“It’s not what you look at that matters…it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

Driving along the gravel road to a pristine mountain lake last weekend, the sound of the white water rushing in the river that ran alongside, was as welcome as any cold cocktail on a hot summer afternoon.

The clear water ran fast and frothy,tumbling over rocks and between giant boulders that looked like they were perfectly placed by some ancient giant hand until reaching deeper pools and eddies. These deeper pools took on an emerald hue, crystal clear and so inviting for fishers and weary hot hikers alike. If you knew the way of fish, you would also know that those dark pools were the preferred spot for salmon and trout to rest in between travelling the light rapids upstream and where, with a deft flick of wrist,an experienced fly-fisher could land dinner.

Opening the door of the truck, I was welcomed by ripe huckleberries growing right beside the gravel lot. Similar to a blueberry but much more intense in taste,I popped them into my mouth, savouring the pop and sudden rush of flavour on my tongue. The air was fresh and smelled… green, alive, unadulterated. Closing my eyes momentarily as we walked the path to the lake, I held my hand out to run fingertips across the ends of hemlock boughs, connecting with all that was around me. And with every step the stress, the baggage, the weight of my modern world left me in bits and pieces, evaporating into the forest around me, leaving me feeling free and new again…

I‘ve written often over the years about the connection I feel with the land around me and nearly just as much about all the things that threaten it.

Even on this trip the shock of seeing a new clear-cut and a rough logging road cut into the steep slopes was a jarring sight not only because the extreme terrain makes logging there costly, but also that it banked right up next to a provincial park. I’m not opposed to logging-my family has all worked in the forest industry-but forest practices and timber management have come under criticism often enough that it’s a concern for the future.

We enjoy the places less traveled to re-connect with the inner core of ourselves that is inherently called to nature, but on our way, we see many others leaving the cities in droves to find what connection they can.Even in Squamish and Whistler  you can see many dressed to the nines, snapping selfies in front of mountains,lakes and yes… bears… just so they can go home and tell their friends they did.

Well, perhaps that’s better than nothing. I’ve always believed that the only way to get people to understand and value what we have, is to build that connection to it. For those who have never lived outside of Metro Vancouver- or outside of most larger cities for that matter- it’s an undiscovered world. Places like the Peace River, where generations of land owners and First Nations have lived, farmed, hunted and gathered. I ask you to visit the area to be flooded, to stand and simply behold how incredible it really is… and then tell me you think it doesn’t matter.

More people than ever are paying companies to take them out camping,hiking hunting for food… on wild expeditions to experience what so many British Columbians simply call life. They are seeking not just adventure,but a feeling I think,of belonging. Of being a part of something bigger, of feeling how it is to know that nature can make you, or break you.

I know that feeling and it’s what calls me back to the forests and mountains when I’ve had enough of the galling joke we call politics in this province. Nature is the greatest equalizer, it grounds me, humbles me and leaves me in awe of her power and beauty. And in British Columbia, we have so much to be thankful for- YES, we really do- and we have to ensure those entrusted with the management of our natural areas, and our resources, are doing the best they can.

As I log off to enjoy my BC day weekend, and wish you the best for yours, I leave you with an excerpt from an older post. Consider and reflect, wherever you are in this province we  now celebrate.

 “Now that I have lived on the coast for so many years, the sea and the soil here is my heart as well. We can’t turn our back on our agricultural needs any more than we can our roots. The soil here in the Fraser River delta is so rich in silt, in sediment carried down from our mountains, from decaying wild salmon that just laid eggs in a stream not adulterated by Independent power Projects blocking their way…

This circle of life both urban and rural British Columbians rely on, is who we are as a people. It connects north and south like blood when we enjoy our baby greens in  fancy restaurants in the West End…  and when we harvest our moose in the north to fill our freezer.

Herein lies the challenge.

Do the people down here in the lower mainland consider what the impact is of salmon never reaching their spawning grounds? Do they know what it means to find moose and deer riddled with tumours, inedible, because the ticks now over winter due to higher winter temperatures?That the sickness of those moose and deer has an impact on the food chain that trickles down to levels we might not even understand yet?

Do they know that smell in spring that tells you to start harvesting fiddleheads? Do they know the feeling of being such a small part of the universe that seeing the northern lights every night, and hearing coyote packs killing their dinner at dusk gives you?

That was, and is, my British Columbia.

