Never Cry Wolf May 15, 2013Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Inspired by a book, Ponder This.
Tags: activism, caribou, culture, environment, extinction, farley mowat, First Nations, hunting, judging others, killing, NWT, populations, trigger happy, wastage, waste, wolves, Wrigley
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I recently finished reading Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. I bought it at a used book store, and the copyright in my book says 1963, 1973 and 1993, but it must be out of print now. I’m pretty sure my parents hid this book from me when I was growing up. They must have known the effect it would have on me, and they probably didn’t wish to lose their daughter to the wilds of northern Canada for years at a time. Well, they weren’t able to avoid that altogether, but at least I have the technology to keep in touch with them.
Since living in Wrigley, my curiosity about wolves has been piqued. They are often talked about, because they are never very far away. At the airport, which is about 2 km from Wrigley, the wolves were coming onto the runway on the weekends and chewing on the wires going to some of the runway edge lights. When it’s particularly cold in winter, they come closer to town and sometimes attack and eat the local dogs. In December, wolves killed the alpha dog in town — dogs there run in packs and are not very far removed from wild, wolfish behaviour. In fact, some of what Farley Mowat talks about has helped me relate to dogs better, such as reading their facial expressions and understanding that they live by their own, non-human code. They have their own reasons for doing things, because of their canine culture.
I can see why this book is considered a classic! It is an excellent read. Farley is a phenomenal storyteller, and his story is a fantastic one. He is dropped off by a kamikaze bush pilot at an unknown frozen lake somewhere off the map in Northern Manitoba. His mission is to study wolves, their feeding habits and appetite for caribou. He plans to live among the wolves. Does that mean he crawls in their dens? Only once, and his reaction to what he finds within shakes him to the core. He adapts himself to the wolves’ ways — he learns to take wolf-naps so that he can observe them for long periods of time continuously without getting tired. And when the caribou return from their wintering grounds, he discovers, contrary to what the government has been told, that wolves are not responsible for the decline in caribou population.
Fast forward 50+ years, to this year, 2013. What is on the cover of the news/north newspaper this week?
Fifty years have gone by and the problem remains! Farley Mowat correctly identified the cause of the caribou slaughter when he found a field of caribou bones near a trapper’s shack — the trapper was killing hundreds of caribou a year to feed his sled dogs. Back then, they used nearly the whole animal, but now, killing for the sake of killing makes me ill. Trigger happy people should go to a gun range and shoot paper targets, not beautiful, majestic creatures. And there are a lot of trigger happy people in the North, and they think they can get away with it, and they think they have a right to kill what they want, and they do it because their twisted sense of humanity thinks it is fun. That newspaper article speaks of 50+ animals killed with only very small portions being taken for food, a practice very much against what the elders teach. (Wolves, by contrast, kill very few caribou, and only the weak and elderly ones, and, of course, eat it all.)
Part of me desperately hopes they find out who did it all (the carcasses were found in 12 different sites, so it was probably lots of different people), and part of me knows it won’t help. Not unless the local people — the people from that community — decide it is definitely wrong and their internal culture changes. Part of me thinks that if no witnesses will come forward — and who would want to rat on their friends and family? — then the whole community should lose its caribou hunting rights. They have a grocery store; let them buy their meat there. But, that’s our ugly friend colonialism back for a visit, telling native populations what to do and disciplining them like they are children. No, the government needs to stop interfering and the people who live there need to start acting like responsible, life-respecting adults. Own up to what you have done. Admit you feel bad about it (if you do, don’t lie if you don’t). Stop killing just because you can.
I would love to ask one of these trigger happy people “what will you do when all the caribou are gone? Elsewhere in Canada, when the native animals were killed off, domestic animals were brought in. Beef replaced buffalo, pigs in place of antelope. Are you going to become farmers? That will be challenging with the wolves and bears and so much wilderness. Will you cut down all the trees to make fields? Will you grow crops to feed your cows?”
It would be infinitely better if those who live among the caribou could learn to appreciate what they have in them — an amazing, healthy food source — and protect the caribou population, to prevent their extinction. I am a stranger in a strange land; I am not from here. I wasn’t raised among the caribou, among the wolves. I was raised on a farm (which you may have already guessed), so if I want to be an activist, I should do so in the realm where my heritage is — agriculture in Canada. To be an activist here makes me judgmental, as so many environmental activists who go far from home to make a stand are. And I do have some thoughts about agriculture in Canada… but they will have to wait for another day.
