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#67 Clearcut insanity

March 21st, 2017

Hi Darlin’:

I don’t know what we did to deserve this past winter, but I’m sorry we did it and I promise I’ll try not to do it again.

It’s another chilly, clammy, damp morning. The reno/repair on my sardine can continues. When I bought this little bit of backfill I thought I had done my due diligence. Now I have cold feet because of holes in the floor, but they’ll be re-covered as soon as the dry rot is removed. No, I won’t bore you with the litany of wah-wah.

That’s not what troubles me.

When my not-quite-but-almost son Gareth and his partner Melinda came up from Victoria, they slept at my daughters’ place because of the reno insanity, but they came over at dawn and we had music all day and evening, right up until bedtime. Gareth can play more instruments than I can name. His band, Black Angus, plays at a pub in Victoria. I think it’s the Irish Times or something suitably Celtic.

Anyway, the night before they left we were all in the living room and Gareth was talking with my daughter. Min got up, walked over to him, and howled. We called it singing. So Gareth struck a few chords and Min sang some more. Then she came over to stand in front of me and do her tippety-tappety with her front feet.

I got up and Min and I danced, Gareth played, others clapped, and then the other dogs got into the fun of it. MerryMary the pug, Carbon the Schipperke, and even ancient Lox, the poodly-mix were cavorting. Lox stood on his back legs and pawed the air with his front feet, turned in a partial circle and yipped. Such absolute nutsiness, such fun! I have it safely stored in my memory-bank.

Mere days later, my good friend of fifteen years, Skinny Minnie Ambereyes, mutt extraordinaire, is gone. I didn’t think it would hit me this hard, but damn, this place is empty. I am devastated.

She’s buried behind the lilac bush, next to her buddy Smiley D. Guy, Pug-meister, but I like to think she’s somewhere where there is music; singing and dancing and not wearing a collar.


Surely Spring must be ready to show herself. We’re back on Daylight Saving. But I don’t understand “spring forward, fall back.” I don’t see the point of it; it’s still just one day at a time, nothing is extended.

There is always so much that I fail to understand. Like Site C. I don’t see the point of that. Clear cutting old growth, that’s pointless and stupid. And now we’re hearing that Western Forest Products has plans to clearcut.

We stopped Western Forest Products in 2013, but they’re back. Determined little suckers! Most of the guys they employ are from someplace else. But the mantra has sounded, jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s all about jobs. There were some well-paying jobs as lamplighters in the days before electricity, but they’re gone now. There were jobs slaughtering buffalo but they’re gone, as are the mule skinners who took 20-mule teams hauling freight wagons across the prairies. Jobs come and jobs go, the worker adapts and re-trains. I get that. But when grandmothers trees are gone, they are gone.

I think we all know I’m not university educated. I’m not a forester, nor am I an economist. I probably can’t see what they will insist on calling “the whole picture.” But, from my pinnacle of uneducated misinformation, it seems stupid to hack down the last stands of old growth.

Those grandmothers have been here for years, probably from about the time Christopher Columbus hawked the queen’s jewels. They have survived everything Big Gert and the elder goddesses of weather have chucked at them, and they could probably continue to live and grow for centuries more if we just left them alone.

Reforestation is the big buzz we hear from the provincial government and from the forestry corporations. As I remember it, they’ve even said they’ll plant two baby trees for every adult they fall. Well, we’re waiting to see that happen, but if you’re going to plant seedlings, it only makes sense to grow those seedlings from the seeds of the best adults you can find. That would be the grandmothers, the old growth. They’re worth far more as a source of seed than they will be as bleeding stumps.

But, hey, what would I know, eh? After all, it doesn’t really matter if the elk, deer, wolves, bears, martens, mink and who even knows how many other life forms are made homeless, even killed. It doesn’t really matter if the mycelium is destroyed. Who cares if the sea gulls have no place to go to find protection from storms? None of that is going to show up in the profit and loss columns.

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.


6 Responses to “#67 Clearcut insanity”

  1. Monika Ullmann says:

    Dear Anne,
    about a hundred years ago, we met on the page because as the ‘Executive Editor’ of a special Women’s Year Edition of EVENT mag, I chose one of your stories. Your comments re clearcutting hit where it hurts. Since I’m working on a Memoir of Life with Peter Paul Ochs, who worked as a cook in logging camps circa 1955, where he saw clearcuts firsthand, I would like to quote an excerpt from this story. And keep on with the cutting comments, girl.

  2. anne cameron says:

    Thank you for your comments. I have no sane reason to believe we can stop Western Forest Products from clear-cutting what used to be our watershed, but I know we’ll try to stop them. When I write “we” I do not mean me and my tapeworm, a lot of people in this small village are outraged, and are trying to organize.
    MerryMary went into a depression when Min died but she’s coming out of it now. She seems a tad overwhelmed by the responsibility of being the lone dog..so much to guard, so much to protect… not easy when you’re middle-aged, fat, and you limp.
    Again, thanks for commenting. And for provide a link I suspect is going to be very helpful. I’ll keep you informed.

  3. Thank you Anne, for your insightful thoughts on clearcutting old growth forest. I become despondent at times over humanities stupidity when it comes to caring about the environment and how we are destroying a viable future for the life on this planet, including our own.

    I am sorry to hear about the passing of your dog, Min, it is a hole in one’s life that can only be filled in memory. We have a pug, Pugly Too, and two cats, Maybelle and Hazel. Our lives have been blessed by these animal friends who share our lives, (occasionally driving us crazy). They return more than we could ever give them.

  4. Janet Hudgins says:

    BTW I should tell you I shared this on my Facebook page and to other interested parties. Hope I haven’t violated any rights.

  5. Janet Hudgins says:

    Love a good story and Anne does it better than most. I wonder if she knows about Dr Suzanne Simard, UBC, her research and mother-trees. Just sayin,’ and passing it along just in case.

  6. Anne Miles says:

    I know how you feel about the endless rain. But look at it this way–more snow pack, less chance of one of those summer droughts that have plagued the coast in recent years.

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