Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Today's soundtrack:
The King of Limbs by Radiohead

Kristen's comment on the last post got me thinking about things that I'm bound to miss once we move to Scotland. Not to get pre-nostalgic about Canada or to put unreasonably low expectations on St. Andrews, but she does make an excellent, if not altogether terrifying, point. The absence of good showers aside, I've traveled outside of Canada enough to know that there are some aspects that I miss when I'm away in Spain. It's not necessarily a longing for things or people, but for a place.

After all, it's hard to put my finger on what exactly it is about a prairie winter that I'll miss. The -37ºC windchill? The black ice? Even now, when the days are getting longer and the cabin fever is receding, I can't look out at a snowy morning and not smile. Coffee cup in hand, watching the snow fall and the inevitable quiet that follows. Margaret Atwood is right. The Canadian narrative is about survival, and there's really nothing that makes me feel as though I could look my homesteading ancestors in the eye than when I come out the other end of a particularly miserable snowstorm.

And then there are the mountains. Hiking through the Rockies the other year, the Romantic concept of sublime hit on a much deeper, less intellectual level than it had in university. It's not the size, or the colours, or the meandering goat paths, but put all together... and it still doesn't come close. The only way I can think to describe the Rockies is in a way that only two gentle readers of this blog will understand. Walking through the Rockies, up at Lake Louise and Sulphur Mountain, was like walking down the street, looking up, and realizing that I'm standing in front of the Duomo. That weak-in-the-knees overwhelming sense of place.

I can't leave off the cedars. That smell in the air when the cedars have been sun-blasted all afternoon. I don't remember ever walking through it, only driving past it on the way to Victoria, but Goldstream Park, with all the Spanish Moss hanging off the branches, always looked so impossibly green. Every conceivable shade. And even though the sun had been on the cedars all day, there was still that little bit of ferndamp as you walk through, leaving dark streaks on your pants. Or so I imagine.

So I could quip humorously (ideally) about how I'm going to miss double-paned windows and rain-free days, but the snow has been falling all day, I've got a cup of tea in my hand, and I'm remembering all the prairie winters and Rocky Mountain hikes I'll miss.

1 comment:

  1. You probably need to write another thesis, this time on the parallels between the Duomo and the Rockies. Seriously. Where else would you get the chance to reference John Denver in the same space as Dante?