Weekend Fun! February 26, 2013Posted by Teresa in Adventures.
Tags: adventures, Mackenzie River, NWT, skidooing, snowshoes, Wrigley
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Whew, I had a fun weekend here in Wrigley! Yup, I am back in the little community at the end of the all-season road, and from my very first night here, the fun began. A friend of mine here ended up house sitting, except with one surprise — there was also a 10-year old girl there! So, it was house/baby-sitting. I decided to go over and see how it was going for him.
When I got to the house, he wasn’t there. I figured he must have gone out snowmobiling, so I decided to go for a walk and check back later. Sure enough, he pulled up in a few minutes and I hopped on! It’s been years since I was on a skidoo and man, was it ever fun! Woo hoo! I screamed, I squealed (yes, like a girl), I shrieked, I leaned, I bonked heads (gently) with the girl, and then got into a minor giggle fit! We blasted our way all over Wrigley, which is basically mecca for snowmobilers — treed trails, hills, the river valley, and a labyrinth of paths all over the community. It’s totally acceptable to cut across anyone and everyone’s yard in winter with a skidoo (usually going mach 3, often in the middle of the night)! We had such a blast!
We went back to the house, and I decided to stay over. I was partly feeling sorry for my friend who had this job sort of dropped on him, and partly to spend time with the girl, who is a pretty cool 10-year-old. It wasn’t a terribly late night, but I was ill-at-ease due to the TV being on. I am so deconditioned to it, it makes me feel quite strange. The next day, I went to work and in the evening, it was the girl’s birthday, so we had a great birthday party for her — chicken dinner with a chocolate birthday cake, icing, candles and everything. I mention this, because you can’t buy birthday candles anywhere in Wrigley, but I had bought them in Fort Simpson a couple of weeks ago for my friend’s birthday! So we celebrated both birthdays and had a great time. Not surprisingly, the local kids found out about the cake, so they had some too. It was coffee cake, so you can imagine the effect! The whole gang left shortly after a couple of our adult friends came over — another party was in the works!
I stayed with the adults for a bit, but decided to go see if my friend needed back-up with all the kids hopped-up on coffee-cake having a sleep over. Yup, he did. Yikes! They were wild. A major pillow fight was underway when I arrived — I took my glasses off to make sure they wouldn’t get broken! Crazy! Eventually, they calmed down a bit and a couple went upstairs to play video games and a couple slept. I claimed the love seat, got comfortable and slept okay until one of the kids turned the TV on. Ugh. Anyhoo, that was the end of Friday.
Saturday I really wanted to go snowshoeing! I was getting ready to go when, you guessed it, a few kids came over to see what we were up to. I had three little shadows as I went, and it was hard going. I thought I would be slow compared to them (this time, it was Pepsi!), but in the deep snow and crazy ice on the river, the snowshoes really shone. They are so amazing! So, I had to slow down and help the kids and they didn’t last long. One little boy kept trying to stand on the back of my snowshoes (a big no-no, for those who don’t know!) so I finally offered to carry him on my back. Wow, never done that before! Not easy! I really wanted to cross the river that afternoon, so the kids went back to town and I did my thing on the river. It was amazing. It’s about 1.2 km across, and I made my way there and back. A couple of the older girls had followed me after all, and they were cheering for me to go all the way. They fared a little better in the deep snow, but it still took a while to slowly pick our way back. I let each of them try the snowshoes, and they did really well. These shoes are about 54″ long (137 cm), by the way.
On Sunday, we ended up all going for a nice hike down to Hodgson Creek, the creek that never freezes in winter. Actually, that’s not true — where we were, farther upstream, it had nice thick ice on it, but at some point a little ways downstream, as far as we know, there must be a little hot spring. The result is pleasant gurgling water all year round! We had fun, walking, playing, making a fire, and roasting apples over the fire! Delish! You have to cook them slowly and let the skin totally burn. They, scrape the skin off and enjoy the yummy baked apple!
