Oct 04

Still no God

Before you start, you should read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this.

I’m going to start up where I left off last time, with me crawling back up the river to find a place to light. When I got myself to a flat enough spot on the shore, I thought maybe I’d have a little nap and get some much needed rest. I thought that was the most important thing at the time. Just a few minutes is all I’d need, and then I could worry about finding Aaron and getting our asses out of there. In Hudson’s Hope, the river is about ninety feet or so below the town, and the cliffs where we were are unclimbable. As I started to doze off, I heard yelling and whistling. Oh right, I was just with someone in the river. A few more yells and whistles, oh right, it was Aaron. I came out of my stupor, and started clambering towards the voice. It was starting to get dark by now, and the temperature was beginning to dip, but I saw him trying to find a spot to climb up the face and I tried a yell, but my voice wasn’t working very well. I was finally successful in getting his attention, as I got a bit closer and there was much rejoicing. I guess Aaron had watched me going down the river and figured I was dead already, so when I showed up there may or may not  have been hugging, I’m not at liberty to say.

We had lost our cell phones, wallets and keys, not to mention the matches, when the tube fell out of the canoe, so we had no fire and I was losing body temperature pretty quick. I had also lost my new glasses, but I wasn’t too worried about driving right then. Aaron hadn’t been in as long as I had, and he seemed to be in better shape. He was whistling and hollering up the cliff, but we didn’t know if anyone in the houses would be able to hear us over the roar of the water. My kidneys were starting to hurt pretty bad from the cold and being bashed around on the rocks and I got Aaron to rub them really fast to warm them up. I don’t know if it made any difference physically, but mentally I could feel warmth from the friction making it’s way through me. We were hoping Lannie had missed us by now and had called someone, but we had been known for dawdling before, so we weren’t counting on it yet. We started planning to wait it out until morning, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make the night at that temperature. I think I was hyperventilating, or something that was making me breathe very rapidly, and because of that my mouth and throat were getting really dry. I kept going to the shore and drinking out of the river to try and wet my whistle, but I would just puke it back up. I didn’t mind, because at least there was moisture in there.

By now it was really dark, and I was getting worried and just wanted to lay down, but Aaron was able to keep his wits about him enough to hear a boat in the dark. I couldn’t hear anything but blood pounding in my ears and him whistling. I’ve never been so glad to be with a person who whistled so loud in my life, because all of a sudden he saw a light on the water where he had heard the boat downstream, and when he whistled again, their spotlight started searching in our direction. He yelled to me to get up and wave my brightly coloured life jacket in the air, and I happily obliged. They came a bit closer and killed the engine, and Aaron let out another high-pitched tweet. The spotlight hit us that time and the engine fired back up and started heading towards us. I have to admit that I could never see the appeal of riverboats, but after that night I had a new found love for any craft that can run through rapids, sandbars and rocks, and not sink. When the boat thrust up onto the shore with the two RCMP officers in the bow, and my new boss driving, I almost cried, I was so happy. I may have really cried, I don’t know. I do know I hugged Rich Brown and the constables for saving us, and Rich gave me his survival coat to keep me as warm as possible as well as the welding tube full of our things that they had found on their way up. I felt like I should have went out and got a girl pregnant, just to give them my first born, that’s how happy I was.

It turns out that the people that were having a fire at the landing, saw the canoe go by upside down, and called 911. While the police were rounding up Rich and his boat, and making their way to us, one of the folks at the top of the cliff had called in to say he thought there was someone trapped below his house. I am forever indebted to those people, because I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them. We were taken back to the landing where the fire was still going, and I stayed by the fire until the ambulance got there moments later. We went back to Aaron’s after the paramedics got us fixed up and his wife and son were more than a little happy to see him, as he was elated to see them.I had a hot bath and put on some dry clothes, but I was still having troubles with my lungs, so I ended up getting taken in to Fort St. John hospital and got something called a nebulizer to dry the water and crap out of my lungs. I guess my kidneys took a bit of a beating as well, but they were still working fine and I was alive, so what more could you ask for?

