Lost Art

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Log building has been around for centuries. Often throughout my travels in the north I have stumbled upon old structures. Remnants of the past representing many long hours of labour yet providing safe haven for the wonderer. Some structures are elaborate and other meant to be temporary such as trappers cabins. I found this old home on Galliano Island off of the west coast of Canada. Once I began to explore I found it to be steeped in history. imgp5794

Obviously it had been abandoned the door never locked it beckoned me to step inside to a turn of the century quest of discovery. The only source of heat was an old kitchen stove, no power, a hand pump in the kitchen sink. Several old coal oil lamps stood where they had been left. Disturbing nothing I found the shelves in the kitchen held old flour cans, recipe books and several artifacts. I was actually rather surprised to find very little disturbed.

The rules of the far north say never lock your door, take what you need to survive and be certain to leave a note of thanks. If possible leave something useful for the next traveller. Even though this was in the lower portions of Canada it was refreshing to see nothing had been vandalized or removed.

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Looking from the road this is what caught my eye. Four deer stood in the small meadow grazing and did not seem alarmed as I stopped. It is so special to see building such as this returning back to nature. What was even more gratifying was to not see a square box of modern architecture replacing it. I made some enquiries and was told the family who owned it had been one of the first settlers in the area during the turn of the century. The Island itself had once been the hub of logging virgin growth timber. Remnants of the logging could barely be seen as 2nd growth timber stood tall and proud.

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This was also one of the older buildings, once a barn I suspect which housed several horses used in logging.

The Island itself is 3 miles wide at its maximum and 7 miles long. Today it has 70 miles of road and is populated by several newer homes but still has that nostalgic feel about it. The only way to the Island is by ferry with two passages a day. The locals are all friendly and more than accommodating at sharing the local history.

Stopping time for but a few minutes helps the soul to appreciate what we have today. The lifestyle of the day is a powerful testimony of its simplicity. Such places bring peace to the mind and soul.

Hugs from Canada

© Rolly A. Chabot

Humility

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For me a walk through the forest remote or wilderness always speaks to my soul. For me there is an unspoken connection to the way nature can speak. Sometimes she speaks in soft tones other times she screams of truth.

The Oxford’s definition of humility states: modesty, humbleness, modestness, meekness, lack of pride…

Sitting that morning I took this photo I was reminded of just how small I truly was in the grander scale of life. This once majestic tree stood tall and overbearing among its neighbours. In that regard it would have been a leader, a doer. Yet in its death as it fell it teaches yet another quality. It gives itself too humility as it becomes the basis of new growth.

In life we have many paths we choose. We can lord over people and crush and destroy any who come into our path. It was the way I chose without a doubt I crushed and shattered many dreams of others. Through my own eyes in business I was considered successful, in life I felt I had done the same. My lifestyle was so fast I grew frustrated with those who failed at keeping the pace. Never once seeing life was passing myself as well. I was blinded by my own pride.

One can never understand what absolute burnout can be like until you have lived through it yourself. Toss in addictions and you have a boiling pot of hopelessness with no measuring stick of what reality is. Humility comes at a great cost when you find yourself alone and isolated from the world around you. Your only option is to cast off all your pride, all knowing attitude and admit you are broken. Identifying the cause is the very bases of enlightenment. Like the fallen tree which once was so prominent you resign yourself knowing you must rebuild again. Humility is the key which teaches.

Today and at the pace the world moves we are stumbling over ourselves to stay ahead of everything. I have been asked many times how I found the peace I have. The answer is simple. Accept who you are, live according to your needs. Eventually you learn too love others and the life you have. Live as the fallen tree and hopefully you can provide some basic needs for others to grow on.

My grandmother had a saying which resonates through me in all the challenges we face today. “Life is a pathway of roses, along that same pathway are thorns. You can choose to keep being hurt by the thorns or have the courage and strength to stop and deal with them.”

May you find your way through the pathway of roses, may the thorns be few. Above all may you have all the courage needed to remain humble.

© Rolly A. Chabot

Old Memories

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Several years ago this is a cabin I would come to several times a year. I especially loved my time here on New Years Eve. It was called “Eagles Nest” and it sat 600 feet above the Ghost River in the foothills to the Rocky Mountains. It was designed with very limited facilities yet provided a perfect place to allow nature to cleanse the mind and the soul.

I do have many fond memories of it and the area it was situated in. Isolated without a road, the only option was to cross a fast moving river and climb a a steep vertical bank to gain access. Water came from a spring outside the door. Heated by an old wood stove and bathroom facilities were no more than an old outhouse.

