Places of Old

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As I travel I often find these gems that speak of the past. My Dad would always say things such as… “If they could speak what would they say?” I have so very often asked myself that same questions as his words still echo in my ears even though his voice has fell silent like so many of my past. 

Often as I pass these places I am compelled to stop and have a look around. Should a door be left ajar on one of these long abandoned homes I quietly enter. Some homes speak of peace, love and joy. Others speak of pain and suffering. Even in those homes which cry out there are signs of the search for love and peace.

Being attuned to our surroundings is such an important reality in todays world. How many people do we pass staring at their cell phones or having earbuds in place. Are they avoiding personal contact. Yes I am aware they are tuned into what they are listening too or watching a screen. My question is has the art of normal human activity being lost, it is becoming a place where the spoken word has become near obsolete. 

How sad it is that the joy and beauty found all around us is being lost. Think of the times when a total and complete stranger smiled at you and asked how you are doing? Maybe they commented on the weather or the big game last night and you elected to give but a moment of your time. Is it possible that person may have needed someone to talk to at the moment. 

Recently I was in a restaurant and I watched a mother and a young child sitting and eating a meal. In the time it took me to eat she spoke only once to the child. “You are eating like a pig” were her words. The entire time she was texting someone. What form of rejection will that child carry the remainder of his life. How sad is it when a parent does not invest in a child.

I know old homes and modern technology have little or nothing in common in some minds. But really I would ask you consider the long ago home that emulated love. What sort of children came from homes such as this. How successful were those whom went out into the world with confidence knowing exactly who they were. Compare the opposite home and consider the hurt that was carried out into adult life. 

Never pass up the opportunity to speak to a total stranger. You just never can tell that same person may be in need of a word of encouragement, maybe a human touch. Something as simple as a smile can change a persons life, maybe even change your own. 

I understand we are facing an ever growing threat in society. A fear of what someone may be capable of but I also know that love and kindness can go much further than fear and hatred. Without human interaction people become alienated. Take the time next time you are waiting in line to reach out and say hello… you just never can tell it maybe will be you that are blessed. Do not become that long ago abandoned house that sits alone in pain and suffering, just reach out… 

© Rolly A. Chabot

 

The Wolf in Us

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Over the years I have been blessed with living in some of the most remote locations in Northern Canada. Often at times 200 plus miles from the closest settlement of fellow human beings. I have had the distinct privilege and joy of observing wolf packs living in freedom of fear of man. I would often awake in the early morning to find they had come into my camp to investigate my presence, not to harm me but to investigate… 

One particular location I often frequented it was as though I had been accepted as being a part of the landscape as I posed no threat to the pack. We respectfully maintained a safe distance from each other and I was able to observe their daily activity. These rare and beautiful animals have been misrepresented by society, mainly in the movie industry. They are a loving and kind group of individuals who understand and respect each others boundaries and yet live in harmony with each other. This is something we as people could learn so much from. 

Science and research paints a terrible picture of the wolf as being a savage hunter who kills simply for pleasure. This is so misleading, yes the wolf is cunning and very successful in his hunting. I have watched a 150 pound wolf bring down a 1500 pound moose, it is done with deadly accuracy and the kill is clean. Yet the wolf is coined as this horrible animal as being the terror of the land. Depending on the size of the pack a week later nothing but bones will be left. Many other creatures of the wilderness will benefit from that same kill. 

For those who make these claims maybe we all need to look in the mirror and ask who are we in the realm killers. The wolf has to be up close and very personal to be successful in his quest to survive. Man only need to reach out from as far as 300 yards with a rifle to accomplish the same. Lets not forget to mention of chasing down a pack with high powered rifles from a helicopters and aircraft because man has determined the wolf is too close. Who is the killer or hunter in this case.  

