Elk Meat in the bag

So, I shot an Elk!

It was a pretty good moment. I meant to write this post last weekend, as it happened last weekend and I want to keep this story rife with detail. It's been a long time since I used this blog to reflect on much and I may get going again. who knows.

So, my friend took my to his secret spot. It's up high, we hiked slowly to get to where we camped. We saw two whitetail bucks on the way up. It's a good spot. We also saw elk when we arrived where we were going to camp, two above us and one below. We were on the edge of an avalanche chute/draw/ valley. It was beautiful and steep. But we were able to camp on an old road at the edge. We didn't make a fire, so as not to spook the animals that were all around us. I had brought the wrong sleeping bag, so I froze all night. It reminded me of the time I slept in -10 weather with some buddies, I was so cold that night, I made hot water with a tiny bit of whisky and earl grey tea. Every time I woke from being cold, I had a little of that to warm me up and I could sleep again. That was the coldest night ever. But this was not as bad, but still cold. Anyway, I was delighted to get up in the darkness and get dressed and start climbing the steep hillside to get to where we were going to glass from. We had plans to get there and eat breakfast and watch for animals. Before we got to the rock, which was maybe .5 km from where we camped, we saw a young bull, not big enough to shoot. We then crept up a small draw inside the chute until we made our way to the large rock we would sit on and glass from. I started to use my new binoculars, looking down the draw, I watched a black bear mom and two cubs play around and eat mountain ash berries and then I looked up the chute to see a bull elk standing there. I hadn't yet had water or food, we were about to settle in and eat breakfast after our brief hike. I saw the elk and whispered to my friend who had been concentrating on getting his own breakfast, he hadn't even seen the elk. I looked at it and instantly knew it was too small as well, looked briefly through my binoculars, and then grabbed my phone to take a picture. Then he whispers loudly 'it's legal, get ready for a shot' and my heart instantly is racing. I was in disbelief. I scrambled to get my pack set up so I had a rest for my rifle, hoping that the bright blue of the backpack and the noise of it moving around wouldn't spook the elk. so as I get set up, it starts to walk toward us along the ridge, closing the gap from maybe 150 to 100 yards. I'm not totally sure. It faced me head on for a while and then sort of was quartering towards me, where I could aim right at it's heart/lung area. I breathed slowly and pulled the trigger. It dropped instantly, rolled a bit and was down. I was in disbelief. how did that just happen? first thing in the morning! not even 7:30 and I have shot my first elk ever.
We then proceed to leisurely take 12 hours to get it down the mountain in various pieces and to the butcher shop. Of course my friend gets to take half the meat, but he only takes a smaller portion, as he has already shot an elk. So I have waiting for me at the butcher shop, well over 100lbs of elk meat. Lots of work, but very exciting. Most of all, I am touched by the generosity of my new friend who shared his spot with me. Don't ask where it is though, I'll say it's in the mountains.



We are buying a house. That's a pretty big deal.


R Nace

I reconnected with an Old Friend who I hadn't seen in a long time, and his ability to cut to the chase reminded me of Fr. Gregory. It was good, I hope to see him again soon, he is a choral mentor to many.
This past weekend I took my band to Whistler and it was awesome, they learned a bunch and I learned a bunch too. Today's rehearsal was amazing, absolutely amazing. They played beethoven beautifully. It made me love my job. What I need now are peer mentors for my younger students.

It was so good. So good. two separate one hour sessions for the students and I learned so much.



Sorry to those that we missed,

we find ourselves visiting mostly with parents/grandparents when we come. That, and I officially can't stand driving here, in fact with the price of real estate, I can't understand why anyone would stay. Honestly, it's nuts. Though change is hard, so no worries. I have stopped trying to spread the good news of living elsewhere, because really, I don't want to overpopulate the rest of the province. I remained surprised though.
I am on my way back to silence, or at least less noise, punctuated by trains, and intermittent deer.

There were thoughts I wanted to share, but I don't remember them. I had a great brief chat with Donovan, and I hope to be a foil for good discussion in front of a podcast mic on day. We will see. I loved what he said about open concept design and how designated space can help kids develop imagination and see and live within boundaries. I forget about this type of living/thinking when I am doing day to day out there, we are busy, and not missing out I don't think.

I am bringing my band back here, to play at Con Brio Whistler, work will be busy for the spring to the finish and the government keeps lobbing little IED's at us. I don't like them. I don't understand why they want to cut and cut and cut.


America IS at war with ISLAM

President Obama is naive. or deceitful.

It's funny, and it took me a while, but, now it seems so obvious, especially with the latest ISIS threat against malls, and add to that the encouragement from W to go shopping in response to 9/11, how can we not see it? The USA (and by extension, the west) is consumed with pleasure and excess, and it is our policy and religion to consume, but nobody sees it. Nobody cares, or wants to admit it, and this ideology wars against some part of the soul of the ISIS ideology of obedience and submission to Allah.
America is at war with any ideology or belief that is not in favour of rampant consumption. It's just not an obvious war.


Music is for telling stories

I have had an epiphany, music is for telling stories, or it should be. It can and does other things, but if it is good and if it is to grab your attention, it will tell a story. This is why a lot of CCM is crap, because it is about as deep as a puddle in the desert, doesn't tell a story. This is why the Psalms are good, they are telling a story-even though they don't always have narrative trajectory-

Anyway. That's today's epiphany. Music tells stories. It's also today's lesson in Grade 2 music friday.