Walking back to the village, we invented a new game. It involved kicking trees to get all the snow the fall off on you. We have some serious snow up here — I shovelled for an hour on Friday afternoon at work — and it sticks to the trees wonderfully. Then, a little play wrestling in the snow and we eventually made our way home. One little girl asked me three times if she could come over, but I had to say no. It isn’t easy, since I know she doesn’t want to go home and spending time with me is far more fun, but I just have to keep some boundaries. I can’t take every kid home or let every kid in who wants to. It’s a strange world, where kids play in the streets all by themselves, where parents aren’t too fussy about where they are, where the outdoors is their playground, but they still have satellite TV (some of them) and video games. They like to be outside (and they know how to bundle up), but they are afraid to go into the woods alone. There are wolves around, so their parents have instilled a hearty fear into them. I sometimes feel it’s too bad, but on the other hand, it’s a safety thing and they will probably grow out of it when they are older and go into the bush on their own (or at least the boys might).
So that was my busy, fun, crazy weekend! Hope you are having a great winter too!
Finally, Some Photos of Wrigley! December 4, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Travels.
Tags: Northwest Territories, photos, the North, Wrigley
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Okay, it’s been a long time coming, I know, but I am finally able to post some pictures of Wrigley, NWT. (click on pic for larger version)
Sorry the pictures are kinda small, but there are so many, I didn’t want the page to take forever to load.
Beyond Civilization December 1, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures.
Tags: amenities, entertainment, Northwest Territories, snowboarding, the North, Wrigley
Besides living in an unconnected house, I am also living in a community beyond civilization. We have no Starbucks or Tim Horton’s — the thought of it kind of makes me giggle. We are so far beyond franchises and entertainment, shopping and dining. Wrigley has the following amenities:
- band office (not the musical kind of band), which contains
- post office
- phone/fax service for those who need it
- coordination centre for things like water delivery, sewage pumping, etc.
- various helpful people like the band manager who can help you get things you need
- school (two teachers, grade 1 – 9)
- band office store (which I haven’t visited lately, but has basic groceries)
- a privately-owned store (a tiny cabin which I haven’t visited yet)
- fuel pumps (not really a “gas station,” but you can get gas and diesel there. They are only open 11-12, 1-2 and 5-6 pm)
- nursing station (which includes the nurse’s residence)
- camp-style hotel (which occasionally has a restaurant open to the public — good “pub food!”)
- power generating station
- water treatment plant
- fire hall (but no active fire department)
As you may have noticed, there is no police station (there is a house for them when they are in town), doctor, bank, ATM or other things commonly considered “essential.” The health centre is only staffed three days a month, except during freeze-up and break-up, when it is staffed 24/7.
So how does one keep busy in a place with no “civilization?” It’s not too hard if you like the outdoors. There are skidoo and walking trails all over, and an awesome snowboarding hill (part of the river bank). Last year, my roommate, Jamie, taught a bunch of the kids how to snowboard and then they got to take a school trip to the mountains (Jasper, I think) to go snowboarding, and they were all very well-prepared for the slopes. I really enjoy going for a walk/slide down the river bank, walking along the river, climbing the bank elsewhere and then walking back home along a trail somewhere. One time, Jamie and I went scrambling along a creek bank, bush-whacking and wading through knee-deep snow. Two creeks around here don’t freeze over in winter — we suspect there are hot springs along them — so it’s kind of neat to see flowing, gurgling water when everything else is frozen solid. There are lots of rosehips to eat and I’ve also tried Labrador tea leaves and spruce gum.
At home, we sometimes watch TV series I have on my computer/DVD or movies, or just listen to music. I do a little knitting, but honestly, I do more of that on slow days at work. I have never been one to be bored, and if I think I might get bored, I just take up a new hobby. The other day, I cut a section off a tree that was on the ground, started de-limbing it, and I think I might take up wood carving next — with a hatchet! If I wanted to, I could also take up snowboarding (which I may do yet) or snowmobiling, and if I am here again in January, I will be bringing my snowshoes and cross-country skis. I think as long as you can entertain yourself, Wrigley is great!
Unconnected November 30, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Ponder This.
