Friday, February 27, 2009
Happy to be Here
Kingston T. Cat -- well-fed, well-sheltered and well loved.
Winter in the Shuswap -- glad to be experiencing weather.
Happy to be Here
It has been a big winter here in the Shuswap. There is a lot of snow and it is still minus 18 degrees Celsius here today.
Like almost every Canadian I am ready to shed winter's mantle. I have been feeling very sorry for myself. Blue. Unhappy. Crabby. Being held prisoner by winter weather is house arrest, is it not?
Around 48 hours ago there was some potent intervention.
Firstly, quite by happenstance I found a blog site called Call Me Cat. I am guessing the author may be Malaysian (although I haven't found the site again -- in part because I haven't had time to search for it. So, I am missing all the details. I have only the quickly observed moments of personal impact to share). The author's photographs of people living in sunny Asian regions were powerful reminders to me of my good fortune to have been born Canadian.
The people had wonderful sunshine but not our Canadian good fortune.
There was a photo of a black and white cat, so similar in markings to the black and white cat living in my home, it could be a sibling to our "Kingston T. Cat." The cat in the photo was obviously hungry, unsheltered and likely ill. I anguished for the cat in the photo.
Wake up call.
My cats are never without food, shelter and necessary medical intervention as needed. All of this is taken for granted by me and of course by the resident cats.There was another photo, this one of a young girl on a walkway looking over railing at difficult living conditions below -- the setting is likely her home. This photo gave me further pause.
I was viewing these photos on a fabulous computer screen inside a warm, comfortable home. Granted, there still existed mountains of snow outside but I have protection from the weather by a well-insulated, well-constructed, well-heated home.
What's more, I have privacy within my home. My neighbours are not a mere piece of cardboard or a piece of aluminum sheeting away from me.
Everyone in this home has a certain amount of personal space. Again, in the middle of winter it does not always feel like enough personal space - but we do have rooms where we can get away from one another.
We have indoor plumbing and a lovely big hot water tank.
I have electricity and running water and even a machine that filters our drinking water making it better-tasting and safer than average.
I have a refrigerator and freezer(s) -- all have food in them. Most importantly, we have a third of an acre where we can grow food. I also have the knowledge and ability to preserve what we grow here.
Call Me Cat's photos and minimalist commentaries were useful in reminding me to say my gratitudes with a lot more sincerity.
Then, on Wednesday evening we drove to the next community to see the film Milk which was showing as part of a regional film festival. It was snowing hard when we left. We always go to this film festival and we were, once again, feeling isolated by winter. So we decided to go to the film despite the falling snow.
En route my husband lost control of the vehicle and it careened from bank to bank multiple times on the Trans Canada highway. It was terrifying. There is rocky mountain face on one side and a long fall into a deep lake on the other side.
When the vehicle finally stopped we were in a place where we would likely be hit by any oncoming traffic, especially as there was by then even more intensely falling snow and nasty wind. It would have been hard to see us well enough in advance to avert hitting us. It was a blizzard.(I need to give credit to my husband's winter driving skills. He kept the vehicle uprighted and on the road.)
Once we were finally righted on the highway again, I wanted to return home. The others did not.
So, we went in to see Milk.
(The film is an important story and it is a brilliantly well acted film. I am pleased to have seen Milk. I do urge others to see this film. However, I suggest you not risk you life to do so).
The drive back home was every bit as precarious as the drive in had been. It was horrible. However, the vehicle stayed on the road on the way home -- by grace, I believe.
I was so relieved to see home and I remain profoundly grateful to be alive and well.
The cold and snow are still real. But their impact has been minimalized for me. I am just so happy to be on the planet to experience weather.
Sad to say, my phobias around winter driving have been confirmed.