There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back — and I will.
—Robert W. Service
Then and now.
My dad and I have both come a long way. I thought such an important milestone deserved the landscape to go with it.
Land of the midnight sun.
June was the perfect time to visit.
I’m thankful I got to celebrate June 5th in a miraculous place.
I wanted to shout it from the rooftops – 20 years baby!
I spent the actual morning of the 5th, standing on a suspension bridge, overlooking a place called Miles Canyon. The day was a perfect temperature for me, wind and sun, blowing my hair all around and warming my face.
I thought about where I would have been, exactly twenty years earlier. I was so glad to have that hospital and those doctors then. I was so blessed to have all those years of a dialysis free life, thanks to my father. I was lucky to spend that moment, twenty years on, up on that bridge.
I’m thankful for a truly eye opening week.
I thought the Yukon seemed so far out of the way of most of the rest of Canada and thought of it a little bit like the Canada of Canada.
By that, I mean that in North America, to me at least at times, Canada goes somewhat unnoticed or under appreciated by the United States and such. We are here but can feel invisible. We are a small world player, in many ways, not making a whole lot of noise or commotion, but that’s how we prefer it to be. We are here and we are strong.
Then there is a part of Canada that is tucked away, far from what a lot of the gathered population ever sees. I wanted to go out and find this place.
By the end of my time there, I’d learned so much and was blown away by all of it. I heard stories of the people who have lived in that climate (months of mostly all light and then months of continuous darkness) for years upon years. I learned about myself and what travel can mean to me, through seeing places of intense and immense beauty, while not actually getting to experience the spectacular visuals of the north.
I missed out on a to, but I gained so so much.
I’m thankful I had the chance to see a part of my country of Canada, far far from my place in it.
I have never traveled out west through Canada before, spending most of my time in the central part, the middle area, always curious about what lay in all that northern part. As we flew, I heard about the Rockies as we passed over them.
Though I could not see the snow capped peaks, I felt such a deep sense of wonder as we headed for the west coast. My country is so vast and amazing.
I’m thankful for pilots.
I am somewhat anxious when flying, but it is a true miracle that a plane can even get up in the air, let alone stay up there and take people so far across the skies.
I hear their announcements on the speaker and they sound like they know what they are doing. I hope, every time I fly, that that is the case.
I really did enjoy my experience flying WestJet.
I’m thankful for local tour guides.
Big bus tours can be fun, like the one I was on in Ireland, but this time we had a smaller and more personal experience with a local tour company I’d highly recommend.
They have had it in the family for 100 years and the woman in charge and her employees (one being her daughter) are highly knowledgeable about the region and so very proud of their homeland. They know about the environment, the terrain, and the people. They are Yukoners, through and through..
I’m thankful for the chance to learn about culture and nature.
I could smell the wet wood as they worked, using a tool called an adze. They had to keep the wood moist so it wouldn’t cracked as they worked on it. They only had it dug out a tiny amount, with a lot of hours of work still left to go.
It is one of several cultural events and demonstrations happening, there at the riverside, sponsored by the Canadian government and Canada 150 in 2017.
I missed the bright colours of the water. I missed the white caps of snow atop the mountains in the distance. I missed the severe cliffs and vistas.
I smelled the fresh Yukon air. I felt the wind. I instinctually detected the wide open spaces. I listened to the ripples at the lake’s edge. I compared the silences to the sounds of rapids far down below.
I felt it all in my bones.
I’m thankful for the kindness of strangers while traveling.
I started the trip being given someone else’s seat on the shuttle bus to the terminal and I ended it with a generous gesture by a flight attendant.
When she learned I hadn’t known I had to download a certain update on my phone, one that would be able to work with the inflight entertainment system, she offered tablets (free of their rental charge) so we could watch a movie on the four hour flight.
I watched Beauty and the Beast, the 2017 live action version that I’d been wanting to see since it came out back in March.
Also, there was the politeness of many I met while there, the polite drivers letting me cross streets, and the woman at the glass blowing factory who showed me around and was so helpful.
I’m thankful my mom and I weren’t eaten by bears.
We stayed down at the roadside, overlooking the lake, while the rest of the group walked a bit up the mountain. They were going up some to get a better look, but it was the two of us that got the show.
My mom was taking a panoramic shot with her camera when she suddenly told me of the mother bear and her cub only forty or so feet down from where we stood. She got a few pictures and then couldn’t see where they went. It was at that moment that she grew nervous and we were glad to have the unlocked van to retreat into, until she spotted the pair once more, making their way along the edge of the water, far off into the distance.
This was a good thing in my mind, as I couldn’t remember what action to take when approached by a grizzly bear vs a black bear.
Was I to play dead or fight back? I’d probably just fall to the ground and curl up into a ball either way.
I’m thankful for the comforts of home after being away from it.
I could choose to feel all down and depressed that I had to leave a place I may never return to or a city I felt at home in, or I could be glad to have my own things back.
I both love going out into the world and exploring what else exists, but I will always love having a home to come back to.
Just hearing a little baby crying on the plane coming home made me miss my baby niece.
I’m thankful for family and neighbours who agree to watch my dog and check on my cat while I explore the world.
I love to travel, but having pets makes that difficult. My dog is very attached to me and my cat is not one of those cats that likes his solitude.
I don’t like to put it on my family to take care of my animals, those I chose to have, just so I can run off galavanting. It’s just that I do feel the pull to wander sometimes, though I try to space it out somewhat. It is a responsibility on them when I dump my dog at their house, but I know our family looks out for each other. We help one another out when and where we can. I would do the same for them.
I’m thankful I got to see my nephew’s baseball game.
He is still learning (Lucky Number 13) and yet he may grow to love it. Only time will tell. They are all so cute though. The coaches and volunteer parents have quite the time, wrangling all those kids, shouting instructions to run or catch or pay attention. They are distracted easily and I can’t blame them. A lot going on.
It was just strange to return to the neighbourhood park where the game was being played. I hadn’t been there in years, but sitting on that bench, by that baseball diamond, it brought back a lot of memories of summer days long gone.
My sister and brother both played in leagues and we’d go to their games often. My favourite part was the snack bar, but being back there now made me remember old times, old friends, and things that felt forever ago, compared to the life I am living in 2017 and my transplant anniversary is a part of that.
“Forever can spare a minute.”
—Belle, Beauty and the Beast 2017
“Ever just the same. Ever a surprise. Ever as before and ever just as sure as the sun will rise.”
—Tale As Old As Time, Beauty and the Beast
The people of the Yukon know the sun will rise again. It’s just a question of when and for how long.