Friday, July 21, 2017

One Foot in the Mud

Tonight seems to be so far away from this morning. I don’t feel that the two points are connected in any way. In between there was a long walk, orange-glazed buns at Moiya's, haunting the local thrift shop, finding more flour on sale at Save-On-Foods ($6.99 for 20 lbs), eating a Chapman’s double chocolate ice-ream bar with Zoe, playing Sherriff of Nottingham with David Camps, and finishing the evening at a soirée with Wyona, Glen and Moiya.
Greg has been seen moving this dirt
for many days now.

In the morning, I thought I was going to walk the property with Marcia, calling out “bear, bear” as we chatted our steps away. I had forgotten that this morning Greg was going to show us where there has been a mini-mud slide off of Lot 12. There had been rain at 6:30 am and again a sprinkling of it just before 7 a.m. That didn’t stop Greg, Marcia, Ceilidh and me from walking down the Bates’path that is lined with mini-sweet peas and toward the route that would take us to the place where the Robertson Stream crosses the footpath that leads to the meadow.

Greg stepped into the stream to show us where the culvert was. The water was pure, running clean and clear. The culvert was plugged. Somehow Greg lost his footing. His foot sunk mind calf into silt. He leaned backward to stabilize himself and pulled his foot out, but he was far less dry when he became sure footed again.

Not to have us miss out on the fun ahead, he kept going forward. I could feel the slosh, slosh every time his right foot hit the ground. “These were my best boots.” That is all he said as he lead us through the meadow to look at the culvert there – it will be a major job to take the deadfall and roots out of that culvert. In fact, the water has found a way around it.

Two points in the path that we walked were exquisitely beautiful. One was a tree that had fallen over the path, but the bole was so high that we could walk under it. “No use cutting that one with a chain saw. It is so stunning there,” he said.

The other magnificent spot was at a steep climb. Greg paused to show us a fallen Douglas fir that stretch breathtakingly upward toward the highway. Oohs and ahhs at its length. He told us that the hole it left when it fell was so large that he thought the path was ruined and that we wouldn’t be able to use it again. Glen came up with his chain saw to see if there was anything that could be done. Glen cut off the root and when it fell, the stump fell back into its original place, making it safe now to take that path and filling the biggest hole you ever saw. For years people will be stopping at that spot, pointing to the repair job and explaining about the clever way that the path was fixed.

The sun was reflecting through the trees and sparkling as it refracted through the dew on the ferns. I was breathless with the beauty around me. I was also full of gratitude to Greg and Glen for maintaining the path. I wonder if there will be a statue some day, erect to honour them – one man with a chain saw and the other with a shovel.

Greg said that the caption on this picutres
should read
Don't Buy the Wrong Kind of Dirt
We were on a verdant pathway through virgin forest where every step seemed to produce a different picture. I was mad that I left my camera at home.

Marcia had to get home to work. We took the easier path to return, one along the railroad track, but even the track caused us to stop and wonder. The pile of grain on the ties reminded me of the literature I have been reading – more bears are being hit by trains because the bears come to eat the grain that falls off as the train travels along and drops it. I don’t know how to measure how much was there – cups and cups for we bent down to the mound of grain and ran our fingers through it. Marcia remembered how she had tried to chew grain as a child, for she had been told if she did it would turn to gum. She never could get it to taste like Hubba Bubba.

The next pile of grain had been there a long time, and was just beginning to sprout. There was that starchy smell of wet grain. Greg was telling how some Canadian alcohol is made from fermented grain mash -- remarking that this looked like it was well on its way to that.

Ceilidh letting me take a pic for my phone contacts.
I am going to try texting her more, now that we
are spending so much time together.
I do not know how her parents had the courage to part with her.
We dropped Marcia off at 4,500 steps. I felt as though we had travelled miles and miles by then.

But that didn’t stop Ceilidh and me from travelling down to the beach where the Pillings had planted a willow.

We were not only surprised by its growth, but by the logs that have been beached there and surround it now.

I showed Ceilidh how to return home by using the path by the stream that runs by my house.

She says that the next time she leaves home, she is wearing different footwear.  She left, thinking she was going fishing with Uncle Art and instead ended up on our hike with us.  Not a good place for flip-flops.

And that is the story of my lovely morning.



  1. Thanks for taking me on your walk with you. I felt like I was right there.

  2. I am so glad that Greg didn't break his leg when his foot sank so far into that mud. Glen calls is black water. That stream is the one that the Robertson's originally got their water from. Twice a year Don had to dig a large well out -- the mud would just collect until the barrel would overflow. That was in the days before the Robertson's joined into our water line. But the creek still runs and the mud in the water settles and rises.

    It made me think of those movies in the 40's and 50's where someone would fall in quick sand and then it would just envelop them, pulling them down until all I could see was their nose, their eyes, their hair and then nothing. A harrowing part of those early movies for me! So glad Greg only when calf high. :-)