Remember this post? I had meant to follow it up with another, but then other things came up, and before you know it, part 2 of BC Parks love, in honour of Bill 4, was no longer “timely”, because we’d all moved onto the next horrifying thing our provincial government had done. Really, who can keep up?
So I was going to wait to post this until I could link it with some relevant event -like Earth Day or World Oceans Day or International Lick a Slug Day (don’t you wish that was a real one?). But you know what? Screw it. Preserving wild places is always relevant. Also, I have a lot of affection building up lately with nowhere to go (I crossed the lingering hug bridge long ago -it’s time to give my friends back their personal space). So here’s my love letter to BC Parks:
Dear BC Parks,
I love you.
I love you the way I love wearing yellow pants -with a comfortable kind of everyday joy. Stepping into you is like coming home to a reunion of my best friends. I love your gentle waves, your rolling paths, and your jagged, difficult spires. You smell like hot summer days and Christmas Eve and all my favourite memories. I love you because you can still surprise me, whether it’s with a breathtaking view or a tick in an unlikely place.
I love you like a dog loves smelly things. I want to eat you and roll around in you, and take you home on my skin.
I love you when you’re beautiful and when you are ugly. I love you when the sun glints off glaciers and dances in alpine meadows. I love you when the rain has been soaking into my clothing and tent and sleeping bag for three days in a row, and I can’t feel my toes anymore, but I’m pretty sure I’m developing trench foot, and there’s sand in EVERYTHING from last night’s camp site, including my teeth.
I love you when I am triumphantly taking in the view from a conquered peak and when I am miserably slogging up an endless set of switchbacks that might never end and don’t seem to actually GO anywhere. (Has anyone spotted any flagging tape recently?)
I love you when I am bobbing peacefully in a warm lake (during that one week in late August), or running screaming into and out of a cold one, just to say I did it. I love you when I am stranded on an icy ski traverse, mentally preparing for death, and when pillows of soft powder cushion my turns and falls.
I love you more than commodities and economic benefits and politics.
I love you when I’m sitting in my classroom in the city, dreaming of when I’ll get to see you again. Knowing I’ll be breathing you in soon gets me through those days when nobody did their homework, except Chloe, who did the wrong homework, and I realize that nothing I’ve said over the past week has made sense to anyone. I love you because I don’t have to make sense to you. I don’t have to wear business casual or iron my shirts or even think about eyeliner when I’m around you -I can just be.
I love the way your names feel on my tongue: Bugaboo, Juan de Fuca, Brackendale, Birkenhead. God’s Pocket.
I love you because you helped my parents raise me. You cradled me on summer days spent hunting for the perfect hiking stick; you comforted me in my stream-side hiding place when I found out my crush liked someone else. You framed my view of the milky way as I lay trying to read my future in it; you gave me space and adventure and the feeling that I could do anything; you were the cool place to hang out with my friends.
I love you like an overbearing parent. I want you to be happy and protected and mine forever and ever. And God help the person who tries to hurt you or change you or suggest you are anything less than perfect and the best ever.
I love you like Sharon, Lois and Bram.
I love you in the morning, basking in alpenglow; I love you in the afternoon, chasing twig boats down tiny waterfalls; I love you in the evening, taking in the sunset from the top of a climb; I love you underneath the moon, tracing the big dipper from a rocky beach and falling asleep to the crashing of waves.
I love you because you frustrate me and challenge me and change me. You provide the backdrop for wrestling with myself and you send me home better than I was.
BC Parks, I love you. If only love were enough.