Trying to stave off Volcanic Panic by identifying all the good stuff I am looking forward to over the Spring and Summer in BC and The Yukon:
- The new people I will meet, and the friends I will re-connect with. All that South Park style satire on Canadian ‘niceness’ and ‘bland laid backness’ is fun, but like all stereotyping it misses the real point. To describe most Canadians I have met in the west you would have to triangulate various combinations of the following adjectives: warm, open, generous-spirited, emotionally intelligent, humorous, communicative (2-way), tolerant, passionate about stuff that matters, and generally possessed of a positive energy. Of course, there are people with hard hearts in any population, but there do seem to be fewer of them there.
- Bathing all 5 senses in the mountains, the rivers, the lakes, the seascapes, the forests, the bush, the tundra, the canyons and the skies. And then bathing those 5 senses again…
- Being in the midnight sun, its gradual arrival and its slow departure, for over 2 months. Hmmm, might need to catch up on some sleep eventually.
- Huge cinnamon buns and good coffee.
- Feeling the fears and the joys of having to be ‘bear-aware’.
- Learning how to learn about the First Nations in that narrow gap between the grievous social problems and the crappy dreamcatcher caricatures.
- Being able to tell my stories and to learn new ones. Chisel and plane a few poems and maybe a longer narrative.
- Dancing to music that is local, live and lissom.
- Seeing wolves, coyotes, bald eagles and all sorts of birds again…and maybe catch a glimpse of the really shy ones: cougar, lynx, wolverine…
- Treading very lightly.
- Holding on to the lines that connect me with Jack and my close ones back home.
- Hearing that Oxford United have regained league status via the play-offs!
- And breathing and being alive and mindful in a truly spacious environment. That intoxicating sense of having, in the words of the old Carter family song, Fifty Miles of Elbow Room On Either Side To Spare.
And what might I not be looking forward to?
- The mozzies and nosiums in the north have pretty assertive personalities. I shall be stocking up on Muskol once in Whitehorse. Mind you, it’s nothing to be too bothered about, and Muskol has its own funky good qualities…
- Hunters. Not First Nations subsistence hunters, but the hard-faced bastards who tote state-of-the-art weaponry and sit in plush hides up trees fantasising that they are doing something difficult and dangerous when they gun down passing bears, caribou, moose, wolves or whatever. There are way fewer such people than in the U.S., but they are numerous enough. Maybe they should be culled.
I am very aware that the list of good stuff could go on much longer, but I am eager to get down to the appreciation of the experiences as they happen, in real time and in sensitised detail in the moment.
Then maybe ‘recollect some of them in tranquillity’ in words.
So now I just want a Fairy Godmother to say to the ash cloud, “Cinders! Away! You shall go to the Ball!”