I was going to go looking for the canoe the next day, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t have it in me. Aaron said that if I got the canoe back, he was going to buy it off of me and burn it. I think he probably would have, but I wouldn’t have charged him for it. I went out with my friend Randy, who is a very experienced canoodler, to get back in and try it again the next week. We did it, and I’m glad I did, but I have to admit I was pretty shaky until I found out that you can go across the river and the rapids are minimal there. Hindsight, eh? Ah well, what’s done is done, and there’s no point in analyzing it to death. Where we went through was bad, but it wasn’t treacherous. We were ill prepared, and uninformed. We shouldn’t have gone in there without knowing what lay ahead of us, and we should have had our life jackets on, instead of laying in the canoe. I don’t think either of us will make that mistake again, and I hope you never do either.

I think it’s safe to say that the experience that day changed our lives. I still don’t believe in God though, but think Aaron might have gained a bit of faith.I know he quit smoking because it was one more thing that might prevent him from spending every possible moment with his family. I imagine he’s a lot more careful around water too. I know my outlook changed drastically. I no longer waste time on stupid shit, and I try to enjoy every moment I can, because you never know when it might be your last. This weekend at Thanksgiving, I think I’ll raise my glass to my pal Aaron, and give thanks that I had him with me that day. I can’t think of too many people I’d rather have in my corner when the chips are down, so here’s to you my friend. I credit you, most of all for us surviving that day.

What Aaron was fighting for

Aaron and his oldest boy

Make sure you look after each other,

Birdman

Oct 03

Well, that’s gonna take a while

If you haven’t, you should read Part 1 before reading this.

 

I guess it’s a bit more work than I thought switching the blog over, so Mrs. Birdman told me I should finish yesterday’s story. Seeing as she wears the pants in the family, I guess I had better do what I’m told and not dilly-dally.

So I’ve made a bit of an error on yesterday’s post. I didn’t have the homemade chicken balls before drinking the caesers, they were the next day. I guess it was just chips that I was eating with the booze. I went over to Aaron’s place for supper the next night, and we made the chicken balls then. I was still not feeling totally myself from the night before, but we decided after supper we’d take my new canoe for a trip down the river a ways. It was a pretty skookum canoe, and I was quite proud of it. I had taken it out only once by myself earlier in the week, and left it at Darcy’s, (the guy whose cabin we were drinking at) because he was right on the river and a handy place for a new canoer to take off from.

That was the canoe I had. Well, not this exact one, but that model. Old Town Tripper 172

We dropped Aaron’s truck off at the landing and there were a few people there having a fire and fishing. We then took the canoe in my truck, to Alwin Holland Park and launched from there. There were quite a few things that we forgot to do at that time. The most important was to find out where the rapids were, second would be to put on a life jacket. I had a welding tube to keep our keys, wallet and cell phones dry, and we threw that and the life jackets into the canoe and started our float downstream. I call it a float, because that was all it was supposed to be. From what we understood, the big shelf was up from Alwin Holland, and it was just a nice little paddle to the landing. As we were floating along, we started to hear a bit of rushing water, and asked each other what the fuck that noise was coming from around the bend? It sounded like a waterfall, but it couldn’t be, we dropped in after the big rapids. As we rounded the bend, we realized that there was in fact some pretty decent rapids there. Apparently, the amount of water the dam lets out, governs the depth of the river, which in turn governs the severity of the rapids. I guess the dam hadn’t let much out, because they were pretty rabid right about then.

This is up by the bridge. The shelf is downstream further.

Now I’m not an expert when it comes to canoeing, and Aaron hadn’t been in one since he was young, so we didn’t know that the little guy should be in the bow, and the big guy should be in the stern. That explains why it was so hard to keep us from turning around. He has at least a hundred pounds and almost a foot of height, not to mention he’s about two axe handles across the shoulders and a little top heavy. We were probably at least fourty yards from shore when we hit the shelf and went a bit sideways. Water started coming in behind Aaron, and then we hit the second one and flipped the canoe. I came up, grabbed onto the canoe and threw Aaron his life jacket. He had come up with half a cigar hanging out of his mouth, and spit it out, yelling for me to head to shore. I had always been told to stay with the canoe when you capsize, so I was trying to drag it with me. I had just bought it used for $750, and I sure didn’t want to lose a gem like that. The thing was, when I learned canoeing it was on the lakes and rivers of southern Ontario, not a river whose waters come from a hydro reservoir and are around 4C when they blast through those turbines.