At night the only source of light were candles. It is here I journaled for the entire time I enjoyed mostly during the closing of one year and the start of another. A time of reflection of both the past and the future. A place where I could hike back out knowing I had a roadmap for the coming year.

Above what I carried away with me was humility as it taught me so much about myself. It taught me to be myself, it was not healthy to live everyone according to other peoples standards. It was ok to  cast off the box that society had designed and said I should conform.

Eagles Nest was a place I so loved. Sadly it burnt to the ground a few years back, a careless accident by yet another person on their own journey. I sit today recalling all of the hours I spent there. Thank you Eagles Nest for your many gifts…

Hugs to all who read these few simple words.

© Rolly A. Chabot

Their Past Lost but Never Forgotten

The year was 1897-1899 it became the largest find of placer gold in history. Thousands of men found their way north from all over the world. The starting point of their arduous journey began here at Skagway Alaska on what became known as the Chilkoot Pass. Their travels would take them through the State of Alaska into the Province of British Columbia Canada. There they would build rough boats that carried man and supplies up the water highway into what was known as the Yukon Territory of Canada. The journey took many lives and lost dreams as the river was not one to give up her secrets easily. The final stop would be what became known as Dawson City. From there all a man had to do was pay a small fee to stack a claim. Word has it some of the creeks and tributaries shimmered with gold.   In time huge riverboats were built in an effort to transport men and supplies north. These were massive steam powered ships that piled the river carrying precious cargo. They were able to make their way drafting only a few few of water. At one point and time their were said to be 50 or more operating on the river. After the building of the Alaska Highway river travel soon slowed. In 1950 three were brought into dry dock. The Casca, White Horse and the SS Klondike were parked beside each other. For years they had been left unattended. In June of 1974 the Yukon was rocked with word of two deaths.    Being tinder dry they soon were reduced to nothing more than a burning pile of rubble. They managed to safe the SS Klondike known as the Lady of The River. She was designated as a Canadian National Historic Site.  With a great amount of effort and 3 caterpillar, gallons of tallow and soap she was skidded on dry land approximately two miles to her now resting place. It has been said she barely cleared the buildings only by inches. I had the distinct honour of owning the security firm who stood guard over her for the next 4 years. It became the highest responsibility after watching and suffering the loss the Territory had seen. During the rebuilding and refitting process every board, nail were made to the exact original specifications. Not one detail was overlooked. I spent many a night high in the wheelhouse watching the river drift pass. No one was allowed anywhere near the vessel with the exception of Park Canada and their staff. Names, dates and times were recorded meticulously.  Today she stands proud on the banks of the Yukon River, fully dressed out as she did in her day. I can still hear her voice as she spoke many a long night in thankfulness for yet another chance at life. Walk through her massive boiler room and you can hear the men who fed the hungry beast cord after cord of wood. A good fri

Source: Their Past Lost but Never Forgotten

Northern Fishing

I lived at one time or another in the far reaches of Canada. Nature was my companion, fishing my passion. Fish like this were fairly common. A half dozen this size smoked would become my winter food supply. Moose became the source of protein, once taken down, dressed and butchered a man could have as much as a 1000 pounds of meat. Most times it would be shared, it would feed many. Respect what was given to you was key. Take no more than what you can use and it will always be there. The area I hunted in was close to my cabin. I would spend hours watching the animals and only take the old thus leaving the young and strong to maintain the population. Living in harmony with nature is key to survival. The land provided for all my needs, logs for the cabin, fish, meat, berries and natural plants were readily available. It was bountiful in comparison to today’s way of living… I am so thankful for the experience and the provisions compared to the way we live today. © Rolly A. Chabot

Source: Northern Fishing

Natures Alarm

Meet Sammy my alarm clock of years past. Each morning it was a game. If his trail mix dish was not ready at the crack of dawn he would be certain and let me know. During my building my main cabin on what was his home turf we became close friends. One day I was sitting with my back to his tree and he scampered down onto my shoulder begging for a crumb or two. I fished the cabin with a tin roof to repel snow buildup. Sammy soon learned that dropping acorns onto the roof would get my attention. In the vast and long Yukon winters Sammy became a constant companion. © Rolly A. Chabot

Source: Natures Alarm

The Fallen

It stood for years casting it’s shadow across the hidden trail. A path few have followed in this vast land it called home. It stood alone in its place where it once took root. Even though fallen it lay with pride at its life well lived. © Rolly A. Chabot

Source: The Fallen