Even now, in my urban, suburban home, I can smell the rain coming and where it comes from. I eat lettuce, now,grown and harvested mere miles from my home that tastes worlds  apart from the imports. We embrace the rain, pick berries on the dykes, and know how precious it all is to us.We love the Canucks, even when they lose. I spent 6 hours on BC ferries to see The Tragically Hip sing Bobcaygeon ahead of schedule courtesy of a crew member on Vancouver Island.

I’ve  been broke. I’ve been flush. I’ve seen BC from top to bottom and there isn’t much I  wouldn’t endorse to anyone else looking to visit.

I think fighting for B.C is worth it. The greater good is bigger than any political agenda.

I’m not saying it is going to be easy… but I am saying it is going to be worth it.

The future is yours if you rise to the challenge. The only question is… will you?”

This is my BC. I’d love for you to share with all of us, photos of yours.

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“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

11 thoughts on ““It’s not what you look at that matters…it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

  1. You said it! And it is true. But I would caution city-breds that the day-trip in the SUV to Squamish for a few selfies is not even a hint of the real thing. To really get it, you have to spend a month or more. As a born-and-raised urbanite for too many decades, it took me six months to really see what was on offer. And, after a decade out here, I am still enthralled by it all. I wouldn’t go back to the city for anything. Seriously – there is not enough money in the world to make me live there again. To me, it is a mental asylum for the criminally insane or those on their way. My advice (for what it is worth) is get out! Get out now!

  2. I just got back from a run up through the Cariboo (100 mile house area) I agree with everything you have posted here Laila. Stop and smell the fiddleheads. Oh and BTW, I think you were eating Saskatoon berries, not huckleberries, which are red and slightly larger than a BB?

  3. nonconfidencevote

    I was born on the East coast of Canada.
    I try to get back every year to visit with family and help with the lobster fishing (although I’m not sure how much “help” i actually am).
    I’ve owned a cottage in PEI for a few years but realized my friends and relatives were using it more than me so I sold it…..
    Now, as I look at buying property somewhere back east for when I retire I realize to my horror and disappointment……there’s no mountains to look at on the horizon…………..

    1. No problem. Build here. If you build it, they will come. Then you’ll have mountains and friends. Hmmmmm….had a primary residence in PEI and hardly ever went there, eh? Is this Mike Duffy?

    2. nonconfidencevote

      no but I met him in Charlottetown on the sidewalk about 15 years ago.
      He was buying THREE yes THREE hotdogs from a sidewalk vendor( who just so happened to be my cousin who I was yakking with) at 10 am.
      Who the H – E – doublehockeysticks buys hotdogs at 10am unless they’re hungover, or a Somalian refugee just washed up on shore, or Mike Duffy?
      Anywho, I did a double take and asked, ” Are you Mike Duffy?” He glared at me, squirted ketchup ( who the hell puts ketchup on hotdogs? Philistine!) on those greasy, blanketed tubes and stormed away…..
      My 60 seconds of infamy with the Duffster.

  4. e.a.f.

    we baby boomers are most likely the last generation to have seen this country as it was. the corporations and communist china now own this country. The changes of the past 20 yrs have not been for the better and the changes planned for the next 20 yrs will leave some of us reeling.

  5. nonconfidencevote

    Totally off subject here but.
    Has anyone else seen the RCMP recruitment ads on television?
    I have never , ever seen RCMP recruitment ads on television before.
    Is their reputation so bad these days they need to post ads for recruits?
    If thats the case then they need a quantum readjustment in their way of thinking and dealing with a video connected world as the mutiple police shootings of unarmed men in the US have so been brutally proven true……
    Note to ALL police officers.
    You’re also being filmed.

  6. luigi

    A couple of points, if I may.

    I am a lover of the nature of this incredibly beautiful province we have the immense good fortune to be living in. I weep when I see the devastation inflicted upon the land by the Mt Polley disaster and view with disgust the willingness of this government to give the polluters a pass.

    Have you had that glass of water yet Mr Bennett? Thought not. This is not the Supernatural British Columbia that Grace McCarthy spoke of.

    I believe karma does exist cohorts Clark, Coleman, De Jong, Bennett, etc, etc and that the things you are doing to this province will indeed come before you at some point in your existence.

    And Martyn Brown, where were you with so much concern for British Columbia when Campbell was “the man”? Where?

    So many of your posts, Laila, focus on the glorious beauty of BC and you relate what your eyes see and heart feels so eloquently. A pleasure to read.

    Laila Yuile on Politics and Life in BC. Life in BC can be so rewarding in so many ways, but the politics of the government in place present, for the most part, an ugliness that focuses above all else upon the pursuit of currency.

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