Home is Where the Bear Scat Lies

In our last IM chat, Eloriane and I talked about living in Canada – she wanted to move and I loved living here. I’m an immigrant, but having arrived as just a wee bairn I feel as Canadian as people born here (there’s a whole post in that comment). And there’s a lot about Canada that I do like – same sex marriage, universal health care, being included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a general laid back and polite society, being generally liked around the globe (even if not taken that seriously lol). Heck, even hockey. God, what kind of Canadian would I be if I didn’t like haaackey?!? I don’t like donuts, so, um, I need to keep up my Canuck cred, yo.

But I also realized later that a big part of why I love living here has to do with the land itself. I live on the west coast and it’s just frakking gorgeous. Everyday I take a train to work in the city and as it winds its way along the edge of what is almost a fjord I get this amazing view of mountains. Eagles and  seals are not uncommon. The mountains are omnipresent here – it’s the best way to orient yourself in the city, actually. Just look around. See mountains? Okay, that’s north. I’m so used to doing this that when I travel to a place with no mountains I get disoriented and find it harder to place myself on the landscape. I really want to place myself on the landscape too – I want to know where north is, I want to know where the ocean is, I want to feel where I am on the globe. People who have grown up in a different environment will likely feel differently, of course. I recall a story about Tony Curtis in Whistler – he had grown up … in Kansas? and found the closeness of the mountains claustrophobic. To him, they loomed, dark and foreboding. To me, they kind of hug my psyche – like a great black bear behind me, supporting me, holding me in her arms.

One of the stereotypes of the West Coast Lifestyle™, apart from laid back liberalism, is a high degree of outdoorsy-ness. This stereotype largely holds true, I think. As soon as the clouds clear (which ain’t that often), so many of us head outside. We head to the beaches, to the parks, to the dykes, to the mountains. It’s not uncommon to hear co-workers say “hey, after work you wanna do the Grouse Grind with me?” As I walk through the train station at the end of the day I’ll see about 1 in 20 walking in the other direction holding snowboards and wearing snow-pants. The mountains are just so close! Just take public transit up to one of the ski hills that over look the city.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up a coffee at one of the bajillion Starbucks/coffee houses around here and went for a drive to one of my favourite spots. Yeah, no hiking the grind for this lazy bum – more like slowly pollute the air as I sip coffee and listen to Erin McKeown and drive along looking for wildlife. I saw the usual pile of mallards and great blue herons, but also our sort-of resident bald eagle perched on her usual tree-top, overlooking the marsh. Hawks, coyotes, deer, the occasional black bear and beaver too are not that uncommon either (though not today – the bear scat is more commonly spotted than the actual bear). I love this park!

I mean, just look at it.

taken last summer when I had my camera with me

It’s not quite the angle I wanted to show you, but I didn’t have my camera with me yesterday. If I get a chance, I’ll head out there today and try to capture the snow on the peaks (this was taken a couple of summers ago).

To be so close to this, but still be a reasonable drive to a nice metropolitan city? Heaven.

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3 Responses to Home is Where the Bear Scat Lies

  1. eloriane says:

    This is tagged “Crowfoot’s Daily Prattle” because she and I have been talking lately about how she’d like to write more often, so I’m challenging her to write at least 200 words a day, no matter what it’s on, and then just post it, goddammit! (We have, uh, a pretty casual working relationship, lol…)

    And this is why I tease you so much, Crowfoot: this is a gorgeous post. Seriously. I want to move to Vancouver now. You’ve included so many perfect little details, so much personal feeling… and that photo! Gorgeous!

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what else you have to say.

  2. eloriane says:

    Also, apparently there’s something you’re not mentioning about Canadian life…

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    • Crowfoot says:

      buh what?? LOL that’s hilarious 😀

      what made the computer link those, do you think? Dear god, was it the bear scat?? :-p or maybe the use of “grind”? Haha.

      and thank you for the compliments! *blushes* And I am rather proud of that picture. I always wanted to be one of those photography people so I’m always really happy when one turns out. But then, with that landscape, how the hell do you take a bad picture??

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