Kindness in Turn

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“Honey, I shrunk your Dad”. Photographed near White Butte, Saskatchewan.                             ©2017 David Macneil. All rights reserved.

This morning I set out on a solo road ride towards the beautiful community of Lumsden in the valley. Before departing, I quickly went over my bike and tires to ensure that everything was mechanically sound. I noticed a small cut on my front tire including a little fraying and protrusion of the internal flat protection belt of the tire.

This concerned me, as it is easy for the internal tube to wiggle itself through the protrusion and, thereby, be vulnerable to puncture – and ultimately a flat tire. The sky was overcast and I was in a bit of a hurry, so I went inside our house and cut an old tire tube into small 3cm sections to use as internal reinforcement of the tire – just in case I did get a flat.

As I was to discover, some 35 km’s from home, this was not a smart idea. Sure enough, the front tire flatted as I was climbing the steep hill out of the valley. The initial small cut was now about a half-centimetre in length and the tire was unrepairable. Although I had an extra tube and patch kit, I did not have a spare tire, nor a cell phone with me. I was stuck in a small town, on a Sunday, with very few options. To add insult to injury, it looked like it was about to rain or, perhaps, even hail.

Mercifully for me, three people stopped their vehicles, in turn, and asked me if I needed any help. The third person to stop offered me a ride all the way back to Regina. I offered him the $20 cash I had in my pocket, but he declined – he simply asked me to pay it forward.

Now, this where my story gets more interesting. The guy who gave me a ride home was “crazier than a nervous hyena on crack“. His almost one-way conversation rattled on non-stop for thirty minutes. He spoke on a multitude of disconnected subject areas, each new story seemingly being more incoherent than the former. I was beginning to wonder whether he was going to take the time to breathe. Each time I tried to interject in the conversation, he would just raise his voice a little louder and talk even faster.

Yes, it did not take me long to realize that this approximately forty-year-old man was suffering from some form of mental illness, and possibly, alcohol and/or drug abuse. Nevertheless, he did have a very kind heart, was rather funny, and was willing to help a complete stranger. I am thankful for his kindness and recognize, once again, God at work in my life, albeit in a humorous way, down to the smallest details.

I intend to honour this man’s uncomplicated request to pay forward the same kindness that he demonstrated towards me 🙂

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The Willow Tree: Part Two

The Willow Tree:Part Two on Vimeo.

Without a doubt there is no shortage of images, video, and stories on social media espousing the extraordinary and the mundane. For me, life is about the simple things that combine and/or synchronize together into the complexity of life.

As a conservationist, I have always been fascinated by our natural environment and silviculture in particular. Our forest resources, whether natural or in a horticultural sense (i.e. the willow tree in my back yard), are renewable. If we treat our environment with respect and care, each new generation of our respective families, not to mention greater society, will benefit greatly.

The large willow tree in my backyard was cut down because the trunk had split, probably due to old age, and the willow tree was threatening to come down on the roof of our house, or perhaps the fence between us and our neighbours. It is conceivable that the majestic tree could have lived for another decade, but the risk of the perpetually strong prairie wind blowing it over was no longer acceptable.

According to one of the team members of the company that we hired, the wood chips will be recycled as ground cover for new trees and shrubs in private and perhaps public areas in the city. The useable firewood will likely be donated to someone in need.

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Motorized and hydraulic stump grinder in action.

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Canada Day: The Aftermath

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Canada Day aftermath. Garbage that was tossed into Wascana Lake washes up near the Albert Street Bridge. The green water is from algae bloom.

I was considerably disappointed with the numerous people that discarded their garbage all over Wascana Park during the Canada Day celebrations. Even two days later there was garbage seen floating on the lake and strewn all over the lawn and forested areas, often just a few feet from a garbage bin.

I cannot speak for everyone, but many of us were taught from an early age to avoid littering and to pack out what we brought in – at the very least to use the garbage cans that are conveniently situated all over the park.

We may have one of the largest and most beautiful inner city parks in North America (created and maintained with our tax dollars), but that does not entitle Regina and area citizens to dispose of their garbage wherever they want, expecting others to clean up the mess they left behind.

This apparent disregard for the environment can lead to public health and safety issues further on down the line. Please consider the long-term consequences of your actions and stop littering.

I was surprised when I discovered that individuals can be fined up to $2000 dollars and corporations up to $5000 dollars for violating park statutes. For further information, please refer to Parks and Open Space Bylaw Number 2004-27. Thank you.

Anti-Littering

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A Wild Goose Chase

A Wild Goose Chase on Vimeo.

A walk along Wascana Lake today led to a bizarre incident. While videoing a flock of geese along the shoreline, a radio-controlled boat nearly collided with the startled geese.

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Near-miss

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