Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas on the Coast

We left for the Coast on Christmas Day in a roaring Blizzard, packed to the rooftops with gifts and baking.  We drove on hard-packed icy roads until we reached Hope... at the end of the Fraser Canyon route...a distance of almost four hundred kilometres.

I had my camera; usually I take pictures as we drive.  This time, I could not unclench my hands long enough to hold the camera. Indeed, my whole body stayed in one tense position all the way. 

The Coast had been blasted with a series of Snow Storms and even though the freeway beyond the town of Hope had at least one lane cleared, driving was difficult.  We saw the evidence of the Storms; there were many vehicles and semi-trailers turned upside down all along the route.

One logging truck, with a full load of logs, had overturned in a ravine on the side of the road.  With Snow settled on the cut logs and swirling Snow all around the wreck, it was easy to see how the Forest, which grew right around the spilled logs and upside down truck, might be beginning to reclaim her own.

Trips to the Coast are always rushed, because of the ferry required to reach the Island.  We had reservations for the three o'clock ferry; we could not allow Snow and Ice to slow us too much.

We made the ferry with less than an hour to spare...getting out of bed at four AM has its rewards, during a long, dark Winter's journey...

A very fine holiday with family ensued. Our grandkids, without exception, made both Graham and I the stars of their lives while we were there. And we enjoyed every joyous...and not quite so joyous...minute.

You see, we were all, once more, just as we were in the Summer, tied to the interior of the house, because of the inclement weather.  Snow lay piled above the raised deck; it was impossible to walk anywhere.

But we managed a trip to visit my sister and her family...and also to welcome the newest addition, baby Ender. When I visit the Coast, there never seems to be enough time to visit extended family. It was important this time...I rarely have the chance to keep up with my nieces and nephews and grands...and they were all home for Christmas.

The family rallied with one activity or another, and time passed far too quickly. Lighthearted fun prevailed, although there was time for girl's night where truths and misconceptions were shared, as they are each time we are together. Difficult as it may be, the bonding and understanding that occurs after a session is one which mothers, daughters, aunts and nieces all embrace.

And then.  Then it was time for leave-taking.  It was a great wrench this time, for me...I miss my family every day I am apart from them. I leave part of my heart with them, as I take part of theirs...

Again, we left in a howling Blizzard. But we seemed, as we moved along our route, to be outrunning the Storms which were advancing towards the Interior of the Province.  And so, I amused myself with my camera, some of the photos displayed here.

The Fraser Canyon Route has many twists and turns, which, when covered with Ice, can make driving treacherous, of course. But on the way home, with no deadline to meet, the drive seemed easier.  And the roads were somewhat better, even if we left our overnight motel in Chilliwack very early on a frosty, snowy morning. The roads seemed to be littered with glittering diamonds reflected from the headlights of our vehicle.

As tired as I was, beyond belief tired, a camera in my hand keeps me awake and interested. A photo taken in the blink of an eye through a mud-spattered window takes concentration. Not always did my attempts at capturing the essence of the icy, dirty highway bare fruit, but some did.  It is always those few which keep me returning to finding the elusive shot taken from a car window. 

Along the way, I mused upon what I wanted to accomplish in 2009. I already have so much; how could I ever improve upon my life?

But there is always something.

As we turned into our quiet, snow covered road and into our driveway, the trip home finally over...I realized, suddenly, the improvement on which I needed to focus.

I believe I will propel my attention on others and to myself. Kindnesses to others, in word and deed, are not so difficult for me; kindness to myself will take some work.

And I know I will have to work at being kind to myself, because even the thought of it is frightening...and thoughts which frighten me...well, they are difficult and will take much effort to carry out.

But it is the new Year...the year of 2009, the Year of the Ox.  It seems appropriate, somehow, to learn how to please myself.  At the moment, it feels like selfishness.  I will have to learn to move beyond that...

And along with being kind to myself, I want to learn to receive kindnesses from others...with grace.

Christmas, Blizzards, and long trips on icy roads all lead to deep thought, when one is a passenger...



  1. A wonderful story Marion and well illustrated with all those pictures, I felt I was a passenger in the car. It must have been very tiring driving in those conditions, a real adventure. Thanks.

  2. Wonderful post, Marion! But I would have been utterly and snow, as you know, just ain't my thing. AAAAAAAAGH!

    Beautiful photos!

  3. A beautifully written and constructed post. I think being kind to ourselves instead of critical can be very difficult. This I learn every day from my children and grandchildren. I know I'm a wonderful mother and grandmother or I wouldn't have such wonderful progeny. And my dogs give me unconditioned love (as long as the food dish is full. :) And the cat...what is there to say about a cat? I am her good staff.

  4. beautiful photos of snow! i am wondering how many layers of clothes i'd be wearing if i were to go to such cold cold place. haha! i am also learning to be kind to myself and others this year.

  5. Davem,

    The trip was far worse on the way and snow covered the roads and we were driving in other car's tracks, for awhile. One must be ultra aware in those conditions, but it was well worth it to see the family.


    I thought of my blogger friends a time or two along the way, especially those that don't like snow overmuch, lol!


    Yes, I have wonderful kids as well. And I don't know that I've realized that must mean I'm a good mother. Even calling myself a good mother makes me cringe a bit...I've got some work to do, I think.

    I wish I had a cat...I love your comment "I am her good staff." Perfect!


    I put more clothes on each day than I ever have. It takes longer to get dressed each morning. But it's unbelievably helpful when I go outside, to have all those layers beating back the cold.

    Good luck with kindness, to yourself and others. It's what we all need so badly.

  6. Beautiful post. We were in Vancouver on the 23rd of December. The amount of snow was amazing. I don't envy you driving the route you took. I've been in your part of BC on several occasions (in summer). You live in some wonderful territory.
    We're struggling with our own weather here in Chicago. Probably not as extreme as you see but -8 F and at least a foot of snow make life interesting.
    I came here because I was curious about who posted on my blog back in 2006 and whether they were still around. I guess you are.