I don’t think I have ever met someone quite like Cal, he is a man of many hats and when in the back country of Alberta he soon became someone I trusted. He stands tall, his presence powerful, in a silent kind of way, eyes like a wolf, and why wouldn’t the be they be, he is a man who has stared a wolf in the eyes. We are leaving the German’s hut, bellies full, we move north, the river a sparkling array of dancing sunlight amongst olive green water. Observing the river closely it becomes evident that a stream or small adjoining river turns the water from olive green to brown, to dark brown, depending on rainfall in surrounding areas, and there goes the Geographer in me. It also helps to pay attention to Darcy, or Shirley or Cal, you will pick up very interesting information, river wisdom, and it’s not Google, which has such an interesting grip on people and human experience, like I have said before the downloads here are something truly extraordinary. Everywhere I look I am seeking some sign of human, it’s what I am used to living in the city, instead all I see is river, forest and sky. The crew rests. I am told we are near to where Calvin has property. I breathe in, I breathe out, forest fresh all around. Suddenly I am reminded this is a film shoot, I think twice about it and move forward, no time for mind games here, this place is all about being present. Ania and I jump ship, Eppo, the director explains the scene, and action! What happens after this I do not remember, and than I hear ‘cut!’, I think to myself ‘back to ones!’ and than I remember this is not that kind of film set. The land here is breathtaking, truly peaceful, there is so little sign of human habitation here one begins to think this is a worm hole and we have landed in some kind of world that time forgot, I disappear. Tranquil moment….the wind blows through the forest canopy, cranes call form overhead, the sun is falling in the sky, the clouds dancing and shape shifting, this is truly a paradise. We walk into the forest with Calvin, that is Ania and myself, film crew recording as we come upon an old dilapidated building, okay so there are signs, relics telling stories of a different time. Calvin tells us of 100 men who were here at one time, in its height, this is an old oil site, trading post and halfway point to Fort Mcmurray, left behind are only remnants of what it must of been. It doesn’t take long for a curious mind to discover a shoe covered in moss, it gives me shivers, I have this eerie feeling we are not alone, I also wonder if this is what we are to all become, I let that one go downstream. I notice a Model T, or at least whats left of it, it is nearly grown over with moss, grass, and various vegetation. This place is lush I am taking in as much as I can because that’s just what I do. As we proceed Calvin takes us around pointing out objects that are mere fragments, albeit some that are quite large. He knows his story well, each object a link to the chain of history which act as show and tell of how the folks here drew Mother Earth’s blood from her veins, fascinating details we ought to know as Albertans, considering that’s pretty much what this place is known for. Cal shows us an old pipe into the ground that is a well, it is quite lush with vegetation and to this day it still bubbles, what a trip. Standing there I thought of what this place was like before oil, the First Nations for instance, when they were in their height, what was it like? As we walk around Cal continues to pour out his knowledge of the trading post and oil related artifacts, he tells me used to work on offshore wells as a tool push, how he travelled the world. I asked him what the scariest thing that happened and he went on to tell me about 100 ft waves crashing over the decks as he and his fellow crew watched from the safety of an elevated safe room, I envision a roaring sea, I have seen my fair share of giant waves, and know power of the ocean can shake any man’s constitution. Calvin is like a university of knowledge, in 5 minutes I learnt more from Calvin than I did in a year at university, I know a good teacher when I see one, I continue to listen attentively, I have much to learn….
Side note: This is a rather long chapter and therefore I have decided to break it up, it s a lot for one entry, and deserves the time be told properly. The amazing thing is that this is day 1, we haven’t even made it to the backcountry lodge yet, what is to come really hit a deep note with me, I will get to that in the next entry.
FotoMahaloness -heavy FotoMahaloness so much to take in!