The hidden years in Canada 160, the ice hours

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Friday 04 September 21:49


The ice hours

The vast plain did not offer much variety, everything was white and soon I was a driving machine. The area reached as far as the eye saw, and was only surrounded by mountains. After a while I looked at the trip meter and saw that I had traveled 20 miles, which meant, I realized, that I had driven just over an hour. How did the men manage that always went alone? I began to understand why dangerous Sam McCee was derailed. You had to concentrate on the speed and driving, but your thoughts were associative.  A while later I noticed that the mountains were now farther away from the sides, which meant to me that I was tracking more to the middle of the lake. I looked once again at the trip odometer and had forgotten the reading within a minute. My boss roared fiercely  in the sleeper behind me, above my head.

How deep would it be, where I was driving now and how fast would the end come  if you’d  fall through the ice? I thought about how such a lake had emerged, it had obviously been a valley between mountains. The lowest point somewhere and many thousands of years ago, glaciers melting away, had filled the valley with fresh water. It must have been warmer then, I thought as I looked again for a change at the trip odometer. It would vary in depth, I thought. I drove occasionally high above the lake where fish might have been, hundreds of meters deep, then back off a few steps from the ground to be where the ground was hilly. Strange, I thought how life could go, if I, if coincidence existed, had not worked in the 'four seasons' as a bus boy, then I would not be Up North with a sleeping boss now on a ride over a frozen lake. Was this providence? I looked far ahead of me but the area did not change. The fish thought came back, and then it hit me like a thunderbolt. How did freshwater fish come in a flooded valley that had become a lake? Bill mumbled something in his sleep and turned restlessly. ‘No, no more moose,’ he spoke in his sleep and fell silent again.

The fish conundrum came bubbling up, they had not been set out tens of thousands of years ago. Someway past the lakes was the Arctic zone, with salt water and polar bears, seals and salt water fish. Near the lakes was a swamp and wilderness area that reached hundreds of kilometers away. I pushed it away, whirled my mind and I forced myself to keep myself busy with the track. I found it just as incomprehensible as the mystery of the universe which was infinite, I'd never comprehend it. How did those fish get there? The truck growled and crawled across the ice, an insignificant speck in the universe, which slowly moved forward, with a driver behind the wheel which was harassed by his own thinking.


A river, I thought, there was perhaps a river that ran through the valley, which had carried the fish, I knew it was a false solution to get rid of the problem, a solution á la the chicken and egg discussion. We knew basically nothing, but we moved through life, just looking for ways to stay alive and not really having time to think. That time I had now, I peered once again at the trip odometer and saw to my delight that I had driven a little over four hours. Bill had to have used a lot of energy and effort on the private road from the lake to the diamond mine, he was still exhausted. A grim realization came over me, what if Bill had a heart attack or just never woke up? I knew the answer, I would be lost.

I shoved the fish issue again aside when it forced itself upon me, it did not interest me to know where these animals came from, it was no use, there was of course an answer but I would probably never figure it out. The meaning of life, bubbled up, what was the meaning of life, why was I driving here with a snorring boss above me, who occasionally broke a wind and could command me a few weeks? There was no privacy in the cabin. Maybe things did not matter, that was a nasty thought, then you could sacrifice a life without a sense of use or wondering if it would serve a higher goal. The track was heading now more away from the edge of the frozen surface and a look at the trip meter taught me that we were far from arriving. Moments later the track took us further away from the edge and we were almost driving parallel to the shore. The distance ended into nothingness and the speck that we were, moved in that vast plain. Maybe this was a useless existence. What was the justice that my mother, and I thought of her as my dear mother, had died so young? She knew another woman was going to raise her children, which can not have been a pleasant thought. Especially as such a one could never give the same care.


I tried to push it away but my brother came up, who was killed with his 20 plus years by a psychopath. A boy busy making plans with his fiancée. Who had left the house one morning and never came home again. He was at the right time in the wrong place or vice versa, at least the crazy guy had just aimed and blown out his life and thus for always influenced our lives. What the hell was the meaning of a monsterous act like that anyway? I went and shifted on the bench because I was getting a wooden butt and the pain in the tendon that ran down my shin told me that my foot had been resting too long on the gas pedal. I took it on myself to find a stone or something heavy when we’d stop that I could put on the pedal on long distances. No justice !! I knew it as a truth, it was not fair that someone so young loses his life because he is slain by a madman. I moaned and cursed out loud. ‘Hey,’ said Bill, ‘you're talking to yourself,’ as he dropped out down from the sleeper room. ‘So you want to become a Sam McCee.’ ‘To deep in thought,’ I thought. 'Did you sleep well, I asked? ‘ ‘Better than in any Hilton,’ Bill laughed, ‘I'm back and all.’ He looked at the trip meter, ‘about half an hour and we’ll leave the lake,’ he reported, ‘you’ve done well 'and I felt proud.

San Daniel 2015

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