Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Needed Relaxation and Nature

May 14, 2012 6 comments

Courtesy of BJ Jones Photography

Small excursions energize me most of the time. Over the weekend Sister and I took a quick trip to Central Washington. This was a trip planned for a couple of months. I could hardly afford the time away, I thought.

I did have numerous projects clamoring for my attention, things pushed aside or in need of initial contact. By Friday I’d concluded how much I really needed time away from computer and familiar surroundings.

I know we just had a break away with the Mountain Man Rendezvous, but what I didn’t need was stimulation and the constant movement of people around me. Instead, the need arose for personal quiet and peace, to allow me to recharge my internal batteries and my Muse.

The five hour drive Saturday morning began the recharging process. I sat back, listening to Sister’s running commentary of locations and wildlife passing by along Highway 2.

Mule deer and whitetail waited politely until they appeared in the rearview mirror before leaping across the road. Bald eagles kept pace with us from above the asphalt. Red-tailed hawks and osprey watched from their sky-scraper perches to make sure we left their territories quickly.

Rivers and small lakes rested in stillness, reflecting the forests lining their banks or the mountain summits that cast massive shadows across the sun-kissed mirrors. Canada geese nested with goslings yards from the blue heron and mallards, while red-winged blackbirds swayed precariously on last year’s cattail stalks.

The Kootenai River splashed along its bed heading back for the Canada. Clear skies colored with the peculiar shade of pale French blue spoke to us a warm temperatures and luscious clean air. The relaxation began, even as conversation flowed between us and the radio played softly in the background. There were no expectations other than our own. We were free for a little while.

Once we arrived at our destination, we had extra time to have a picnic. The city park in Connell was, as always, well-kept and ready for use. Under the shade of cottonwood trees we opened up the stocked cooler in the back and filled our plates. Sesame Garlic Chicken made room for homemade potato salad (a once monthly treat), and a stack of cut celery mingled with split baby carrots and sliced zucchini that kept the ranch dip separated from the rest. Zucchini nut bread waited for its chance to stand up and be counted as our dessert.

After our lunch left us ready for naps, Sister needed to take me down to one of the local eateries so that I had a comfy place to wait for her. She was going to be visiting her eldest son. I was going to work until her return that evening; a plan that suited my writing needs wonderfully.

From eleven thirty until seven in the evening, I worked with paper and pencil to catch up on work without the distraction on a computer or constant interruptions. It was bliss in so many ways. A low murmur of voices crept into my hidden corner on occasion to remind me that others shared the space.

A lovely young waitress slid in every other hour or so to refresh my ice needs or top off the iced tea picture. Otherwise, I was left alone to work. They’re used to me doing a day’s work there, which is a good thing.

By the time Sister returned for me, I’d filled dozens of pages with work. Editorial calendars for the next two months filled their section. Goals lists snuggled close by. A list of prompts to be used for a friend’s book of poetry waited for typing and a send-off. A guest blog was finished and awaiting the same fate.

Four new poems—three for publication submission and one for my poetry book “Ancient Reflections” filled their portion of my notebook. Notes on the epic fantasy I’m writing sprawled across their own pages.

I’d been on a writing, planning, calculating day’s journey and had tangible work to show for it. I was feeling smug, for my own sake. It had been one of the best writing days I’ve had in months, and I knew that I needed to plan at least one of these days away from home at least once a month.

The return journey was long and tiring. We got halfway home before fatigue forced us to sleep. Yesterday morning we continued home, where we crashed and burned completely.

Was it worth it? Oh yeah. BJ got great nature photos for use later. I got more done that I had much of the week before. And along the way we’d rediscovered what we’d enjoyed so much about traveling. I figure we did well, all things considered.

Today began the new schedule for me and one filled with even more than the previous week. Now, though, I have the key to getting it all dealt with. Re-energizing is necessary for both mental and physical health. I hope everyone can get renewed as often as I intend to in future. Be sure to comment with your own measures to re-energize. I look forward to seeing how others do it.

A bientot,



Poetry Prompts: We’re Having a Rendezvous

April 27, 2012 2 comments
Authentic historical reenactor in buckskins

Authentic historical reenactor in buckskins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the hardest realities for me is that almost anything can trigger a story or poem. I don’t have to go looking for something. A prompt will always find me. I’m writing this post instead of my usual one for a reason.

I’m out of town for three days. Yes, it’s true. I went to attend a rendezvous: the annual Mountain Man Rendezvous here in Montana. It’s been many years since I attended such an event, and I find a great sense of anticipation toward this one.

