Being a British Columbian comes with certain pressures.
For starters it’s considered impolite to point out yoga-pants are not appropriate dinner/office wear.
You’re not supposed to aim your can of Raid at all creepy crawly things and a decision to ingest foreign fruit shouldn’t be made until a lengthy period of soul searching has concluded.
Above all else, you must get misty when possibilities to interact with nature arise, even if you prefer concrete.
And in almost all cases, this British Columbian prefers concrete.
The latter fact is carefully concealed from wilderness loving co-workers (read page 13) and tree-hugging friends (they’re everywhere) for fear it will spark a lengthy chin-wag about the virtues of forests and agricultural land.
For self-preservation sake, they don’t know when they gab green, I daydream grey.
Having lived in cities that boast/lament populations over 10 million, I’ve learned my true love lies in the freedom and mobility provided by sidewalks and transit systems only metropolises can support. The sight of high-rises next to cheap and cheerful food-stands rife with pigeons, is actually more heartwarming than the sound of bluebirds dangerously squealing overhead—Disney stereotypes be damned.
That said, being British Columbian also means you’ve been fitted with internal time-bomb, set to blow at the faintest whiff of Mother Nature.
Case in point: The scent of lumber piled at the side of an eight-lane highway once brought on a tear-stained episode of home-sickness that ended four years of urban bliss. I was back in B.C. in a matter of weeks, splashing my clothes with patchouli and investing in sandals with velcro.
Those wardrobe aberrations have been burned, but no meaningful separation from the land I love begrudgingly has happened since.
It’s mostly because this corner of my supernatural province has urbanized since my great escape.
Kelowna has developed so I can ride a bike on a nicely paved pathway, just about anywhere I want.
Walking downtown isn’t the pothole ridden, pain-in-the-ankle it once was, meaning velcro sandals really aren’t required.
In fact, all the major assets of living in an urban area—minus a massively efficient transit system—have been installed, allowing my conflicted relationship with nature to remain safely hidden.
Until this time of year, that is. This time of year my disdain for wild things comes dangerously close to being exposed and keeping with the popular course of action, I blame the government.
The snow has barely left the ground, yet Discover Camping opened its reservation service Thursday to help campers pre-book their favourite summer spot at B.C.’s provincial campgrounds, prompting a flurry of conversations among my friends about “where to camp” this year.
Internal debates about outing my hatred have played out, but ultimately I found myself calling up the 1-800 line, to see what’s available for this year’s long weekends.
The silver lining is that I’m clearly not alone.
It’s only been a day, and the wait time is several minutes, meaning I may end up being “out of luck” for finding a good spot, whatever that may be.
That realization almost made the call worth listening to the agonizing sounds of nature that play when you’re on hold.
It’s enough to bring tears of joy to my eyes— which I guess means, interacting with nature really does make me misty.