First of all, here’s the story…
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
Once upon a time there was a stretch of particularly beautiful unspoiled land in Quebec, Canada not too far from the Atlantic coast. The same families had farmed the land for generations. The people lived simple but tough outdoor lives; think of ranches and pastures, timber, log cabins, clearings in the deep forests; think of fishing in clear lakes and acres of rich orchards. Think of The Deerhunter. There was wildlife and game in abundance; beaver, coyote, elk, moose, wolves, racoon, eagle and wild geese. Winters were cold. The children grew up playing ice hockey on the lake and sitting around blazing fires telling stories. More lately the old men were slowing down and spending time telling the stories while their sons farmed the land. But some of the young men were more interested in playing ice hockey than driving tractors. One guy even signed for a pro team and got traded to the Edmonton Oilers. Others were intrigued or jealous and spent more time quarrelling than shooting game…
Meanwhile, down on the East Coast of America business was booming and people had more money than they knew what to do with. It became vogue to own a holiday house in the country, what better than a neglected old farm you could pick up for peanuts. So, the townsfolk started invading the land and playing at being hunters and cowboys at the weekend. Mr Derwin Earle Snr and his family thought they’d try their luck and bought up one such farmstead with deer roaming the land and a beautiful old orchard by a sloping pasture called Antler Hill. They lived there long enough for the fields to turn to weed before they gave up and moved back to the city. The farm came in useful as a venue for weekend-long parties for visitors from the city. They damaged the wildlife and its habitat. They shot at the deer but left them injured. The fruit was left un-harvested in the orchard and rotted on the ground. They didn’t respect the land…or the remaining locals.
A very old Canadian elder looked up at the Wolf Moon one cold January. He heaved himself out of his porch chair and headed slowly and painfully up to the Earles’ ranch to get his own back. By the time he got there the city folk were sitting smoking and drinking night-caps.
The old Canuck spoke; and when the story was over Derwin Earle realised he had got more than he bargained for when he bought the old man’s land.
There was a crackle of twigs outside the shutters. It could have been the wolf-changeling…or, was it…the Were-Deer on the run…
…thus passes the glory of the world
And now, here is the song…
My world may be just for you
But this land’s for everyone.
Quarrelling sons sell to folk out East
But the name still goes on.
You can own your own on Atlantic Plain
For a few dollars more, so much to gain.
So the Derwin Earles’ have weekend guests,
Town folk make country fun.
Buy a cowboy hat for the wild, Wild West
And shoot from the hip
“Yeah me and Al Capone”
Til the moon’s like a plate on the dresser shelf
And tales of the Were-Deer come along.
But country life don’t turn out good
They move on back East to the neighbourhood.
Let the apples rot on Antler Hill
While the milkweed feeds the monarch still,
And the Old Canuck talks of Loup Garou
And the Were-Deer on the run.
See the moon like a plate on the dresser shelf
“I want you baby want you all for myself”
Yeah the moon’s like a plate on the dresser shelf
“I’ll come and get you baby, all for myself”
So here he comes…
“Here comes Loup Garou!”
Yeah here he comes
“Here comes Loup Garou!”
…Bye bye baby, baby, baby bye bye
You know he’s gonna get ya, matter how you try
Spiral Angel in the city tonight
I’m gonna make it make it baby
Gonna make it alright.
© 2012 Duffy-Howard
Swanland Flower Moon photo by Lee Pulford 5th May 2012