In case you don’t know what a Mountain Man Rendezvous is, I’ll give you the quick skinny on one. Take pioneering/explorer types from the modern world; dress them in period 18th Century mountain man costuming; hand them black powder rifles and hand axes; and tell them to find out who shoots the best and throws the straightest, and you’ll have the makings of a Rendezvous.

Sprinkle in skills test for both men and women from those days from history, and you have a great weekend. When you combine the whole thing with one town’s annual celebration of town-hood and the like, you have a free-for-all from two countries. Yep, those mountain men and women will be coming down from Canada, too. It’s going to be great!

Therefore, in honor of our weekend activities, I thought I’d put a few poems prompted by the coming events to hold everyone over until I return on Monday. I hope you enjoy the fare here during my absence. Be sure to leave a comment to let me know if I’ve hit the target or not.

It’s All in the Wrist

How many westerns have passed

Behind my mind’s eye, pointing out

The Throw–the flight–the target

Smacked a solid THUNK!

Tomahawk embedded, buried

To mid-point up the blade?


How many times did baby bro

Recreate those scenes, practicing

The Throw, closer to center each time,

Always taking a step back to lengthen pace?

Did he have plans for needing an axe

Or just a need to prove himself to self?


Watching both men and women take

Places on the line, raise arm, tomahawk

Shaft gripped with purpose, steady–strong,

I see that need to prove to self, to others

That history can repeat itself, can come alive

To find a place now, appreciated and honored.


© Claudette J. Young 2012


Slow Antique, Still Deadly



Black powder report,

Smoke drifts from lock’s contact,

Sulphur permeates with each repeat.

So goes the rifle shoot out

Made for mountain men,


© Claudette J. Young 2012



Statehood, Anyone?

July 11, 2011 2 comments

If you’ve been reading the headlines on just one news service in the past few days, you’ve probably come away shaking your head and wondering what the future holds for you and yours.

Here are some examples of things in the news.

  • A legislator in California has proposed that the 13 counties south of Los Angeles be separated from the main body of the state and granted statehood, to become the country’s 51st. The apparent reason behind the proposal was that the state is simply too big to govern efficiently and needed to be pruned, so to speak. The proposed new state would be called “South California.”
  • The huge iceberg that calved from a Greenland ice shelf last August is now in Canadian waters—Labrador, to be exact. Curious how it went west rather than east as common thought would expect, isn’t it? It’s being monitored by satellite from a beacon planted on its surface. Its original size was one-quarter of its parent ice shelf. That’s many billions of gallons of fresh water floating around desalinating the North Atlantic as the berg melts.
  • All of those extended unemployment benefits and past government tax cuts will expire in January, leaving millions without any available income.
  • Immediate results of Minnesota’s government shutdown due to lack of finances are beginning to come to the front. The Minnesota Zoo will suffer greatly if not funded soon, for instance. 

These are just a few of the headlines from yesterday and today. Granted, the Minnesota Zoo’s problems don’t seriously affect any of those living outside that state. Its fate does point to those smaller and less visible victims of gross financial distress plaguing each of the states this year.

 Costs of everything have risen, populations have increased and revenues have fallen due to the housing crunch and employment downturns.

 With unemployment benefits being suspended in January, Minnesota may not be the only state taking a leave of absence in the coming months. Those states hardest hit may follow suite in alarming numbers. And your state may just be one in the flock.

Canada is the one having to deal with the iceberg and its potential for danger—for now, at least. As the berg dissipates in the Atlantic’s northern waters the cumulative effect of all that fresh water in the Northern Atlantic will affect everyone. It’s become a favored climatological theory that desalinization of those waters helps bring about the slowing of the oceanic conveyor belt and hastens the cooling of the Earth to the point of a little ICE AGE.

And the one headline that really should clue the populace as to how shaky things are, both socially and economically, centers on the California issue. For a state—any state—to propose a split of both territory and legislation to the point of putting the motion before the state government is a rare event. It puts the spotlight even more brightly on the condition of some states to conduct business and remain solvent.

For any state to suggest such a territorial split encourages others to consider their own situations and conditions. The social ramifications are staggering for the coming year. At the moment it’s not important if the motion passes. The idea has already fallen out of Pandora’s Box and been considered seriously enough to become a motion. That box of possibilities can never been completely secured again.

Some of these stories are locally important and some affect the global environment. None of them are pointless.

How we, as individuals, take the information and use it in our lives is as varied as colors in paint stores. Some of us will alter how we proceed with our lives to encourage a reduction in financial burden and expenditure. Some may look more closely at where we live and why. Others will find additional changes in their daily environment that can be worthwhile. Still more will ignore all of these stories.

What will you do as you think about possible impacts from just a few short news stories? If you care to share, feel free to leave a comment.

Until later, a bientot,