Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

Under Attack from the Sky

By Cam Mather

When you move to the bush and your nearest neighbors are 4 kilometers away, you expect peace and quiet. This is what we have here. It’s divine. Just the sounds of birds and the wind in the trees and occasionally when the wind is coming from the south we can hear a train whistle off in the distance.

Yesterday morning I was out watering the corn and the peace and quiet was disturbed, in a big way. A low flying Hercules plane was circling my house. My first reaction was wow! Can you imagine what it must have been like in World War II when 1,000s of planes similar to this powered by 4 propeller engines flew over your house on the way to a bombing mission? Terrifying.

After my initial reaction of awe, I began to wonder if they were out flying around looking for pot plantations. Right now I’ve got lots of hemp plants growing behind the asparagus. Hemp is a variety of pot without the THC and it grows wild around here. A farmer down the road from me has a huge patch of it growing along his fence line. I’m surprised the drug unit doesn’t descend on his place regularly. Mine started growing from some manure or rotten hay I got that had hemp seeds in it.

They usually use helicopters with infrared to search for pot in the woods around here, so I’m pretty sure the Hercules was just out on training. It kept flying over and doing a big loop and then coming back, probably 7 or 8 times (giving me lots of opportunity to grab my camera.) The Hercules has been the workhorse of the Canadian Military for decades. Not only do they use it to ferry troops and supplies, it’s also used for search and rescue and humanitarian work. It’s the plane you have probably seen with its back door wide open and troops pushing out food deliveries to disaster areas where there are no airstrips. That’s what I think was happening today – the pilot was getting trained on low-level flying.

They were probably flying at about 500 feet and my wind tower is  only 100  feet tall, but I get a little paranoid when there is anything flying near my wind tower. It’s in my nature. The noise was really loud. Our neighbors’ cows, who are living in our paddock right now, were freaked out by the loud noise and were mooing their heads off.

Up until Afghanistan and since the Korean War the Canadian Military’s role in the world has only been peace keeping. I didn’t mind seeing my tax dollars burned up in fuel for a Hercules that was out doing good in the world. I’m not so sure anymore. I’m glad the Canadian Government is holding firm to its plan for a Summer 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan. In my latest meeting with my local member of parliament I demanded it and he seemed to concur. It rips my heart out every time I see news footage of thousands of people lining Highway 401, now called “The Highway of Heroes,” as dead Canadian soldiers are transported from the Air Force base in Trenton to the coroner in Toronto. It’s just too heartbreaking.

I’d like the killing to stop and I’d like us to return to the good old days of peace keeping. Fighting wars that were started under false pretences and that aren’t winnable just sucks.

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