Zeke's birthday was yesterday, it was brutal and awesome. He was all wound up, and we had to cancel our planned sushi supper. But he can load and shoot his bb gun by himself, I wasn't sure he was strong enough for it, but he is.

and it's spring in February here. Snow is almost all gone from town. It's bizarre.


Old Posts, Old Friends, recycled thoughts.

I just read some old posts, and they included comments from people I didn't realize I had known so long, including M and K Francis, Kai, Elizabeth R, RW, Aunty Bic, (Vic), Simeon, and others.

I had no idea it's been so long, I feel old, and blessed to have such friends, even though I don't see them often. I recently told someone I don't like that word, blessed, but in this context it's true. I was reading way back in 2005 when I was coming home from Grad school, and I didn't realize I had become such a part of St. Hermans that I mattered to all these people. I guess we were all blogging a lot back then too, commenting all over the place, but what an archive of interaction. I love it. I am so glad this archive is here, so I will continue, and perhaps publicize it again, and rant a bit so as to garner a reaction, of any sort, so you post a thought and I can look back in 10 more years and remember fondly this interaction. I guess it's like an old letter, but better, because it doesn't take up space. I'm a sucker for history like this.

I miss a lot of people. Fernie is epic. We do everything I have ever wanted to do, but we won't buy a house here, it's like langley/surrey prices and with one income, it's just not happening. I would move to chilliwack if I were in the mainland still, and we could do it there, but our church is growing slowly, we are getting a steady priest who is moving to Cranbrook, and I think it will be good.

I have been biking in the snow, it's not so bad. I don't like being wet, but I don't mind being cold. Vancouver, such a legend, and yet just a place. I turned off the hockey game tonight, it was ok, but just kind of useless. It's just a piece of rubber, and yet we invest so much meaning into it.

I see so much religion in our empty activities, so much passion and belief in things like sport and hobbies. I do it too, I find identity in it, and it's something I have fought or mused on for a long time. I wrote an essay in Grade 11 ( I got such a good mark and high praise for it that I remember it vividly) about putting on and changing our identities. I 'became' orthodox. I am orthodox. I am a Husband and Father. I am a teacher. I am a hunter, fisherman, cycling/running enthusiast (running?) I pine for the fjords, or perhaps just a few acres of land. I identify myself in different ways and I think this is a huge issue for belief, faith, and existence in general. I think when we find something to identify ourselves with, we don't feel the lack of other things, which might be why wealthy moderns like myself (who have more than we need of everything) don't need God. why would we?

Also, I miss silence and meditation, yoga, spiritual discipline and things like that. I feel like I am always in survival mode, like the panic button has been down for 5 years (since we had kids) and I wonder if that feeling goes away, because I wish I could teach my kids about silence, but I am nowhere near practicing it. Except when I hunt or run. but really that's not the same. Though I wonder if there is a connection there.

I love my job, but it's also frustrating. So many kids don't come with an assumption that the teacher knows what they are talking about. It's a little weird, I don't know if I felt that way, but I know I had respect for certain teachers as experts, that's for sure. Where did that come from? the respect or disrespect? Is it the family? or the teacher? or both? It seems to me that our system is not functioning very well, but what is the answer? fix it from within? head for the hills and start a commune?



Pleasure vs. Joy, also ten years of blogging.

I live in a beautiful place that is conducive to living a life of pleasure. Every day, we live for pleasure. I could bike all winter on any number of trails, using a snow bike, or I could snowshoe, XC Ski, Downhill ski, snowboard, fish, hunt, run etc. In the summer I can trade the winter activities for summer things. People refer to Fernie as Never-Never-Land, where we can be kids forever, and it makes me wonder. I love enjoying these activities, and I hope that as I do, I am offering thanks in word and deed for the life I get to live, showing my kids to be grateful and appreciate all they have been giving, but as they grow up I see reflected in their attitudes something that I fear I show often: Entitlement. I hate to say it but I think I feel like I deserve all this fun, like it's my turn to get that foot of powder, catch that trout, etc. I deserve it. I know it's hard to really understand all of our own motives, perhaps impossible unless you live near Gibsons, but I was talking to a friend recently and we sort of realized that one of the values of living in this town is fun. Was it fun? how was your weekend? Oh, you skied, did you have fun? the snow was bad? aw, that's too bad. Too cold? another tragedy. But really, what am I doing here? fully engaged with the fun, and loving it. How can I show/be the Love that I know, the discipline that I crave and get better at what I say matters? I want my kids to grow up a certain way, but I think I am demonstrating something else.
Then, there's the other side, where maybe I have been given a sweet gift, and I can fully enjoy it and bounce through the mountains and call it Joy and be grateful for what God has allowed. But the rub with that is that I don't deserve it, it's not a gift from God and it is all the same time. How can I dare to say that my amazing life is a gift from God? I can't, I can only say that life itself is a gift from God, and how we respond to it might be yet another gift, because I could be a jerk and not see that I have this worm of entitlement inside me, so I am glad I can at least see it, or I could refuse it thinking that I know better than God about what to do in this moment.
The rain falls on the on the sinner and the good, and everything is meaningless, so perhaps even to try and understand it is futile and instead we should just go to church and continue to plow furrows ever so slowly. I imagine I wrote a post like this sometime in the last decade of this blog, which I am now upon, having started in 2005.