Compare Contrast Haiku (One Deep Breath)

A late morning kayak paddle last weekend led us to an island on Flathead Lake which was surrounded by deep pools such as these. Carefully we brought the boat close to the sharp rocks near the steep shoreline and peered into serene water. Only a few nights before the Lake was a tempest tossed with winds of nearly 100 mile per hour and a tornado spout sited which capsized and sank a 22 foot sailboat leaving two sailors stranded in 15 foot waves for two hours. How quickly things can change and this is something of which we are always aware whenever we paddle out into the lake.

Morning light captured

in deep pools of solitude

blue and green smiling.

Green pools

The water is calm

we are allowed safe passage

watching a blue sky.

More questions than answers

Why is it that…

…most bumper stickers sound like a bad country and western song?

…once you sign up for a Yahoo Alert you cannot get rid of it?

…all my ball point pens go bad at once?

…all the advertising reps call on Friday afternoons around 4 pm?

…there are not enough hours in the day to do simple home repairs or pick up random clutter but one can use up an entire day to read Harry Potter?

(Actually, I haven’t read the new book yet as I am last person on the book ladder in this family. We are now on the second rung and I am number 4. No one discusses the story until everyone has read it, however.)

Fires everywhere but it’s still home

As we were looking for a camping spot last evening over in the Swan Lake district, Matthew watched from the car window as a big pine torched and burst into flames across the meadow near the highway. No wonder the smoke was so thick in the campground we had just vacated. We had been all set up to camp that night but the smoke rolled in around 8 pm, settled in so thickly that we could taste it. Oh boy, so we left that camp spot and drove 30 miles further to find a place with fresher air (and more people camping) but it was worth the hurried move. We didn’t have time to stop and take photos of the forest fire for it was getting late and dark. As it was, we pulled into our camp spot just five minutes before the State campground closed at Salmon Lake. I’m sure we will more opportunities to share fire pictures with you as the combat season progresses. Unfortunately.

Governor Schweitzer made statements today that things are looking grim. You can read the full story in the Missoulian. We are getting used to fires in the summer around here but each one of us shake our heads as each morning more fires appear on the Forest Service fire map. The number of fires in the last week have tripled if not more. Still, our family is making an effort to get out and enjoy the waters while we have the chance. After all, smoke or no it is still home.

Lindberg Lake

We kayaked about 2.5 miles up Lindberg Lake and back, (five miles total) mostly sticking to the shoreline out of the wind and sunlight. This lake is quite slender and narrow reaching up into the mountains about four miles. It was a memorable paddle because we had never kayaked on these waters before. It was peaceful, clear, and at the moment when Matthew shot this image, the smoke had not yet rolled into the valley. It was almost as if the fires on the distant ridge didn’t even exist – a small haven of blissful escape for a few hours. The shoreline was marked by big, fallen logs, wonderfully high rock walls, huge gorgeous trees and tiny rock beaches accented by deep, dark pools. And, oh so quiet. Shssh, shssh. It was a haven for dragonflies, deer, birds and bunnies.

lind12.jpgOne little bird at the campground flew in as soon as we arrived and scolded us for not handing out treats fast enough. She was very tiny but brave as she hopped around trying to mooch for her brood who were even tinier hiding in the brush next to the picnic table. We did throw her a few tidbits but not too much. Besides, she was very picky about what she wanted. No chips! But I like those almonds, thank you. I know the rules about feeding the wildlife, but I am a hopeless pushover. Hungry birds or hungry boys, it really doesn’t matter.

[tags]forest fires,Montana,Swan,Lindberg Lake[/tags]

Why sell one’s soul?

Lindberg LakeLater on this week we plan to launch another small adventure before my nephew from Florida arrives with his new wife over the weekend. I have no idea where we might end up; perhaps somewhere in southern BC. As Matthew’s Dad is fond of saying: “When we get on the road that is where we’ll want to be.” I guess that is another way of saying that the anticipation is half the fun.

I find it much easier to be a tourist somewhere else than to endure the tourist season here. I assume many others might feel that way too. It is one of those little ironies of living in western Montana. As we have visited a few of the lakes this summer with our kayak it is doubly difficult for Matthew and I to watch all the construction of huge trophy houses going up among the hills and byways. Mansions that are lived in only for a few weeks out of the year but which require year-round maintenance. The destruction of open space by sprawl, the disappearance of rich farmlands, and restrictions on access to waterways has presented Montanans with a real problem. City planners have little power to control development and they are swamped by the land grab driven by spec developers and big money. In a nutshell – it is heart breaking to watch. The small railroad town of Whitefish where I was born is no longer even recognizable to me.