Tags: connectivity, isolation, modern life, Northwest Territories, technology, the North, Wrigley
I have been living for a month with no home phone, internet or TV. Perhaps you think I am barely surviving, but in fact, it’s been enjoyable and I have learned a lot from the experience of being unconnected to the rest of the world.
I am still working, so I have use of the phone there and can make the calls I need to. The internet there is dial-up, and is set up for a specific sending procedure, so I can’t go online at work at all (I tried going to Google’s homepage and it wouldn’t load at all). Since I have no connectivity at home — I forgot to mention, there is no cell service either — when I leave work for the day, I am leaving a lot behind.
Off and on, I dealt with bouts of anger and frustration at not having my phone hooked up yet. The phone company that serves this area — there is only one — is appalling. With no competition, they have really let their maintenance department slide. Suffice it to say, the delays and excuses have been astounding. Yesterday, I decided that I wasn’t going to be mad about it any more. Everything else about my life is great; I don’t want to let that one thing mess up the rest. So, I am feeling happier and more at-ease about that.
The atmosphere at my unconnected place is interesting. Pleasant. Peaceful. There are no interruptions and no outside influences that my roommate and I don’t specifically invite in. We listen to the radio a fair bit; there are only two stations up here, and we usually listen to CBC North. We also listen to music, and enjoy introducing each other to our favourite artists and songs. We were both in bands of our own in the past, and it’s fun to relate our own experiences with music and performing. Last night, we sat for a couple of hours on the couch, relaxed, just chatting about music. There is no TV to invade our intentions, no internet to distract or phones to demand our attention. Sure, there are lots of times every day that I wish I could look up this or that online, or websites I miss visiting.
I thought I would miss connecting with my family and friends more, but I think that although we all need connection, but it doesn’t have to be with who we think. I am quite happy connecting with my roommie, and I have also made some new and unlikely friends here who I connect with, too. We make eye contact, we shake hands or hug, we have real conversations and a real connection. Having all the technology in the world doesn’t help us connect; it can help, but it can also be a huge distraction. Most tech is meant to help us connect over long distances, but we desperately need in-person connections, too. Without them, we wither and feel depressed.
Keep in mind, I am a natural introvert — I am not someone who “needs people,” yet I have found that I do. I am a thriving so much more this time in Wrigley than when I came in spring and didn’t have a roommate, neighbours or any after-work interactions. I didn’t have any tech connectivity then either, so I was completely alone after 4:30 pm each day. For safety reasons, I checked in using my SPOT device — one-way communication — with my boss and husband each night and morning. And I was fine, but I wasn’t exactly thriving. Luckily, I only lived that way for two weeks — I’m not sure what the long-term results of that experiment in isolation would have been. I blogged about my first impressions of Wrigley back in May here.
I wonder how different the world would be if everyone made one non-friend connection each day. Chatting with a stranger on the bus. Making eye contact with another person in line at the grocery store. Smiling at an acquaintance for no reason. Patting a coworker on the arm. I think that we might not be as dependent on our spouses and closest friends to provide our every need when it comes to connection. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that connecting with our loved ones makes us happy; we individually make ourselves happy. It’s not up to anyone else — or technology — to do it for us.
What is a Tough Woman? November 29, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures.
Tags: exploring, guest blogging, hiking, Wrigley
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I am a guest blogger on aMINDmedia.com today! Go check out my article here. I hope you enjoy it!
In other news, I am still up in Wrigley, enjoying my northern experience! Each weekend, my roommate and I go out for a hike. Last week, we walked along the river towards the airport and then climbed the high bank up to the plateau. It was pretty steep, but fun. The forest was so beautiful, with the trees all covered in snow, standing like sentinels, guarding the Earth. Very cool. The scenery was almost black-and-white, except for muted pinks and purples as the sun sank down and the pale green of old man’s beard hanging on the trees.
Living in the North November 18, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures.
Tags: life, Northwest Territories, the North, Wrigley
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I’ve never been so happy to see green hose in my life. You see, I didn’t have any water running at the airport where I work, due to the sewage tank being full — as a sensible precaution, all power to the water pump is turned off when the sewer tank is full to prevent overflowing. So, sewage full, no water. Everyone in Wrigley, NWT, where I am living right now, has water and sewage tanks, which can cause some inconvenience at times. Yesterday, I ran out of water, because I left the toilet on, and it runs… which means, clean water runs directly into the sewage tank, performing a double-whammy — water tank empty, sewage tank full. This is my life!