Many years ago I had the pleasure of befriending a lone, very old once Alpha Male wolf who no longer lived with a pack, sadly he had been rejected after loosing his place as the Alpha Male. He chose to call home in and around my cabin. The small game was plentiful plus he accepted my meagre left over offerings of my annual moose hunt. The parts of an animal we never use. From the creek below the cabin I would catch a few fish and leave them on the creek bank, each time I returned they would be gone. Through out that winter a trust had been established to a point of where he would come from his safe surrounding and join me on the hillside overlooking the valley below. There were times the encounter would last only moments and other times we would simply sit 20-30 feet apart. I would speak in soft tones and he would twist his head side to side listening. Each time when the encounter was over he would toss his head back and call out in a long forlorn howl. Then he would stand, stretch turn to look at me and slowly return to his own world.

It had been several days since I had seen him, one evening when I arrived at the creek I found him curled up under a large spruce tree. He had chosen to die there as old age had finally taken its toll. I buried my old friend there and covered his grave with several large stones. I knew I had been blessed with knowing this magnificent animal on a very close and intimate level. It was an experience I have never forgotten, even today as I write I feel a tug at my heart. I am assured he accepted me as I had him, it was mutual respect I find hard to understand yet I know it as a privilege.

I am no poet by any means of the word but I did pen something a while back on behalf of my old friend. I know it is very wordy and I apologies in advance. I hope you take his thoughts to mind as you read of his plight. The wolf is no different than us as people… he has a living to make as well… Your comments are welcomed… Hugs 

It is I Who Calls

 

I stand alone in the dark of night

Alone, so alone and yet so near

The cold is near and yes I live in the same world as you

Yet who is it that hears my plight?

 

Few have come and learned of me

Even less have stayed and watched me grow

For me the world I choose I live to play

Where only few can say they are me.

 

Who am I you may ask

I am the one who like you must care

For those who I have sired and taken to call my own

I am the one called like you who has taken to the task.

 

I watch from a distance as you tend to your loves

I smile and think of how much we are the same

You see you are no different as you work and you play

We both are the same; we have been blessed from above.

 

I wish I could speak of the misunderstanding I have been given

You see I am the wolf who cares for his own

We are the same in so many ways I too stand and call out

And like you I care for what is mine like you I am driven.

 

Listen close on the nights that are cold and forlorn

Listen to my call from hilltop so high as I announce I have survived

Yet another day at your hand, why is it you hunt me

In such cruel hard ways with little escape I run from evening to morn.

 

Take but a moment to think of my plight

I like you raise family whom I care for and feed

Take time to forget of the movies and songs misunderstood

For I am the one who suffers it is I who is in flight.

 

Your trophies you hang with the little thought of but relief

They line your walls like they belong

You stand and you brag of your courageous endeavors.

With weapons so powerful that bring nothing but grief.

 

Please oh please I beg you to stop come close and listen to the call

Yes they are my family just as yours are yours

Come stand with me and I will not harm you

Listen to me closely before another must fall.

 

 

I am the wolf who you may fear

I am sorry for what you must think

I ask you to take the time to learn of who you are afraid

In your world you are cautious of even those you hold dear.

 

What a shame it is my friend

As I hear you call out and shed your tears

You stand ever so tall and whisper your fear in troubled times

Of the world we watch slowly come to an end.

 

© Rolly A. Chabot

 

 

Friends Passing

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We live in such a fast paced world today we often fail to consider life itself. Time seems to slip by so quickly before we know it we are looking at yet another calendar year. How often do we ponder the year which has just passed, what have we accomplished. What have we done with the many days we have been given. Have we spoken kindness into another life, have we expressed our love and appreciation to people we care about. Is there something we can change in our lives to make us better people.

As we age we hopefully become more mellow, we think before we speak or act around others.  This has been a hard year as I have lost near and dear friends, one each month. I find myself reflecting a great deal lately. Especially on the things I say and do, each of these friends were long time acquaintances. The latest to pass this month I have known for 41 years. We had conversed via phone a week before she passed. Her last words I received were via Messenger. Five simple words but very powerful words… “I love you right back.” 

For all of us we need to be ever mindful on what we say and do as it may be the last words another hears. I cherish the last words my father spoke to me before he passed away. With a gentle squeeze of my hand he smiled and said. “I will be waiting in heaven for you son when your name is called.” What a blessing to hear those words.

© Rolly A. Chabot

 

 

 

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

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