reflections on life and death

My good friend Knut passed away this week. I am going to his Celebration of life tomorrow. I was lucky to see him again, after all, it was 23 years since I was last here on the coast.

Today I meet a Swede that came to Canada in ’67, and replaced me on the one job I had done that year, as I went on to start a furniture business. And we had many common friends, still have some, many passed away, for many reasons. He told me of one, Dick ****** passed away of lung cancer, never smoked in his whole life.

A couple of years ago I started writing down the 10 things I wanted to do before I died. I only got to two as I remember, one to teach my grandson to fish, the second to take river  canal-cruise from old Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, to Moscow and back. The canals were built  with a blood-soaked history. I will try to find eight more things to do, if I get the time.

I have no mountains more to climb, lived  in many places, meet a lot of people, and now, all I want is to enjoy life. I rent a small mobile trailer, parked in the woods, on the Sunshine Coast, up the west coast from Vancouver BC, Canada.

I wake up every morning hearing the hummingbirds just outside my open window. Sitting on the deck outside, enjoying my fresh ground coffee, with a small wood stove, I can see and hear the creek, fresh water winding its way through the tall Cedar, Spruce and Pine. Lots of trout and cray fish, but I fish other places on the coast, not here, these I like to see, not eat. The frogs, the crickets, garden snakes, and yes, a few mosquitos, I hatch them in my hot tub, a few black flies, and lots of great spiders, spinning their nets everywhere. I like them all.

Many birds, including the great owls with four owlet last year, learning how to fly and catch rats. Black bears, coyote and raccoons visiting regularly. Every day I see Eagles, Ravens, Turkey vultures, Great Blue Herons, and some days a few more, like Kingfishers, Wood Peckers, Osprey, Hawks and of course all the geese and ducks, with the common water fowls around.

The wild black berries, Saskatoon berries and others, makes the finest home-made wine one can dream of, and moon shine too. The water is pristine, from a well. The climate unique, my living room is outside under a tarp, year round, my washer and dryer, outside, connected with rubber hoses, no snow or frost to worry about.

Is this heaven on earth or what, my hot tub is warm from the sun, this time of the year, no need to use electricity, I eat fish several days a week, because I like it, and catch them. Crab anytime I like to, and I do like crabs. Crayfish any time, spotted prawns is some more work, but really appreciated when one can trap them. Deer and elk are all around. Peas, tomatoes, salads and anything you want to grow yourself, outside your doorstep, almost year round, fresh eggs, honey and other produce at the Saturday farmers market or local road side stands.

It is midnight and an animal was just up on my outside deck, Bowie the dog woke up and barked, I could see a white tail like from a deer, as it jumped off, and about that size, taller than a dog, slimmer than a bear, and I could hear the foot steps, a bear and a cougar is quiet, a coyote much smaller. My sweet peas could be the target. I will be awake a while longer, full moon a few days ago.

Yes, I can hear a siren from far away some times, a plane or helicopter now and then, after all I live at the end of an airport, small and no scheduled flights. I can her the coyote call on moonlit nights, and the dogs chasing bears away, and the hot rods using the gravel road as a raceway, but it is all part of life, no complaints.

How can I appreciate my life, and my friends celebration of life tomorrow? I cry at weddings and funerals, and will have a hard time to give my eulogy. But, my day will come, and somebody else have to do their eulogy, for me, poor souls.

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