I love living in the North. I really feel like I can say I’m “in the North now,” being north of 60. Northern Alberta, especially High Level, is pretty far north, but it still has essentially all the services and conveniences of a bigger city. Here, we wait for services and don’t even remember what conveniences are! Everything is more challenging because we can’t just run out and buy what we need from a store in 30 minutes or less and the buffer of distance separates us from the outside world.
People are closer here, in part because we need to rely on each other. The realities of living are harder here, and it is not uncommon to share things with and borrow things from your neighbour when you need to. Yes, it is cold, snowy and dark; but these facts are nothing to complain about — everyone simply adapts. We bundle up against the cold, play in the snow and manage without much sun.
I feel as though life is more precious here. People value each other more because we are scarce — there is so much wilderness between settlements, we appreciate seeing one another. In cities, I find everyone is frustrated with all the people around them (but perhaps this is only my impression). Life isn’t precious because there is so much of it — it’s everywhere. Just as with any other type of scarcity, when there’s less of something around, we value it more, and I see that in how quick people are to chat with total strangers, how interested they are in your life and how they make eye contact, shake hands and always nod “hello.”
My dad once said I had the unique gift to be able to talk to anybody. I guess he’s right; I can chat with a lawyer or professional as easily as a teenage kid or native elder. This gift is coming in handy here, as I often get visitors to the airport asking when the next plane will be in because they need to send something out or pick someone up off the plane. It’s nice to chat with them, and get to know them a little.
I really truly like it here, and if you’ve heard horror stories about Wrigley, think again. It is a nice place, and although it may have a rougher side, I haven’t really seen it. Maybe this is just more proof that you get what you think about, see what you go looking for, and manifest what you expect. My latest mantra/affirmation is “all my interactions with people are positive and uplifting,” so how can life be any other way?
The Saga of the Hair Catastrophe September 20, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Ponder This.
Tags: appearance, attitudes, hair, LoA
A couple of months ago, I had a slight accident involving hair dye. Although I am a natural blonde — I know, they all say that! — I do dye my hair sometimes to cover the, ahem, grey hairs that I am not ready to see yet. And just to lighten it a little! Well, I had some time and had a frosting kit of some sort and decided to try something new this time — I wanted to lighten my roots a little. You see, my hair grows really fast, so roots can be a problem. I had used this kit a couple of months before, and now my grey-blonde roots were beginning to show.
Oh, if only I had left things alone! Anyhow, I mixed a batch of the dye, applied it where I thought I needed it — about a 3″ stripe on top of my head (to cover one-and-a-half inches of roots on either side of my main part). I made a note of the time and then promptly lost track of it. I washed dishes and watched a couple of episodes of Corner Gas on YouTube. All of a sudden, I saw the time and knew it had been too long. I went to the bathroom and noticed immediately that the dye goop looked really dry. Oh well, I thought, and I proceeded to rinse it out using the tub faucet. After I was done, I stood up and got the tiniest glimpse of myself in the mirror, out of the corner of my eye, and nearly had a heart attack.
My roots were white! Well, white-blonde, and it was BAD! I shrieked, tore off my clothes, leaped into the shower and frantically started shampooing my hair! My heart was pounding so hard — harder than when I go on fire calls, I am not kidding!! I tried to calm myself down, saying that it wouldn’t be that bad, it was going to be okay, but honestly, it looked so fried, I was afraid that my hair might fall out! Luckily, it didn’t, but all the extra shampooing didn’t make my roots any darker.
After I got out of the shower, heart still pounding, I took a closer look at the damage. It was NOT good. The hair was dyed to the colour of the lead singer of Roxette… oh man. I had plans to go over to see some friends, but I actually called and cancelled (even though I had really been looking forward to it). It was really bad. I thought about taking a picture, because I knew I would end up blogging about it some day. I didn’t actually take the picture, but in a way, I wish I had.
