Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spraycation 10-4.

My home and dawn's dew. Ontario; September 2009.
Last night I found myself dreaming of the Spray. In the dream I was back working for PRT on an extended fall contract with these dudes below. Two years ago to date I shot these photos. It was an exciting time. I was in love, holding my camera newly repaired after a long separation and shooting everything in sight. I kept it in the truck and my crew took such care of it when I was deep in the land.

We would congregate every morning at six at the trucks, waiting for Dixon's word that the morning mist was burnt off and we could begin our day on the Spray. Chemical doesn't stick to brush when slick with dew. Thus on wet days we would be shipped off to "clear". Clearing brush is in my humble opinion the worst job out of any I have worked. Hard, depressing and painful. Bigger guys handle the chainsaws and the little squirts haul the cut brush to the chipper. Slowly, over the course of a day, a plot would be cleared around the spruce or pine begging to shoot up--freshly exposed to sun. On hot days it was into the land as early as possible, filling pack after pack, two crews of four divvying up humungeous chunks of land to spray in a four person swath. And we would walk, and we would walk. It was the first time I saw trees shut down, a firsthand introduction to Autumn on an hour to hour basis. Turtle tanks on the back of the crew trucks were filled with ditch water, transfered to barrels trailing behind quads, transferred to packs attached to our backs, transferred through our wands to that lush lush lush.

Kill it all so that there may be life.

It was in this place I learned how to siphon. Bird was ready to teach, any questions I had no matter how minute, weird or vague. It is silly to long for such bizarre work, but I do. The work was mentally difficult, too open to mind wandering in that big land while crawling through, under, over, up, down. Log walking, like a showy circus act that not a single person was aware of. Joy came from strange places.

Bush work has its place. Glad I did it, glad it is far enough in the past to appreciate from an arms length, glad I am here in my room and not there tripping every minute, cursing the very land I love. Glad it is over. Enough dreaming, back to reality.


Spray boys talk shop. Deep in the bush, Ontario; September 2009.

Power 90, pack and poison. Ontario; September 2009.

Birdman, my teacher. Block talk. Ontario; September 2009.
Konan on the string box. Ontario; September 2009.
Bird and Klinck relax back at camp. Ontario; September 2009.
These are the mornings I miss. Bush camp, Ontario; September 2009.
Classic Maya. Bush camp, Ontario; September 2009.
Saxson fills a turtle tank; Bush camp, Ontario; September 2009.
Bird surveys land from above. Ontario; September 2009.

Hi Vis marks the spot. Sioux Narrows, Ontario; September 2009.

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