Saturday, April 21, 2007

Can a bumblebee survive Al Gore?

My intention was to show off the spiffy AntiQuark logo my techie has so wonderfully put up. But I guess I have to write something, some of it depressing, some of it not, my final essay on Springime 2007.

It is finally spring.

The trees are bright and silver. And fuzzy.

The early part of this April might as well have been an ice age here in Ontario.

Reports from Baffin Island say it is the coldest April yet. And Baffin Island just a few hundred miles from the North Pole!

On April 1, I could just see Al Gore walking around in shorts and a tee shirt. "Warm eh? Oh, don't you love this?"

It was seven below, Celsius.

Right out of touch.

Damn politicians. Have they checked the spiffy new incinerator, the second one they've put up in my lovely town?

Ode to dioxins. And kiddies born with eleven fingers.
But don't light a cigarette!

Today, I am biking. Again. Two homeless guys pass me, also on bikes. They carry cellphones and talk to each other.Like they couldn't just talk?

Small wonder that the UN thinks every Canadian is worth at least $70,000. Even the homeless guys?

The effort of biking has freed us from pedalling against another load, a pushcart fulll of pain that many of us had been pedalling against all this week, this awful feeling that all history is conspiracy. Planes fall out of the sky. NASA gets raided. A brain-addled robot slays 32 aerospace students. Right in the middle of impeachment procedures.
Dostoevsky's demons.

And you know, having been through a world war, that these are bad omens. And there is more murder and mayhem to come...I hope I am wrong.

There is the real hope of a steamer on the horizon--that we shall be rescued from this Raft of the Medusa by a jovial, somehow Germanic sea captain. Santa Claus from the season just gone by. This has certainly been the case in many instances of my life where I have waited for rescue--Never leave the wreck! Rescue does come.

Recovery is miraculous and dramatic. It may come this spring, or it may not. The local Indians will tell you that it is all on the whim of the Creator.

In the meantime, the Indians will tell you to stay away from waterfalls, great confluences of water. And large lakes, like Simcoe, for there is an agepogee in each one, each with its own monster.

I ply this bikepath, along a river, along these aspens, along these larches known in Canada as tamaracks. Tamaracks seem to the greenhorn like so many reddened, discarded Christmas trees, but they are not, for these conifers will regain their needles and will again be bright and bushy.

Hopefully like us

I sidle up to a lady in capri pants and hoodie.

Like me on this sudden and miraculous spring, she is a little whimsical, vulerable and kind of shy. But she is in there pedalling for all she's worth, like an out-of-wedlock teenager pushing a baby carriage. Maybe she does push a baby carriage.

They have stolen the welfare money. Cut off the environment money. First sign of the Mob getting into government.

They have probably taken my riding partner's welfare money. Lazy woman? No.. Decided to work at McDonald's and they have taken away all her benefits. She barely gets eight dollars an hour now and daycare is hard to get.
She gulps air and keeps her beautifully eyebrowed visage straight ahead.

I move to another party.

An entire family, father in tights and shorts. Helmeted mother in ski pants and yellow top. Little ginger-haired daugher in shorts and sandals, doughtily holding up the rear.

We are all pedalling, moving, moving, past the trees, past the bird, pst the pair of discarded horses of green clay and other small bits of rubbish along the Holland River. We seem, along this grey river already dotted with dandelieons, to be already moving toward summer.

There is a huge snapping turtle on the path. Not impressed by us. Moving in that robot-like slowness. But just stick your toe out!
All turtles were once birds.
Like us.

Avoiding alien raptors hurtling down from the sky.

We were told not to be anxious, to live and love, that the pteradactyl was no longer out there.

But it is.

Who knows what strange form is out there.

Thirty-foot horse out of Babylonian clay tablets.
And a crow with teeth, tall as a house.


Donnetta Lee said...

Peddle fast. 'Fore you are snatched right up! One bite is all it takes!


islandgrovepress said...

Gotta watch those ten-foot-high jackdaws!


Sienna said...

Actually we hit a new winter low last year, here, minus 7c.

I got some thermal underwear to work horses in, now that would be practical.

Ivan I love this post, your final Springtime essay.

Have you heard from any peppered ducks (Oz producers)? I haven't (as yet) perhaps a bit soon, still working through them...Prokopchuk the horse trialled well again today, he continues to improve with every run...the amateur volunteer race trial caller today called him Pro-cock-chook this morning....he also called a horse named The Birchipian (Bur-chip-ean) The Bitumen, could be an interesting time ahead.


islandgrovepress said...

I am sure my namesake with the glorious configuration just loves the sound of

Actually, I think it's a gas.

I've been watching old Australian films of late. The quality is very high, even in the two-star ones. Certainly tops most Canadian efforts, I hate to say, though I think our Denis Arcand, out of Quebec did win an Oscar last year. Canadian films, like Canadian novels have had trouble with distribution of late. And the producers and the publishers just don't get it. Yawn!
There are times when I turn cynical and decide that only government grease keeps our films and novels in the running and on the internationl stage. That is good, I suppose, but everythig has to be oh-so-politically correct, right down to lady authors showing up in jeans and Birkenstocks.
My uncle Tommy was indeed a commie, and Canada does seem to go left a lot.

