January 24, 2014
British Columbia is a lovely land of vast contrasts and elegant extremes. Author and historian Terry Reksten highlights this wonderful incongruity in the following passage from her book The Illustrated History of British Columbia:
Whenever [the first people] came [to British Columbia], [they] found a land of great diversity. A “sea of mountains” with a broad Interior plateau. A land of dripping rain forests and dusty deserts. A land where the annual rainfall can be as much as 813 cm (Henderson Lake on Vancouver Island) and as little as 20 cm (Ashcroft). A land where temperatures can plummet to -58.9°C (Smith River near the Yukon border) and climb to 44.4°C (Lytton and Lillooet). They also found a land of stunning biological diversity. Of the 196 species of mammals found in Canada, 143 make their home in British Columbia. Of the 3,218 plant species, 2,500 are native to the province.
Just another reason why British Columbia is a truly fantastic place to live, explore and protect!
December 26, 2013
Everything about British Columbia is big — so big that the province’s physical dimensions, geographic features, cultural diversity and biological plenitude often defy imagination. Author John Vaillant pays fitting homage to the grandeur of this fair land in his book The Golden Spruce:
By any measure, British Columbia is an absolutely enormous place; it occupies two time zones and is bigger than 164 of the world’s countries.* All of California, Oregon and Washington could fit inside it with room left over for most of New England. From end to end and side to side, the province is composed almost entirely of mountain ranges that are thickly wooded from valley bottom to tree line. Even today, it is a hard country to navigate; the drive from Vancouver, in the southwest corner, to Prince Rupert, halfway up the coast, takes 24 hours — weather permitting. There are only two paved roads accessing its northern border, and one of them is the Alaska Highway. B.C.’s coastline — including island and inlets — is 21,000 kilometres long, and all of it was once forested, in most cases down to the waterline. . . . [T]his landscape exudes an overwhelming power to diminish all who move across it.
* There are 196 countries in the world as of this writing.
September 8, 2013
I like this quote from canoeist Bill Mason’s documentary Song of the Paddle, produced in 1978 by the National Film Board of Canada:
Wilderness . . . is a white man’s concept. To the native peoples, the land was not wild, it was home.
July 2, 2013
I like this quote from poet Susan Musgrave about the enigmatic lure of life on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), a wild and sparsely populated archipelago off the northern coast of British Columbia. Musgrave has been a part-time resident of Haida Gwaii since 1972 . Like many local residents, she built her own home, forages for food, and lives according to the rhythms of the land and sea around her. This quote appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of British Columbia Magazine.
If you spend the whole day getting mussels off the beach and you come home and cook them up with some snow peas from the garden, and you’re tired and wet, it’s more fulfilling than buying them in [a grocery chain like] Thrifty’s, because you actually had to participate in the process of your life as opposed to just being a consumer. Haida Gwaii does that for people; it allows them to go back to a time when they were more involved with their own lives, as opposed to when they were just watching or being led.
Would that we all had the opportunity to exist, at least for a time, in such an elemental state of engagement and harmony.