BC and Yukon Book Prizes Shortlist

“Darrel J. McLeod (left) is among the authors shortlisted for a BC & Yukon Book Prize this year. Read details on all the shortlisted authors here.FULL STORY


#51 What’s golden doesn’t glitter

February 22nd, 2016

Hi, darlin’,

It’s not exactly fog, not even mist, just this interesting and endearing creeping-upon-us of wreaths and ribbons of mist, coming from the sea, coming up from the river, winding up the face of the bluffs, and then vanishing as it reaches the higher air.

The sky is pewter over dark lead. The trees, outlined against the shades of gray, look black.

I have clusters of deep orange crocus and some purple primroses but no sign of pussy willows. I look for them every day and so far, not even a hint of them. The Chinese plum tree is waking up and the honeysuckle vine is almost trembling with eagerness as its new growth is showing all along the tangled twigs which grow along the fence around the dog yard. The twigs are what keep the fence upright after years of disrepair.

The posts must be weary. Already the gate is nearly terminal. I’ve spoken to my handyman neighbour and he promises he is going to build me a new one. The gate will happen after the greenhouse is taken down…

I’m giving up on my greenhouse. There is no doubt in what is left of my mind that the earth is shrinking; as proof I offer evidence that the soil is further from my fingers than it used to be.

With some difficulty I could get down to where the soil is, and could putz and putter, coaxing bok choi and chard to grow, but then it would take six strong men and probably a mule to get me back up on my feet again.

For much of my life I have heard of “the golden years.” Don’t believe “the golden years.”  That is propaganda shyte as there is nothing the least bit golden about finding yourself almost nose-to-nose with eighty years.

Old age is not for the faint of heart! The earth shrinks and everything is exaggerated. “Chilly” becomes “damned cold” and “discomfort” becomes “pain.”

My left shoulder has been giving me all manner of hell. The arm worked fine from the elbow to the fingertips but if I tried to do anything which involved the shoulder I wound up snivelling. So, off to the physiotherapist I go. I realized how old I really am when I discovered physio is no longer covered by B.C. Medical.

We have billions for Site C, which will produce electricity we don’t need and can’t sell, and which will flood some of the finest agricultural land in the province, but we can’t afford to cover physiotherapy. Or much of anything else, it seems. Oh, thank you so much Liberal government of B.C.

The frozen shoulder thing has kept me away from this glorified typewriter and that has freed up entire days during which I had “nothing to do” but watch the neighbours and watch the news and wonder, “Why?” First of all, one of the newer neighbours got pie-eyed, took my dog for a walk and somehow managed to pass out and fall into the river. Don’t worry, the dog is fine! She had sense enough to climb up onto the rocky bank and start howling. The cold water roused the worthy neighbour and he started hollering help, help. Someone heard, phoned the volunteer fire department, and they crashed around looking for a pathway through the blackberry tangle, down to the river. They didn’t find the path but by the time they came the neighbour seems to have managed to get himself out of the frigid water and back home again with the dog.

And now the Pope has announced the threat of Zika virus is such that birth control is no longer a sin. All these long years of debate, of reasoned presentation of fact, theory, opinion, and faith did nothing to alter the sin-status of birth control but a mosquito has managed to shift His Holiness.

I can’t decide if that is funny or sad.

Provincially, the B.C. Liberal government is still ordering the slaughter of wolves in Great Bear Rain Forest. Never mind that they’re a distinct species and we should be protecting them. Never mind the wildlife experts protest the kill. Just wipe ’em out. They’re different, that’s reason enough to extirpate them.

Federally, Rona Ambrose is all hot under the collar because Junior brought the bombers home. She was going on at some length about how he did this without proper debate and consultation with the government members. Thinking of all the shyte sprayed by the former Prime Minister, Rona’s indignation seems just a tad hypocritical.

We haven’t heard much from Harper since he got demoted. He still sits as a Member of the House. I guess it’s just further evidence of my lousy mood but I bet as soon as the whole Duffy mess is done, and Stevie can no longer invoke the privileges of PM and avoid having to testify under oath, he’ll pick up his last few marbles and retire, probably to a new career on several boards of directors of oil and gas companies. He can collect his generous pension and maybe serve in some well-paid capacity with Bombardier. After all, look at how well Gordie Campbell is doing since he vaulted out of the hot seat.

I go back to the physiotherapist at the end of February for more rotor cuff treatment.  Maybe that will put me in a better frame of mind. Meanwhile I take some comfort from the fact that the deer I call “yard rats” are back, because that can only mean my Stargazer lilies are starting to grow.

Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.



2 Responses to “#51 What’s golden doesn’t glitter”

  1. joan mcewen says:

    Thank you Anne for your letter from Tahsis. It is beautiful.

    And thank you for your comments regarding my “Furlong” piece in the National Observer. What else can we do, but keep on keeping on?

    As a relative newcomer to the plight of aboriginal peoples, my hat goes off to you.

    Warm regards, Joan

    • anne cameron says:

      Hi Joan:
      Thank you. And thank you for your piece on the Irish tale-teller, raconteur and what-all else.
      Until we negotiate a fair, equitable, and honourable settlement with First Nations we will remain a nation of squatters.
      Of course, I’m prejudiced; my grandchildren are First Nations and I’ve not only seen but experienced the crap with which they have to deal and overcome.
      I have faith we can do what needs done. Know that you are helping us find our way.

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