Bitumen from Birchipean. Ha.
I guess in Oklahoma, it could conceivably happen that Man-O-War could have been called Macadam, the local variety of asphalt cement.

Actually, I think your caller makes up interesting montages of sounds...Keeps things going.

Sounds like you've been working hard on all fronts, Pam. And that's wonderful.

What season is it over in OZ now?
I do hear that the drought is reaching crisis proportions.

Come on rain!


Sienna said...

Steel Rudd's "On Our Selection" and follow up movies, (black and white series) are excellent and very funny work.

They did a remake of one of them in the 90's, not a patch on it.

Chips Rafferty was a great actor, lifted any film he was in....that's all way way back, but there have been gems.

The b&w Dad and Dave (On our selection) are classics.

An elderly German lady many years ago, told me to study the weather pattern b/w xmas eve and New Years Eve, she said each 6 hours of what the weather did there, represented the weather pattern/outcome for the following 12 months.

In 1982/3 drought, she advised her son (farmer), not to sow any crop, save the grain seed. He followed her advice and while all the other farmers did sow, and lost all their crops, no harvest at all... he made a good income from selling grain seed for the following cropping season...

I do, (each year), what she taught me (within my capabilities)and it's been pretty accurate.

Write it all up on paper, wack it on the fridge for Peter and anyone interested to look at, my calculation is that rain will begin falling August this year and wont stop. (I can be out a week or two either side-my maths is not such a strong point).

Grandma Kranz came out from Germany with her parents and this was what her grandparents taught them...To me it is almost folklore?

It has been amazing so far, last year I predicted rain would fall May 26th, 23mm, and we had rain then, (18mm)...I so hope the rain comes August, they are talking of no water from the river systems here, fruit and vegetables will be very scarce. The drought is serious. It is autumn here, very dry, dusty, warm to hot days and cool nights and mornings.

Beautiful weather in a drought! :) As long as the wind stays down, it really is glorious weather.

Rain will come, you can feel it. My money is on August.


islandgrovepress said...


Looks like Melbourne will be getting a sprinkle today and a shower or two next weekend.
Hope the showers extend all the way to Birchip.
Maybe if you've got lentils and your neighours wheat, you'll be in luck.
But August does look good for rain.
Those beans are gonna sprout.

Wonder what they're planting in Oklahoma.


JR's Thumbprints said...

... and the abominable snowman heading back up the mountain.

islandgrovepress said...


Just before the Yeti ambled off, I noticed he had remarkably human eyes for an animal.


EAMonroe said...

Depending on the part of the state, we grow a little bit of everything. We had warm temps in March and a frost and cold spell a couple of weeks ago that did frost damage to many of the crops, from apples to wheat and even to the grapes in the vineyards. We have a growing winery business here!

We’ve also had a record amount of rain this year after two years of severe drought and burn bans — and hail damage in the SW part of the state.

We plant grain crops, corn, wheat, rye, etc. We grow soybeans and peanuts, alfalfa, peaches, apples, apricots, pears, watermelons, pecans — probably most of the crops that the other Midwestern states grow. Plus cotton. Livestock and pork are big industries. I’m not familiar with all parts of the state — we have five different regions!

Different years my one grandpa would grow cotton and wheat, corn and livestock feed — whatever the kind is that gets cut in the fall and stacked into shocks or what looks like “t-pees” to me. He kept bees for honey.

My other grandpa grew mostly tomatoes and peaches — what Okies would call “truck farming.” Put the produce in the truck and haul it to market — usually the local grocery store or the various roadside stands.

islangrovepress said...


What a neat mini-essay on OKA farming today.

I recall, way back, an assignment where students were asked to write an essay on Indonesia's prospects.
Most of them came out pretty rambling, causing the head of the journalism deparment, on E. U. Schrader, to finally produce an essay himself to show the fuzzy-eared young dweebs how it's done.
He titled his piece, in fact, "How to Write and Essay", then went on about Indonesia.
It was a lot like yours, though yours is, of course, about Oklahoma and is, as a comment, shorter.
OK. I am enlightened, as I'm sure Pam will be.
Betcha she has an essay on Australian farming, in Victoria, as well. Certainly a snapshot.

I'm intrigue by all of this, of course, because I once, as a hippie, tried farming. It was damn satisfying to eat at a table where everything you would have for dinner was produced under you own hand.
But we were rich hippies, and most times we'd just go off to the local IGA (read Winn-Dixie) and hunt for misslabelled steaks, where clerks made mistakes and you would end up with a steak at 37 cents and there was nothing the check-out girl could do about it...I think my wife at the time was far craftier than I was.

But I am so nostalgic for that 1 1/2 storey white-sided farmhouse, the well that would always go dry, especiallly after mammoth house parties--and the comforting pee sound of the cistern filling up during a bout of rain...There would be water!
My only complaint is that you couldn't take your dog out for a walk. Animal control was non-existent and everybody's German shepherd ran free...Nervous making, especially if you dog was a wimpy Walker hound.
I guess you can't take the farm boy out of the city slicker, like you can't take the farm girl out of a country doctor's daughter.