.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Letters to Nowhere

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Arid to Arctic, and time with my daughter


As many of you know, I made a location change from the south of British Columbia to the Northwest Territories in March of 2006. This transition from arid to Arctic had a number of effects; the biggest of which was being two days drive from my family in the south. This in itself was difficult, as I have never been more than three hours from my family at any time since I left home at nineteen. Now, at the age of forty-two, I have this great distance to go to visit any of my siblings or parents.

My parents are getting on in years, and my father had a brush with death last year, due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm. So close that the doctor that performed emergency surgery greeted him in the recovery room with the words “ God! I’m so glad to see you alive!” Great bedside manner. His regular doctor informed me that, in the small town diagnostic center he goes to, they generally refer to him as Lazarus. So, being so far away is a challenge in that regard.

Also, I am the only male of the family to do chores around the yard (my two sisters aren’t called upon, although they are just as capable; don’t ask, it’s a guy thing. I also am the only one offered a drink in the evenings, after a good days work). I have a brother, but he can’t be around as much, as he lives his own life, for the most part.

The biggest challenge to me personally is being separated from my daughter. Her mother and I separated when she was just four. My visits with her have been sporadic, due to choice, I guess. I had a relationship shortly after the separation that I let preclude more regular visits. My fault, I know this. But now, at seventeen, she will soon be forging ahead with a new kind of life. Until she has kids of her own that I can shamelessly spoil and teach life lessons to, I’ll be a bit at a loss. Something I’ve missed. The love of my life will be bringing her son up, and that will help. But my daughter has expressed worry that I might forget her. God! I wish I could reassure her, but she has reasons to be worried, I expect. I don’t have a great record.

Anyways…

There HAVE been very good memories that have stuck in her mind and my own. There have been those precious times that we’ve played, traveled and enjoyed our time together. Those days where I had her visit; those days when we went to parks, and went on hikes. And a few times, a vacation.

I finally have a job that allows me to take a proper vacation. After attending college (at forty, no less; no better way to go through a mid-life crisis), I got this job in the city of Yellowknife. I accumulated a week’s vacation, and decided to drive home, visit my immediate family, and recreate a trip that my girl and I took seven years ago. The trip down was hellacious, due to the ostensible arthritis I developed. Upon arrival, I was at my old doctor’s office, getting some high-powered drugs to get me home. It delayed my leaving, although my immediate family was happy to have me there. But both my daughter and I were chomping at the bit to go.

We set out on August 12th, and took a similar route to the one we took to Alberta when she was ten. It was a lot of driving, but worth it. We set out to recreate some of the pictures that I took during the last trip. British Columbia has inland ferries on a number of the lakes and rivers throughout the province. We took the same ferries, and took pictures in the same locations. What a difference, though! She could actually look over the side of the boats. Before she couldn’t. We stopped at a waterfall that we just HAD to stop at when she was ten. Took pictures. And when we camped that night in Golden BC, I remembered to bring an axe for kindling, unlike last time.

The following day, we entered Jasper National Park. At the Athabasca Glacier, I took a picture of her at a marker that indicates where the glacier had been in 1844. The same as last time. Then we traveled onto the glacier itself. For those of you that are near Alberta, I highly recommend this tour. It’s awe-inspiring to stand on a three hundred meter thick sheet of ice, a kilometer across, and six kilometers long. Oh, and when you take a drink of the melt water off the ice, you find it so sweet and cold, it’ll hurt your mouth.

We camped at a very nice park in Grande Cache AB. The next day was a sixteen-hour dash to Yellowknife. The nice thing about this trip was that she could do some of the driving. I could have used that seven years ago!!

Now that we are in Yellowknife, we are doing the usual tourist things. We visited the territorial legislature, and explored the old part of town. Very colourful areas in Yellowknife. And, of course, we went to the dump! Yellowknife is one of the few areas in North America where you can take stuff OUT of the dump. I managed to get some useful items for the apartment while I’ve been here, and she’d like to take home some loot, too. She will get a chance to do her own exploring, as I am now back at work. She will be flying back home on the 20th.

I know it’s not so useful to have regrets, although they have a habit of creeping up on you. I am just so glad to have this time with my daughter. I have to take what I can get, now. Soon, she will start her final year in high school, then work for the summer following. Then, she has college plans.

I guess there is always time to make memories, so no need for regrets.

3 Comments:

  • I expect someone I know placed those pictures on the post; I didn't have them with me at the time.

    By Blogger Student of Life, at 8:14 AM  

  • AWe, so glad to get news about your trip Les...sounds like u two had a great time together so far...hope to see more pics to ahemm!..
    Btw, (WAVES) hiya jenn lol..

    By Blogger moon, at 8:44 AM  

  • Brrr! I hope you don't mind the cold :o) Best of luck in your new location!
    To Love, Honor and Dismay

    By Blogger Andrew, at 10:19 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home