Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hunting and Driving

I'm up early today, at least early for me. I woke up sometime before 10:00 AM and even managed to go to the restaurant here in my hotel to have a sit-down breakfast. This is the height of decadence for me, to have a real breakfast in a real restaurant before 11:00 AM. Of course I expect I will pay for this later today, perhaps an early evening bedtime tonight.

The reason I am up so early, at least for me, is simple. Today I plan on driving up into the high country of the Okanagan Plateau, near Westbank where my cousin Mike lives, to go hunting. The prey today is moose or deer. Although I have already missed the morning hunt, something completely impossible for me these days, I will still have several hours after lunch to wander the dirt tracks and logging roads of this hunting ground, perhaps just as much interested in the exploration as in the game.

Yesterday, when I left Calgary, the sky was a crystal blue, the air so clear that the mountains in the distance stood off in sharp relief, edged in stone against an almost painted backdrop, the blue of the sky only slightly softened by the odd high and white cloud. It was warm, at least for a late fall day in Calgary. The road was bare and dry, not a whiff of problem for the drive. I left at 2:00 PM for the 7 1/2 hour drive to Kelowna and Westbank where I stayed last night. I will be here tonight too.

It's amazing to me that I can still make this drive, that I can still do a fairly long day behind the wheel. I don't understand why the exhaustion that makes up so much of my life seems to disappear when I drive. Nobody expected me to last this long behind the wheel; I remember the fellow installing my hand controls wondering if I would really need them for long. After all, I had ALS. Yet here I am, now almost 20 months later, still making my way in the world inside my big blue truck.

Even the persistent rain in BC didn't stop me yesterday, the rain that started once I passed Golden on the Trans Canada Highway. It began as drips and dribbles. By the time I was up and into Rogers Pass, it was full on, a pounding rain that caused flooding down on the coast. The roads were glistening reflections of street and truck lights, the rain pounding back up as well as down, drenching everything. Yet on I drove, feeling safe and confident in my ability.

Not everything is lost to me. Today I will go hunting; really I will go driving. Others will do the hunting, I will just be along, having lost enough strength that a straight shot is unlikely. Yet still, I will be in the bush, in the woods, up in the mountains and plateaus of BC, outdoors, mostly. I have a while to go yet.

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