I should have followed my friend’s advice, because the time I had wasted trying to save the canoe kept me in those frigid waters, bouncing off rocks and stiffening up my joints for a lot longer than I should have been in there. When I figured out that it was less than tropical and I was finding it hard to move, I let go of my precious watercraft and started kicking for higher ground. I looked back and saw Aaron make land, and was fighting to get to the shore before I went around the point. My body was giving up on me, and I remember thinking that I wasn’t going to get the chance to see my mom again, and tell her how much I had fucked up this time. I was too tired to even kick, and as I watched the point approaching fast I felt a hard rock smash my legs and my feet started touching ground.

With a renewed hope, I began to kick my way to shore, and made it, about twenty five feet before it would have been to late. I couldn’t make it up the bank because it was too steep and sandy, so I crawled on my hands and knees back upstream until I could get out of the freezing cold water. It wasn’t that I could feel anything but sleepy at that moment. My body was numb, and I could barely move. Everything I did was in slow motion, and I was just trying to find a spot I could rest. I had inhaled quite a bit of water and I started puking up my chicken balls and river water every time I tried to breathe.

I am going to leave off there, only because it’s time for bed, and I’m beat. I’m just going to let you know that you don’t have to worry. I live, and so does Aaron. Well, up until I wrote this we were alive. I can’t guarantee we’ll still be here tomorrow. Now kiss me goodnight and pass the sleepytime medicine.

Your dog just shit in my yard,

Birdman

P.S. You can find Part 3 right here

Sep 23

I May Have Jumped The Gun

Birdman

I woke up this morning feeling like I had been trampled by a herd of Woodland Caribou. I guess I got feeling a little too rambunctious and invincible at the thought of finally being rid of the stone. I have slept and lounged around all day, and barely had enough energy to type this blog entry up.

I’m back to work tomorrow, so I guess it’s good to rest. What the hell am I saying? I shouldn’t be feeling this old yet. I’m not even forty for the love of Pete. Wait, am I forty now? No, I’m pretty sure I’m thirty nine still.

Holy shit, time is starting to gain ground on me, and I don’t like it. Two weeks ago I was riding my bicycle with my brother on what we thought was the longest bike ride taken by man. We got to pack a lunch, and ride to the gravel pit, where we set up camp and ate our sandwiches, hand picked apples and cookies. We had a wineskin full of Freshie and a few survival tools in the backpack (I think there was a compass and a jackknife). We were knights on our hard journey, and no one could have told us that four miles could easily be cycled in an hour or so. Okay, maybe that wasn’t two weeks ago, but it certainly couldn’t be have been thirty years, could it?

image

Every once in a while I’ll notice it in the mirror. The lines, age spots, tired eyes, etc… I wonder what we do it all for? Is this what life was intended to be like for the human race? I have a hard time believing that from the dawn of existence, (I’ll let you all figure out what that means) we were meant to work our asses off, just to be able to possess some “things”. I love Thoreau’s outlook on life from the shores of Walden Pond. He realized that there is more to life than keeping up appearances and slaving your life away for someone else. He wanted to live his life deliberately, and so he did.

There is a life to live out there, and we shouldn’t go to the grave with any regrets, so call your brother up. Ask him if he wants to go for a ride or a beer and talk about how you miss those days. Maybe that gravel pit is still there, or the offspring of that apple tree. Eat a couple of apples while you throw rocks at nothing and think back to simpler times. Cherish these moments, because you can, and because you never know if you’ll get the chance.

