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Late night thoughts on that snake on the fence in Oliver

Kerry Boyd laid it out on Twitter, and got me thinking about reptiles.

I saw an iguana at the Mayan ruins in Uxmal last year. Iguanas, like lizards and crocodiles, are exothermic creatures, I have learned. They cannot, like endotherms can, generate heat through metabolic processes in their own bodies. They need to find suitable microclimates. They need to find the warmth of the sun.

Snakes are also exothermic creatures. I think about snakes more than you might think a winter bicycle rider in Edmonton thinks about snakes. This is because there is an image of a giant snake and a naked woman emblazoned on the fence of a house near Oliver School. I pass the biblical seen twice a day. 


The potential socialness of a bicycle is built right into its roofless and windshieldless and doorless frame. It is easy to say hello on a bicycle. Like this morning.

These sidewalkers nodded to me in unison at the exact instant I nodded to them.

I said hello to the jogger, and he waved back.

Hi, I said, to the dog walkers and the dog, and they nodded a greeting back.

Both joggers smiled and said hello as our lives passed.

I said hello to the squirrel.

I said hello to the woman walking with poles and she returned the hello.

The jogger looked over and I said hello as she said hello.

I said hello to this fellow egg picker upper and we talked for a couple of minutes. Her bicycle comes out April 1. She is excited.

Hello, I said.
Hi, she said.

I said hello to the  man on the other end of this leash and he said he and his dog were enjoying the beautiful morning.

I said hello to this woman and she said hello, and we laughed about her trying to keep up to the lively pup.

I said thankyou and …

St. Patrick's Day

There is a feeling I get on St. Patrick's Day that I have never been able to make sit still and reveal itself. Because I am not a reveller. I don't make a point of wearing green and I don't line up to get into an Irish-themed chapels with friends and people I have just met. With those bright, imbibing bands I have no claim to be.

I don't tip this way and that walking with a friend along a sloshy pathway, turning to address an approaching bicycle rider and gesturing as if moving my hands through water, and saying, just a little too loud and just a little too slow, that it's St. Patrick's Day and why can't we all get along!

And I don't walk uphill along a flat intersection wearing a green leprechaun hat and sporting some kind of green colour in my moustache while I flash an okay sign to traffic letting me pass.

But, and here is the point about not quite understanding St. Patrick's Day, I feel a kind of warmth as I ride into and through these scenes. L…

PSA: Distracted Driving

Here's a concept for a public service announcement that I started to think about this morning after seeing yet another automobile driver speaking on a phone driving by me, gambling that distracted driving is not a life-and-death gamble. This is just off the top of my head. The genders of the actors can be swapped in subsequent versions. There are a lot of people able to be killed. And saved.

 I offer this to all who can make it better.


[Viewer sees a young girl walking along the sidewalk. She is walking to school. She is carrying a knapsack. She is happy. Light music.]

[The point of view changes to inside the back seat of an automobile. We are looking through the front windshield at the neighbourhood street scene ahead. It resembles the scene the young girl is walking through. The driver is holding a cellphone to his head. He is speaking to so…

102 Ave Multi Use Path, Winter Snow

This is the first winter of the multi-use path along 102 Ave in Glenora. Between Original Joe's and Glenora School there are approximately 33 houses, two bridges, one school and one vacant lot that front on the new, wider path. There is a variety of approaches to moving the snow along this stretch of pathway.

The portion of path next to the school was clear.

A narrow path had been shovelled here.

The method left a kind of tributary of path from the gate to the artery.

The sidewalk that faces the street was cleared, but the multi-use path is under thin snow.

The bridge deck was scraped.

Here a chunk of pathway was visible, a kind of concrete bridge from the avenue to the private property.

Here, another sliver.

Here, the approximate width of a conventional sidewalk was shovelled.

The entire path was cleaned here.

This remained au naturel.

The bridge was bare.

I present these photos for science only. No judgment is implied. 

Watching Curling Again

What I understand about the game of curling would not, melted down,  fill one of those little rye bottles you used to get on airplanes. Okay, sure, I understand that you throw rocks down a pebbled sheet of ice, that the rocks don't go straight as much as they wander off line, and that the whole thing is to figure out how much weight to throw so that the rocks wobble like you want.

There's other stuff that's barely comprehensible, like the role of the sweepers. And the seemingly contradictory orders yelled out by the stone thrower (No! Way off! Whoa!) and the skip (On it! Hard! Hurry hard! Clean!)

And, then, there's some totally opaque stuff, like the way the team members talk it out as they compose the next shot.

I am writing all of this watching the 2017 Brier on TV.  This is what I just heard from Team Northern Ontario's deliberations.

"Either that, or do you go all the way around?"
"Whaddya like? I think we gotta split."
"You gotta try …

Three More Life Sentences

So, I collect sentences.
Here are three more that keep gifting insight.

Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence. 
- Wendell Berry, What Are People For?

I read this years ago, and go back to it whenever I hear outside or start to feel inside the logic that says, you are doomed to fail, so, don't. Don't speak. Don't act. Don't protest. Don't fail. Don't resist. Don't try. This, says Berry, is the voice that destroys a sense of nobility. It makes doing the result of the cold calculus of winning. Why vote? My candidate won't win. Why argue? My argument won't win the day. Why speak up? My voice will be swamped. Berry asks us to contemplate that the answer, like the question, is radically individualistic. The sentence is alive. The interjection I think quietly sets up the stakes involved …