Celk

We live in the country, on a back road that the township forgot but is Grand Central to an abundance of wildlife. We’re talking everything from cocky chipmunks that used to torment our yellow lab, to black bears, wolves, and even a moose that wandered from up North. Yup, there’s still plenty of ‘North’ in the tundra above our toques.

If I compiled a file of soundbites, I’d bet most of you would be surprised at which woodland creature is letting you know they’re around.

The title of most terrifying belongs, hands down, to our warm and fuzzy friend, the Fisher. A couple of notes into that murderous cry is enough to flash freeze the blood of even the most stout-hearted.

 Now, while the Fisher is downright spooky, what I heard during a twilight walk with Tanya, can be classified as Area 51. Truth is, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it.   

A week prior, I was awakened at that three am timeline, when the weird stuff is supposed to happen, by a hybrid howl. Each call began as a coyote howl but rose in pitch, transforming into what I can only describe as an elk call. You know that shrill sound they make, just before they stomp you? Kinda’ like that scene from Polar Express, where the Caribou cause the train to make an unscheduled stop. Yes, I know the two are different and live in different regions, but that’s what pops into the pumpkin.  

The poor thing seemed to be a crossroads, unsure of what category of species it fit into. “Hooves or paws? Do I like the taste of rabbits or wheatgrass? Hmmm . . . dunno, but I can make this sound. Watch me go!”

 I did a bit of research and discovered there was more Wile E., than Rudolph, in the DNA batter. Bang the pan lids together! Mind blown! I’ve lived rural for most of my existence, and I’ve never heard anything make that sound.

Oh, back to our walk. So here we are, sundown, reflector vest on and flashlight at the ready to protect us from those really dangerous animals; the ones with four rubber feet and that feast on long extinct flora and fauna alike, when my friend, I’ve named him Celk, starts saying, “Hello!”

Celk was off in the brush to our left, and he was calling out to his crew that were having a party in the brush to our right. What happened next was that the dudes he thought were his crew went silent. Rude! Maybe this is nature’s version of ghosting? I mean, the poor bugger went on for another five minutes and no one answered.

We reached our turnaround point and started for home. Celk must have crossed the road to see what’s up with his boys, because now he was over there calling around. For some reason, I’m picturing them crouching beneath some juniper bush, holding their breaths, and willing themselves not to fart. They were having no part of Celk, who’s invitation must surely have gotten lost in the mail. Or maybe someone blew up his mailbox with an ACME bomb.

My heart went out to poor Celk, who was still giving a shout out to his “pals” ten minutes later. I even voiced my opinion for any and all pointy ears in the vicinity that he’d most certainly find a pack that appreciated  him for the unique fellow he is.

The next night, I listened for Celk, but there was nary a yip nor howl, from anyone. I think there’s a slight possibility I may have offended the ghosting Canis latrans and they’d shoved off. I don’t care if I hurt their feelings, they had it coming.

Not sure what happened to Celk, but I like to imagine he’s found his peeps and is joined paw in paw around an old oak somewhere, belting out his special tune.

Could this be Celk?

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An Invitation to Join the Club

As the dawn sheds light on a new day, I find myself reflecting on yesterday’s celebration of Canada’s birthday.

Canada is many things, including a beautiful land of diversity, both in landscape and people. We’re far from perfect and face our own struggles, but overall, we are blessed.

However, Canada is but one country, and sparsely populated in relation to land mass.  At just over 37 million, we’re a drop in the bucket.

What about this club thing in the title, Bierman? And what’s with the handshake photo? Don’t you know it’s dangerous nowadays? I’ll get to that, soon, I promise. First, I’m going to give you a quick bio about myself, so that you have a gist about who’s extending this invitation.

Here goes: I’m a white, middle class, Christian man, with a nuclear family. I have over twenty years’ experience as a Correctional Officer. I’m the son of immigrants who arrived as children, from Holland. I am proud of who I am, my heritage, my country, and my family.

I hope you are proud of who you are too. You have every right to be.

You see, this club is not exclusive, it’s open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political leanings, and occupation.

There are some rules, however:

  1. You must have a pulse.
  2. You agree to behave in a respectful manner to all. Do not mock or belittle anyone because you think their ideas, religion, beliefs, interests, what have you, are foolish.
  3. You agree to disagree, refrain from assigning unfair labels to someone, simply because their opinions do not coincide with your own.
  4. You agree to inform yourself and question what you see and hear on the news. That goes for social media, too. You are intelligent and have free will. Please do your research before you make assumptions. I’m sorry, I know real issues exist, but this particular item is gasoline on an inferno. Blue Lives Murder T Shirt on Amazon . So every police officer is a murderer? I don’t think so. I’m using this one because it hits a bit close to home. I don’t know what you do for a living but think about possible stereotypes for your profession. Are they true for all who work in that field?
  5. Honest questions are encouraged and even polite debate, but do not expect a conversion to your way of thinking. Oh, by the way, might be wise to leave the thesaurus at home. Sophisticated or uncommon words that are meant to demonstrate superior “intelligence” often do the opposite. More importantly, they do not foster amicable relations.
  6. We all have trauma and scars from the past. Yes, even the rich and famous. So many things shape us into what we are today. I think it’s important to remember that we are all one footstep away from being someone else.

So, what is this club? Well, I guess I’ll call it, The Club of Humanity. The invitation has no expiry date. All that is required is to follow these simple rules and check any bitterness, anger, and prejudice at the door. If you’d like, I can leave a bin of glasses at the entrance to wear, so that members can see others through a new lens.

Thank you for reading this. I hope to see you there!