Enjoy what life has to offer my friends,

Birdman

P.S. Don’t have too many beer when you get together. There are few things worse than staving drunk assholes, crying about how they need to spend more time together, and vomiting beer mixed with sour apple chunks.

Sep 15

I Love Date Night

wpid-mindofbirdman.jpg

I just don’t love how tired I am the next morning. I keep trying to knock it out of park like I’m twenty, but in reality I’m rounding forty, can rarely make it through a night without getting up to pee and I have an arthritic shoulder. I also don’t like that women peak so late in life, when men are starting to feel the abuse that their bodies have taken over the years. Had I known, I wouldn’t have done things like, but not limited to:

  • Jumping out of speeding watercraft
  • Seeing how many headbutts I could take before concussing (7)
  • Seeing how many girls I could kiss, without getting herpes (18)
  • Jumping off of assorted bridges, because Scooter did it.
  • Punching bouncers
  • Other various feats of strength

Of course, my male ego likes to make me think I’m worn out because I last so long and go at it with such adolescent enthusiasm that any mortal man would faint at the task, but I think if we ask Mrs. Birdman, we would learn differently. (Excuse me as I weep silently, while clutching at the last shreds of my manliness.)

 

Oh well, now that the kids are back to school, we can get back on schedule, which is date night every Wednesday, and on every other Thursday is the best day of all. (drumroll please) Wing/date night. Jesus, can life get any better than a carnivorous, beer fueled feeding frenzy, followed by seven minutes of blissful passion?

I don’t think so.
Thanks for being here for me,
Birdman

Sep 13

The Cocoon

You might be asking yourself, “What the hell is cocooning?”.

Well, cocooning is anything that happens in the cocoon. The cocoon, because I know you are curious, is a magical place that we sleep in, but that isn’t really a place at all. It would have to be defined as a feeling and a warmth. We have cocooned at the cabin, and in the van, but mostly we cocoon in the bedroom. It can be anywhere that you throw a warm blanket around yourselves and snuggle into.

The ultimate cocoon?

The ultimate cocoon?

(photo credit)

The cocoon is where we find out about each other, and ourselves. Where we can lay there, adoring one another for an eternity, just staring admiringly at each other and wondering how we got so lucky. It doesn’t matter what shitty, foul kind of day we have had, it is all washed away in the cocoon. Another cool feature of the cocoon, is the way time almost stops there. We have woke up at 5:30 AM and just cocooned away until mid afternoon, with nothing more than a few sips of water and whatever chip crumbs we could scrounge up from the bags on the floor. It’s like a modern day Narnia, but with more nudity and better candy (Turkish Delight sucks).

Speaking of Narnia. Does anyone else think Mr. Tumnus was on the verge of being a dangerous offender? Luring children to his cave, drugging them and acting really creepy with his flute and pedophile beard. I’m not an expert by any means, but I think a few parents nowadays would be on the lookout for that dude.

Now back to the cocoon. It’s also a place for frolic and shenanigans of the highest order. That can be anything from wrestling to backrubs to kissing and maybe even a little whoopee. I think you folks (if more than one person reads this) know what the highest order of shenanigans could entail.

It’s also nice because I can say anything in the cocoon without fear of being judged or laughed at (except maybe my Chewbacca impression). The cocoon is also where we make our plans for the day (which usually end up with the first half being more cocooning). If you don’t already have a cocoon, you need to get to work on that now, it is one of those things that can easily keep two people together with a bond that can’t be broken by the average things that break bonds.

On a more sad note, you cannot cocoon with just anyone. I have found out that cocooning only works properly if two people truly respect and love each other.

 

For instance, you can’t cocoon with a stalker type, because they always out cocoon you with their crazy doe eyes, their misshapen, crazy tits and their knocking you out and tying you to the bed, just to possess you for a few extra moments until the cops get there, because the crazy bitch forgot to take your cell phone and you were able to dial 911 and let the phone GPS pinpoint your location for the local authorities to find you.

Find the right  person, and cocoon the shit out of them. Your relationship will thank you.

Muskrat, muskrat candlelight, doin’ the town and doin’ it right,

Birdman