Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Tripping

The place is a frenzy these days as we prepare to leave on our summer holidays. This will be the longest trek we have ever made as a family. And counter-intuitively, we are heading North. North to where I grew up - to show my children the places that were so formative to me. The first night we will be in Barkerville for two nights where we will also hook up with my sister (and blog design guru) Bethany and her husband. Then we will head to Prince George where I spent 7 years of my childhood and stay at my Aunt's house who still lives in the same house she did while I was growing up. Here I will show my children where I learned to ride a bike and to skate, where I went to kindergarten in a church before kindergarten was compulsory and part of the school system. Where I went for long walks with my brother, Jordan's dog. Where I used to walk home from school in the dark at 3pm. Then we are heading to Smithers where we are camping at Lake Tyee for 2 nights and visiting the village of K'san. I only lived outside of Smithers for 6 months but it had a profound effect on me. We lived on 10 acres beside the Bulkley River which is as beautiful as the Fraser is ugly (Oh, c'mon, it is mighty and awesome but it is the colour of mud from start to finish!) I had few friends and spent hours walking around in the wilderness outside my door. And the summer before we moved there as a family, I lived there and worked for RSF Energy as my dad's sales secretary. During the week I lived in a cabin that Swiss settlers had built in the middle of a hay field. After work, I helped the family cut the hay, winnow it and pitch it onto a hay wagon. I drove a 1938 tractor and helped in every part of the haying. I remember stomping down the hay in my black circle calico skirt that my grandma has sewed for me with the scratchy hay on my bare legs. I was 17 while staying in the cabin and living on yoghurt, fresh whole grain bread and carrots out of the garden with no windows and no electricity, at the foot of those awesome mountains that remind the Swiss of the Alps, I wrote this poem to try to express the wonder and the awe and how deeply spiritually moved I was by this majestic natural landscape:

A Witness

Here in this land where cloud lies heavy
Between the mountains trapped in cold,
Here where nature's friends are more than man,
We breathe a testimony to God.
Mountains rise with unmistakable power
Of a head held high.
Even the most self risen man
Is humbled in their presence.
To look upon their blue and noble towers,
Thrusting above a clearing of waving hay
Wrapped in the peaceful soliloquy
Of a bird's hymn,
Is to look upon a witness
And feel that knowing
Strong inside your breast --
God is nigh.
God is love.
Without words or eloquent hymns,
God is real.
No man can rebut --
God lives.

We'll make a day trip into Terrace where I spent my teen age years.

When I think of going North to those places that I love so much, I can hardly breathe. A piece of my heart has been there ever since. Those Northern, wild places I grew up made me who I am. I miss them everyday. If only they weren't so economically depressed and could grow canteloupes and peppers there.... Anytime I go back, I have a hard time leaving. It's been 9 years since I was back there.


Joanne said...

Wow...what an interesting life you have led (and what an insightful 17 yr old you were:)
Do you have time for a quick side trip to Horsefly?? Will you be in Barkerville for ArtsWells? I think it is August long week-end...we went last year, it was really fun!
Have a great trip!

Amanda said...

Have a great trip! It sounds like such a beautiful thing to share with your kids.

beetlemack said...

wow i can't believe you did that when you were 17! that sounds SO neat. and i know, the fraser IS ugly. it's instantly recognisable due to it's ugly wide flatness and mud-colour.

Andrea said...

Ah, Joanne, I wish I had time for a side trip to Horsefly but I don't want to be away from my sheep for very long... And we will be home before the long week end.