I had an interesting conversation with a real estate agent just last week concerning this very issue. She was representing a firm near West Glacier Park – they were, she told me: ” big fans of our music”. As she launched her spiel on the phone (somewhat overly enthusiastically I felt) she emphasized that their agency only dealt with “high-end” clients. The purpose of her call was to ask us if their real estate agency could license some of our music to match with an ad they were making. Then she asked us if we would compose an original piece for a “promotional DVD” they were in the initial stages of producing. When I inquired as to the definition of “promotional”, she began to describe the DVD to me. I slowly began to get a knot in my stomach and as she talked I knew this lady had not a clue.

I explained to her, as eloquently and kindly as I could, that I felt Montana was being loved to death and I had difficulty seeing how promoting Montana in this fashion was good or helpful. Indeed, the very things I love about my birth state (going back four generations) are slowly being destroyed because of such “promotional” efforts to sell Montana. After attempting to do damage control I think she suddenly realized that we were not on the same wavelength. Further, I think she was much surprised by my resistance to being so employed by her firm. True, I could have made some considerable money, but to what end? In one way I was flattered, but why sell one’s soul?

[tags]Montana, real estate,development,water,lake,environment[/tags]

Skin on frame kayak

Enough already! Stop with the whacking thing. I don’t know what you think but I consider this boat just a tad on the flimsy side. Ha. This kayak isn’t really a “skin” skin, by the way. I love the fact that it’s so light weight. We require holy rollers on top of our car to assist with lifting and lowering our kayak. Our boat feels very heavy at the end of a long day of paddling.


Bees on Echinacea

2 Bees on ConeflowerMy garden flowers are in the interim stages of blooming. The roses are building up for their second go around so the garden looks fairly quiet at the moment – besides all the huge squash and gourd blossoms, if you don’t consider veggie flowers into the display of colors. The Zinnias are just getting started. My ancient Echinacea, however, is going full tilt now until the end of the season and the bees are very enthusiastic about the flowers. My purple coneflowers are very drought resistant and are one of the last perennials to get frosted. When the boys were small and susceptible to all varieties of childhood sniffles or ‘flu I would dig up the roots and make tinctures. I don’t do that anymore since Airborne arrived on the market. I wonder if this winter I won’t return to the old tried and true? We just don’t seem to get the winter time bugs like we used to now that the boys are teens. Click on the thumbnail to get a full view. Photos by Matthew just a couple hours ago.

Here is what have to say about the Coneflower:

Echinacea, the purple coneflower, is the best known and researched herb for stimulating the immune system. Thousands of Europeans and Americans use echinacea preparations against colds and flu, minor infections, and a host of other major and minor ailments. This native American herb has an impressive record of laboratory and clinical research. Thousands of doctors currently use echinacea for treating infectious diseases.

Bee on Echinacea

[tags]Echinacea,coneflowers,summer garden,drought resistant perennials[/tags]

Flathead Lake heading south

small chrisHere are a couple photos of our short kayak paddle yesterday morning. We headed south from the West Shore boat launch for Douglas Island. We considered going on to the Painted Rocks site but since it was a Saturday and the speed boat crew was ramping up out on the water we decided to simply hang out at the island a bit and then head back. The mornings are fairly peaceful on the Lake – only occupied mostly by fisher people or paddlers like ourselves. We observed one boat anchored by the Isle bring in a nice looking lake trout. The guy shouted with glee while his companion carefully netted the fish.

Summer afternoons bring a different take on the peaceful surroundings. Still, to their credit the fast boats normally slowed down for Matt and I and for another three kayaks closer to the shore. Kayakers know that when we get together at least that teeny spot of water will be momentarily calm. (Hmm, maybe we should go into politics.) The stink pots all cut their wake speed and veered away from us, which was very polite. The personal water craft are actually less likely to observe written and unwritten manners of the Lake, which is unfortunate since there are so many of them anymore.

Isle Garden

More Petropics

Ian looking at the glyphsHere are a couple perspective shots of the drawings. In the kayak one can get very close to the site. After doing some searching I’ve decided that just about every pictograph site in the country (and elsewhere) is named “Painted Rocks’. Sometimes I just wish I had my own personal archaeologist on hand. And, while I’m at it my own physicist perhaps. I am still researching for a date on these.


Pictographs at the Painted Rocks

This is a shot of the pictographs (a reader corrected me)  at Painted Rocks. We have read that these drawings originated from the Blackfoot Tribe but are now protected by the Confederated Tribes on the Flathead Reservation, i.e., a federally protected cultural resource of the Salish and Kootenai tribes. I still am researching the age of these drawings. There does not seem to be much information or I am not looking in the right places. Does anyone out there know more about the Painted Rocks?  You are allowed to view the pictographs from one’s boat. There is a rock shelf directly underneath the art which supposedly allowed the artists to stand along the otherwise sheer rock wall.

Petroglyphs PR

[tags]Painted Rocks,Flathead Lake,Salish,Blackfoot tribes[/tags]