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Dispatches from the Outskirts

stories, images and encounters

psychic disturbances

The dogs won't stop barking. Their tone says chipmunk and I think, great!, dogsitter, and let them have at it, snorting and scrabbling to reach under the stacks of lumber in the sawmill yard next door. But things escalate, tonal vibrations, and I walk over to check. Something lies in between the stacks, a mound. It's brown, furred, larger than a cat. Badly injured, with open wounds, it's a coyote, still alive but not moving. Just breathing, barely. I leave it to die alone.

We call the conservation officer and wait, hoping someone comes today. The animal's presence haunts us. We talk to our neighbour, a hunter, he would shoot it but that's not legal. As if we can hear it breathing, the animal's presence haunts us, a faint stench, an uncomfortable intuition. The dogs behave like addicts and have to be contained or they race over and bark in its face, high on adrenalin and instinct. The guilt is unbearable, my role in its suffering. 

One gunshot splits the tension; it's euthanized. When the body is removed, we confirm with the dogs that it's over, but they are intent and have to be hauled back from following that scent, the scent of death, displacement, fear and survival. The conservation officer is surprised, he can't understand why it's downtown and I wonder, does he mean the sawmill or the coyote. 


At Live Metal Studio, Nelson BC

Keith Berens at his off-the-grid studio near Nelson BC.  I first met Keith in Vancouver. He and his buddy parked their van in the back alley, spent the night and  in the morning, they came inside to see what we had going for breakfast. Someone knew them, I can't recall which of my five roommates, we were all students at UBC, the place was hectic. Keith has been climbing in Yosemite and they ended up staying a couple of days. We became friends and eventually, we both moved to Kootenays, where he still lives. Always an entrepeneur and ideas man, Keith has carved out a niche in the world of action sports, making trophies that celebrate human accomplishment and athleticism. His figures are animated, the materials are authentic, often recycled or found objects that he salted away on his acreage for future use. The place is chaotic, challenging, real. His custom pieces are works of art, one of a kind objects imbued with his unique vision. Sorting through his boneyard is a trip. 

sandblasting tent

in dexter's kill room

creative space

dome of creativity

log sort



fluo bike cage

tool inventor

chainsaw lathe

keith berens

hoedad canadian gothic

steve z

steve z

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ask my watch