A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


Sunday, October 14, 2007

1960 British Columbia, Canada

The summer I was fifteen years old a friend of my father's flew me in his sea plane to a homestead on a remote lake in British Columbia. I worked for Oscar and "Bunch", who had carved out a small ranch with about thirty head of both cattle and horses. One of my jobs was to find the cows by the sound their bells, which also functioned to keep away the bears. I was assigned one cow to milk morning and night. I also helped build fenses, and another cabin, harvest potatoes, separate the cream from the milk, and hand churn butter. We would fish in the afternoon for our dinner. We also ate canned moose meat, and fresh venison. My favorite activity was riding the horses, and the most memorable ride was when a pair of moose crashed through the brush right in front of us. Bald eagles, loons, deer, moose, and black bear were common. We had no electricity or plumming, and used a root cellar to keep food cooled. The nearest town was a three day horseback ride away (in the photo Oscar is packed up for the trip). I often had the sense that the game trails I rode on were never tracked by another person, except perhaps the local indians. The only communication with the outside world was by ham radio, and we'd listen to broadcast messages everyday at a certain time to everyone "in the bush" -- which is how I got a birthday message that year. Planes were infrequent, and when we heard one we'd run outside to get the wing number. Indians wanting to trade beaded, deerhide gloves for potatoes was more common. We would take an outboard onto Lake Euchinico in the evening. The loons would be calling like hysterical women, and we would see moose knee high in the shallows, eating the reeds and cat tails. It was a scene I still think of as particularly peaceful, and wild.