The bass line from The Black Keys ‘Lonely Boy’ leaps from my iPhone at precisely 5:19 AM as it has each of the last five days.

I can’t help seeing The Black Keys’s janitor dancing just out of reach of his mop. Funny I’ll never dance like that, and the janitor’s talent is maybe a waste.

 Sad.  (If you haven’t seen the video check it out.  It is funny…and sad.)

Before the propane gently woofs blue under the kettle, it is as dark in here as it is behind my eyelids.  The blue flame and singing kettle ignites another day in the Saddle Hills of Alberta pursuing elk. 

Apple and cinnamon oats in my belly and coffee in hand I step out to greet another forest day, the frost on the seat of my quad so thick it requires the window scraper.

Saddles Hills, Alberta

Saddles Hills, Alberta

As I put on my layers and top them with Gore-Tex I think ‘this used to be called a windbreaker.’


I fire up the quad and load it while it warms the engine for the 25-minute chug to where I will start today’s exploration, my goal to bag tawny coloured ungulate that makes elk tracks.  I drain the stainless cup and hoist a leg over the frost scraped seat.


At the first bend in the road I think, can you really break wind? With a ‘windbreaker’ I mean.  Or Saddle Hills 2014-13is it ‘brake-wind’?  And if either of these is true or even possible, what would broken wind look like, or feel like? Would it have a smell?

I conjure two adults and two preadolescent children at the dinner table. 

“Breaking wind at the table is neither polite nor gentlemanly.’ Says the father.

‘But it is funny.’ Says the little sister.

So is he a windbreaker?  I wonder.

A bit later the Mother says:  ‘don’t forget your windbreaker!’


Saddle Hills, Alberta

Saddle Hills, Alberta

I shut off the quad in the dark and the sky turns from black ink to dark blue ink.  The stars seem like tiny holes in the final cover of night sky.

I am still trying to wrap my mind around how you know when the wind is broken.

It is sort of funny, sort of sad.   


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