Now what to do? I needed to darken this hair, and fast! Nothing was open — it was probably getting close to midnight by this point — so I googled “natural brown hair dyes.” I was pretty sure I could use coffee, and yup, I was right. I was still in a bit of a panic, so rather than make a fresh strong cup, I went to the coffee maker and dumped the morning’s grounds right on my head! I added a little liquid coffee and put a (coincidentally) brown washcloth on my head to sort of hold the coffee there. And waited. This was going to take some time.
I don’t remember how I passed the time — on my computer, just surfing the web, I think — before I checked the coffee-dye progress. Not much difference. But, I could sort of see a darkish spot where a particularly thick chunk of grounds had been, so I knew there was hope. I repeated the process, rubbing the grounds in a bit more, and cleaned up the huge mess I was making with coffee grounds everywhere in the bathroom.
At some point in the night, despite the cutaneous caffeine dosage, I got too tired to stay up any longer, so I rinsed the coffee out as best I could and went to bed. In the morning, I found some nasty instant coffee and mixed up a batch of barely-liquid coffee — just a tiny bit to make it dissolve — and dabbed it on my hair. It was like brown paint, so I was pretty sure it would work well. I drove to High Level that way, with the coffee drying and hopefully tinting my ridiculous roots to a darker shade. Any darker shade.
I worked, sort of. And if I put my hair in a pony tail straight back, it didn’t look too horrendous. And if I kept a baseball cap on. For a few days, I continued to dab coffee concoctions on my head. Aye-ya-yiy! It was tinting my hair, slowly, with a slight reddish-brown twinge. After much debate, I decided to try using a light brown root touch-up kit. I was so nervous about doing it — would it fry my hair even more? Would it make it better and not worse? — and I only left it on for about 5 minutes. It didn’t do much. A couple of weeks later, I re-did the brown and left it on longer and it worked better. I don’t ever want to dye my hair again!
So now, my long blonde hair kind of goes, from the top down, grey-blonde for about a half inch (roots again!), reddish brownish blonde for about an inch and half, then warm blonde (my usual colour) then gradually lighter yet (from a frosting kit from over a year ago). Madness. I used to love that my hair was all-natural! Not anymore. Back in the day (pre-colouring of any kind), I even got a compliment from a hairdresser on what a nice colour my hair was! Not anymore. And I’ve had some interesting thoughts about it all.
Why do I care so much what I look like? I didn’t think I cared much at all, but apparently I do. I don’t wear make-up and I’m not fussy about what I wear, but my hair is different. What did it matter if I had grey hair? I don’t know, but it did. I have never obsessed about my hair colour like I did after that mistake! I had to part my hair on the opposite side, which Darren told me is a sign in the military world that you are doing something under duress (like if a hostage has to make a video statement, he will part his hair on the opposite side from his usual style). Well, I felt like I was under duress. But I mean, what did it really matter? Lots of my friends dye their hair and I never think badly of them (mind you, they do a nice job of it). What I worried about most was that it would be obvious, look silly and everyone would know that A) I dye my own hair (no professional would do that!!) and B) that I’m not a 100% natural blonde. Those were my primary concerns, when I boiled it down.
My natural tendency whenever I have a new realization is to ask why. Why did those things matter? I always revert to the question of “why.” This time, though, I have a new idea: who cares about why? And I don’t even have to change it. Instead, I will just focus on what I want and ignore the present conditions (which is very important for manifesting new things, I have discovered). It’s like Rev. Patrick says — instead of asking “how’s it going,” which essentially asks someone to recount their past to you, we should ask “where ya going?” This gets them looking to the future and what they want from now on. I like it. I think I’m going to start doing that. After all, I decided a while back that I really am a good writer, that writing comes easily and I have lots of good ideas, and look at me now! I am blogging like crazy (23 posts on 4 blogs since July 1) and most of the time, my writing doesn’t even need much editing. Sometimes, I blast out a new post from an idea I just had in less than 15 minutes. Wow, I amaze myself!
So I don’t know if there is a moral to this story. If there was one, perhaps it would be something like “don’t ever lose track of time when dyeing your hair” or “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Perhaps the best one of all would be “you are beautiful and you don’t need anything from a drug store to improve on your beauty.” I like that one best.
Not the Captain June 21, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Ponder This.
