Thursday, October 22, 2009

golden larches

this is the van with my favorite tree, the golden larch. the only deciduous conifer (the dawn redwood might also qualify). the needles all turn golden yellow and fall off. I fondly remember this tree from an expedition in British Colombia. I awoke in the back of a truck in southern B.C. We were bombing toward Washington. I was tired and my foot ached. my back ached. I had torn all the tendons in my groin (bicycling from N.H. to Wyoming) but I was alive and I saw these trees, the golden larch. giant trees with golden needles raining across the highway like shining tears. The trees up there were enormous, unlike these small examples in Northern Quebec.

here is a picture of my distant relative or at least a guy who sort of looks like me (when I was young) Guillame Couillard. Old Will, as we used to call him back in 1630. 1612-1663.

in fact, it is Will who taught me that far away, mysterious look used by both of us. look at that hair. check your forked tongues ye who mark me as a hippie. Will was a man of great stature and elegance. long hair has simply gone out of men's fashion, but it was not always so. give me a goat's hide vest and a ox pulled plow and some nice knee high boots and I am a pioneer.

notice the resemblance? I wonder if the bull didn't jump the fence somewhere in the Bleacher family line. If Mr. Couillard didn't pull some fancy bedwork with a Bleacher lass somewhere along the line? Look at the eyes.

I mean, really...I know who I'm going to be for halloween...

this is a statue in Quebec. Will was one of the pioneers, after the vikings to settle on the north side of the st. lawrence. this guy had to do it all with the plow and the musket. you watch, there will be a statue like this for me one day in front of the adult book store by the traffic circle. "Oggy Bleacher 1971-2033 Masurbatus En Excelsior" A box of foot fetish magazines at my feet. Maybe some kleenex and water based lube. I hope the sculptor puts me in some better fashion than my Thar She Blows tshirt from Yokens R.I.P.
In fact, if there are any sculptors out there I'll totally commission you to sculpt that statue. I'll pay to have it bronzed and we can get Peter's Palace to give us a spot to put it. How hilarious! Portsmouth's answer to Quebec City's Guillame Couillard.

moving on,

you all know what this is. the fabled fuel cap that mr. lachance found for me and that brought me into his family and into the loving arms of Jesus Christ our lord and savior. Amen. Is it not a perfect fit? The other one had no character. This one looks like it came off an army jeep. Merci Beaucoup, Gislain.

I recall saying to the minister, "You mean to tell me that with eternal salvation on the line God decided to have me lose my fuel cap and stop at a junk yard."
"Yes, my child."
"Well, that seems totally haphazard. I mean. He couldn't come up with something better than that? That is his great plan? A fuel cap?"
"It is mysterious."
"Mysterious? It's daft. I mean, I found my copy of The Odyssey while helping clean out a garage with my buddy Jon. And the only reason that happened is because a guy bailed on me at the last second who was going to pay my way to Dallas."
"I don't see your point."
"Neither do I. It is all completely random. There is no grand design. I mean, a fuel cap?"

the LaChance family, all 8 of them, was watching as I waved my arms. I felt totally outnumbered. 9 evangelical christians trying to convert me and save my soul. I don't want to be difficult but I don't want to lie just to get them to stop. It's like when you feel up your girlfriend and she just rolls over with her ass to you. No complaint but nothing on the return. It's like "Get it over with." and you stick it in her and imagine she loves you. in the morning you don't even talk about it.
I couldn't just say I was in bed with Jesus to make them happy. I mean, I really believe it was a completely random event that brought us together and since most of the country is christian then it was just good odds that they would try to convert me.
alright, maybe it isn't like date raping your girlfriend.

Grand Jardins State park...a short hike in the frigid air. hypothermia was almost instant.

that silver river is the st. lawrence river in the distance

permafrost in odd tendril-like tentacles of ice

at the border they asked me why I had so many tools. I told them some absurd thing like, "I work on motorcycles." but here is the real reason why I have tools. Not only did the radiator start to leak from the top seam but the drive belt started to squeak and then became loose. So I had a cold and beautiful garage for a moment while I got under there and tightened it up, a process that involves loosening the alternator tension bolts and using a long socket extension as a lever and while pushing the alternator to the left, tightening the bolt down. lost all feeling in my fingers during this procedure. but it worked.
This is also the point at which I took a long look at a map and calculated that I had 600 miles left to Labrador City. Then 600 miles quebec city. The temperature had not risen above 22 degrees F since I had left Wellsley, mass. (The van, you recall, has no heat and the multiple holes in the floor cause a draft at least of -10 degree wind chill. my plan of taking the engine cover off the was insane as more cold air came in than heat.)A moose had slobbered on one of the windows. the radiator was leaking and a tire was losing chunks of tread. You can see where this is going.

I took a long nap, ate the remainder of my blueberry pie, ate some cheese, an apple, some granola, heated some water for some oatmeal, drank some milk, took another nap, got the mexican foot fetish mag out and browsed for a while, read some of the odyssey and some Corinthians and decided from here on this would be work. Remember, I am retired and work is simply out of the question...even when the arctic wolf is concerned.
I decided to drive back to the highway and head south.
IT is what Guillame Couillard would have done in 1640 had he owned a boat that could get him back to France in two days.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.