OK so I’ve been very slack with this blog while I’m in BC. I’m not sure why. Maybe the endless landscapes and empty roads tell a story that is better not expressed in English, tapped into a computer and uploaded. And tell a story to whom? You want to talk to the bears, to the trees? They’re not interested in what this passer-by has to say – not when they have the seemingly endless forests, mountains and lives to be getting on with.
Of course there are some stories out here that fascinate me – stories that need to be explored and communicated but, for the moment, they are so entwined that I’m not sure I can do any more than make these three observations:
- The Aboriginal People and the First Nations. Their story is an incredible one – never to be repeated – and even the ink cannot be dry, for the Northwest of America was the last area to be lost to the white people and their story is still being written today. In just a few generations, these people have arrived at a place in one of the richest nations on Earth and we have had the privilege of sharing some of the traditions and thoughts that have had survived and evolved with them.
- The Pioneers. As I passed around some of the inhabited areas of BC, I wondered what visual clues there could be to say that none of this existed a hundred years ago. Subtle aspects evaded my untrained eye, for sure, but I could hardly fail to observe two obvious things; all the houses are made out of wood and everyone seems to have an RV or two parked outside. Of course, there are plenty of mundane reasons to suppose why but I prefer to connect with the very recent pioneering history of the people who settled in BC – building a simple home from the trees that they had to clear and making sure they can all evacuate pretty smartly if things don’t turn out so good.
- The Immigrants. Coming from London, which owes its success to an immigrant population and links to the entire world ever since the Romans arrived, it was interesting to hear the tales of people who had come from far overseas. There were the Finns, the Portuguese, the Punjabis, the Vietnamese and the many Brits who knocked on our door to investigate our English truck, their accents finding release and betraying their origins. Many of the Canadians we met had been born in the big cities to the east – their ancestors arriving on these shores hundreds of years before, even if they still identified with the Scottish, Irish, French and Dutch neighbourhoods where they had grown up.
So farewell BC. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.