Tags: adventures, law of attraction, LoA, york boat
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I’m back after a week on the York boat, this time as a simple crew member instead of Captain. What a difference it was to not have to make every decision and feel the weight of responsibility for everything that happens on the boat. I felt so much more relaxed than I did last year and it really was like a vacation. Jae was the captain, and it was interesting to see him act almost exactly as I did last year – a bit like looking in a mirror. I could see him considering the best place to come ashore, the best way to set up the oars to be bridges to shore, the best route in the river, looking for the best current and making a hundred other decisions about things that happen over the course of the day.
You know, it was stressful to be Captain. Responsibility weighs heavy on the person in charge. But if no one was ever willing to take that on, who would lead? I suppose the people with the most ambition or the most nefarious plans would be happy to take it on, and they would probably not even feel the responsibility of making good decisions, leading the group to the best possible outcome and with the most safety. I am really glad that Jae was willing to take this responsibility on when I couldn’t, and I know it was a heavy burden and a lot of work!
In a similar way, we can sometimes be unwilling to take responsibility for what goes on in our own lives. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that things happen because of fate, or the government, or for no reason at all, rather than admitting that we have made the bed we lie in, and if it’s lumpy and uncomfortable, we have no one else to blame. The responsibility for our lives doesn’t have to be a heavy weight – we can consider it a great honour, a puzzle or interesting challenge, or game — it’s fun to think of creating our designer life! And it is easier to stay lighthearted if you take it in small portions – one day at a time, or even just the morning drive, the morning at work, the afternoon, and the evening. What would you like your day to look like? Smooth flowing traffic? Interesting work? Productive times and good interactions with coworkers? You can think about what you would like, and when you believe it is possible, it’s a good deal more likely to occur. If you can focus on it so intensely that it’s all you see, and there isn’t any way for it to possibly be different, then it is as good as done – it’s only a matter of time!
Anyways, just a few ponderings for now! Pictures from the York boat trip will have to wait while I find the cable to my camera… Go have some adventures!
Naming Places May 18, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Silly stuff.
Tags: creeks, exploring, First Nations, geography, lakes, maps, mosquitoes, names, naming, Northwest Territories, rivers
If you are ever responsible for naming something, please think twice before doing it. Don’t just go for a boring name — there must be 1000 places in Canada called “Long Lake” or “Hillview.” Places in the NWT, in particular around Wrigley, have some of the best names!
Wrigley River (It ain’t straight!)
Moose Pasture Creek
Fish Trap Creek
River Between Two Mountains (This is my favourite!)
English Chief River
Bear Mountain Creek (Isn’t there a coffee company named after that? Or a soap company?)
White Sand Creek
Mud Lake (Gee, don’t you just want to go swimming there!)
Greasy Lake (I wonder if there is oil seeping there…)
Twin Fish Lake
Of course, there are some geographic features named after people:
Camsell Bend, Mount Camsell and Camsell Range (Whoever this Camsell guy was, he got a lot of things after himself!)
Mount Kindle (named after the inventor of the ebook reader of course!)
Ebbutt Hills (I assume this was named after someone, or someone’s butt)
I keep hoping I’ll find a river named after me, but not yet… Or even a creek. Really, just a trickle. Or a pond. I’m not fussy!
There are also quite a few named in the local First Nations language. I wonder if these words are descriptive, or named after people?
Shegonla Hills (Or is this Fringlish? “Where’d she go? She gon la.”)
Nodaday Creek (Not a day goes by I don’t miss my honey!!)
I wonder if some of those mean “place where mosquitoes hatch” or “river with slimy rocks on the banks” or “lake where the fish don’t bite.” If you have ideas, leave them in the comments!
I’m sure in the early days of Canada, the geographical surveyors got completely blasé about naming things, judging by some of these:
Table Mountain (There are two Table Mountains around here, and isn’t there one near Banff too?)
So, if you are ever given the opportunity to name something, go for a good descriptive name*! Or, get a Native elder to name it for you, just make sure you find out the meaning (or you might end up with a name meaning “dumbest place on Earth” or “the Great Spirit wiggles its nose at you”).
*The above does NOT apply to naming children. Don’t name your kid Redface, Screamer, Head-Full-of-Hair, Chubby, Wrinkly, Baldy, Buttonnose…