Thursday, November 05, 2009
A Scent of Pineapple
I struck up a conversation with a woman as we were waiting in the Dentist's office the other day. As is common, we began by discussing the weather.
The weather here in the Cariboo has felt a little strange, lately. In October, there were occurrences of Arctic Air, which dropped our temperatures well into the minus category. We had Snow, which I would have enjoyed much more, had I known it was only going to last a day. Then the Rains came, in fits and starts, along with much warmer and Sun-filled weather.
The lady shook her head, as we talked about the anomalies we were experiencing. She is keen on snowmobiling and Ice fishing; she felt with the lack of cold weather, perhaps her hobbies would not be available this year.
She said...What will I do during the long Winter, if there is no Snow or Cold, to freeze the Lakes?
Quite honestly, I did not know how to reply to her comment. A Winter without Snow is right up my alley...I would be ecstatic if this were to occur!
We discussed the Coast, from where I have recently moved. I told her a Winter without Snow was quite common there, and the Snow which did fall rarely lasted long, although last year the Coast received an Arctic blast, which included much Snow. I told her, as well, that the warmer temperatures we have enjoyed lately remind me so much of Fall days on the Coast, where I would be planting bulbs and enjoying the Fall colour.
Of course, she knew all this, as she had cousins who had moved South to Vancouver Island. And she told me they would call and tell her they were mowing their lawns as early as February. She would tell them, in return, of the beautiful, blue, sunny days here in the Cariboo, where she could ride her snowmobile for miles and miles, without fear of Rain. But, she reiterated, she couldn't do this without Snow...
Later, sitting in the dentist's chair, I mused about our differences, a born and bred Cariboo resident and me...an Island girl.
To me, there is no doubt both places are beyond beautiful. Mother Nature has outdone herself in the province of BC. She has carved and smoothed Valleys and Mountains, Rivers, and Lakes. She has molded the beaches and craggy cliffs for the Pacific Ocean, which laps all along the shore. She has built high, semi-arid plains and plateaus...there is a place in the Chilcotin which I swear cracks my heart a little, each time I visit.
In so doing, she has built a Land which has a place to please everyone's wishes and desires, as she honours our differences.
I think about how I have recently felt I am beginning to know and understand the Cariboo and her people. I have lived here almost two years; during that time I have gained a little knowledge of the Land and its weather.
I consider...would I really understand a Winter here without Snow and the attendant Cold? It would feel strange. This is not the Cariboo way, it is the Island way. Some people who have lived here all their lives have built their livelihoods around Winter and his playground.
While I...I have built my life around green gardens and walks along a wind-swept beach, with scudding black clouds in the distance, promising Rain. On the Coast, there is always the promise of Rain...
So, of course, Rain and the soft, southerly Wind is completely known and welcomed by me. It is what I hanker for; sometimes I will go out onto the deck to fully embrace the lashings of Water thrown at me by that gracious South Wind, as she takes me back to the beaches of the Island.
At the same time, I have learned to love the extremes I experience in the Cariboo. I feel as if the inhabitants here are as attuned to the Land as I am. People here, it seems to me, have learned to listen, gaining knowledge and therefore, power over the extremes. They know each Season well. They know what to expect.
And through innocuous conversations such as this one and others, I am learning to accept, if not exactly embrace, the length, breadth and Cold of the Winter Season.
But. As I told the lady in the dentist's office, right now, today, I am enjoying unseasonably warm, lovely weather.
And...right now, today, I am going for a walk outside, to sniff out the scent of Pineapple on the breeze.
Winter will arrive soon enough.