt

Ah yes – once again, “Did not turn out as expected!”

Not that it didn’t start out rather nicely. We all met as planned, piled into Ann’s jeep and our truck and headed up the Wakefield Road. It had been cleared, they said – you could drive all the way up to the trailhead, they said.

“They” were ATVers who had not considered the fact that trucks and jeeps are wider than ATV’s.

We barely made it to the second three-point turn. There we abandoned the vehicles and trekked up the road. We hit the trailhead. Perfect. – on we went, excited. What a glorious Day! Yay!

Oops! – look at that – a blowdown. Okay – no big deal. We were bound to find one or two trees down.

I think if we had counted, we would have added up maybe one or two hundred trees down. (slight , but not huge exaggeration). We crawled under, we scrambled over and at least twice, freelanced up the very steep mountainside to get around a whole bloody forest that had come down. Needless to say we were adding quite a bit of time to the hike.

We persevered. Simon rightly pointed out that some of the stuff we were going under and over was mightily dangerous – hanging by a thread, so to speak.

But we persevered. We got closer to the alpine and crossed the first gully. We came to the second gully – snow. Ok – no big deal. I was in front and put one foot and then another tentatively on the snow, testing for consolidation and so on. It was technically snow and in reality, a steep sheet of ice. I backed off. Chris thought he might be able to kick steps. Not a chance. And no, we had not brought ice axes – the only safe way to get across.

We had two options, call it and turn around or bushwhack up to a place higher up the gully that was snow free – and then bushwhack back down the other side.

What the hell – we headed up – steep, messy and pretty ugly. After about fifteen minuets, Chris said something to the effect of, “I’m done with this s&%t.”

So we called it, turned and had a lovely lunch in the sun with a glorious view. Then we headed back down – yup – through all the stuff we fought our way through on the way up.

And you know what? We had a wonderful day. Ann, Simon, Chris and Kathryn were beautiful company. We laughed and talked and I do believe I came away with the best summer legs.

Afterwards, it was so nice to have Chris and Kathryn stop by to look at our house and garden. So nice to know that it’s as pretty as we think it is.

And now? Eager for the next adventure, although a bit less bushwhacking would be appreciated.

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Another Amble

Look at that face! So hopeful I’ll drop part of (or all of) my sandwich.

(didn’t happen!)

Today was completely unscripted. First, I woke up too early. I have to start recognizing the difference between the number 5 and 6 on my iPad – so that I stop getting up at 5 thinking it’s 6.

Despite that, or possibly because of that, I decided it would be a good day to drive to Nelson to buy more socks. True – a girl can never have enough socks in the sock rotation drawer.

Simon begged to come along (how could I say no?) and then of course we had to bring the girls and off we went at about 8.30. We stopped on the rail trail to walk the girls and discovered, to our delight, a fabulous riparian area with monster skunk cabbage and all sort of awesome flowers as well as a zillion songbirds.

Then off to Nelson where we walked up and down Baker Street, popping into shops just for the heck of it. What I’m saying is that we were kind of acting like normal people – maybe even tourists. So we bought a few things (socks), picked up dog food and headed back. Had a nice outdoor lunch at Sleep if for Sissies – nice because the dogs could join us outside and the food is good.

We had a day of treating ourselves.

And then back home where I picked another monster bowl of lettuces, spinach, radishes and pac choy as well as a handful of chives for our dinner tonight.

Tomorrow – Idaho Peak.


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