Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

It’s been a few days now that I’m a volunteer in a shelter for animals so I thought I should mention it to you: MAE BACHUR ANIMAL SHELTER. Located in -what I call- the « industrial » zone of the city, the surrounding area offers a lot of opportunity for walking. So my everyday life now includes a nice walk with these animals.

Their slogan: “Protecting those who can’t protect themselves.”

Mae bachur Animal Shelter has a policy that I really appreciate, which is a ‘no kill’ policy for adoptable pets, no matter how long they would have to stay in the refuge. There are -unfortunately- some animals who are at the shelter for almost a year now, and they continue to receive the care and love of the employees or volunteers of the shelter.

The shelter has 18 cages for dogs and two open cat rooms.
When arriving at the shelter, every animal receives veterinary care (sanitation among all), food, and lots of love until a permanent home can be found.
Because they don’t have enough space for everyone, they have a foster home network that provides care for the over-flow of animals. They are always in need of foster homes so if you have enough room and love to take home one of these animals, I strongly advise you to do so. Or if you only have a bit of time to come visit them, do not hesitate to volunteer to walk them!

I saw lots of different faces since I’m coming everyday at the shelter. Some animals come in and out, for a day or two. Others stay longer to keep me company. But every single one brings me enough love I could sell some.
Because my writings are from previous years, it’s obvious that the animals I walked at that time were all adopted -at least I hope so. But there are still a good number of newcomers to adopt or take under your wing for a while.

This post is for them. For Allegra, Lyric, Taz, Mallieka, Ari, Baby, Biff, Caleigh, Ron, Lucky, Jaeger, Dodger … and all the other ones I don’t recall names. For all these animals who were able to give me so much love in return that I tried to offer them. And for all the others I do not know, around the world, and who need us. Be a volunteer, adopt them, give them all the love and affection they deserve. TAKE ACTION!


Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Yesterday was one of those difficult days ; when nightfall showed up I burst into tears without warning. Face buried in my pillow to stifle my sobs, I fell asleep from exhaustion. I hate those nights, when sleep is sparse and light. Those nights I feel so powerless against the pain of your memories that I curl up in my bed. I thought I’d stop missing you. But the bounds between illusion and reality is thinner than it appears to be.

Yesterday got a two months label. Two months without you. Two months without lunch at the restaurant. Two months without afternoon at the beach. Two months without a cigarette by the pool. Two months without a night in your arms. Two months without your eyes. Two months without your smile. Two months without your hands. Two months without your body. Two months without you.

Days are not alike, just as the minutes being spread accross.

Friday, October 14th, 2011


Her name is Bernadette ; Bernie for short. She’s wearing a redish blood tunic, rather neat for her age, infinitely spacious, and -thank god- automatic.

It’s morning on october 9th and from the sky are falling tiny snowflakes. Bernie is taking us, Lucie and I, on the road for a few days. Our first stop will be at Teslin, about two hours and a half of home. There, we crossed the longest bridge found on the Alaska Highway, 584 meters. It stopped snowing, I’m driving towards Rancheria Falls. Honestly, there is no reason to call that falls, but maybe it was not the right time of year to pay a visit to those ones. Enough time to stretch our legs and have a bite and we’re on our way to Watson Lake, where the so-called “Sign Post Forest” is. Couldn’t think of a better name for this last one though, even if with the years were added to the licence plates all kinds of objects: guitar, hats, traffic cone etc … and even underwears! Most of the attractions of the city were closed at that time of year, so we decided to continue our journey after exploring the forest for about two hours. Pretty ambitious, we wanted to spend the night in Liard River, but forced to realize that we’ll have to stop at Fireside, located in British Columbia. On the way, we glimpsed two bald eagles with suicidal desires … Bernie undeniably attracted them. We’ll eat and sleep the hard way, stationed by a big truck. Nothing on the horizon, lost in the middle of nowhere, the night would be long and cold.

Early the next morning, we drove to Liard River in the fog. First eager to stop there to enjoy the hot springs, we finally decided to keep driving to Muncho Lake Provincial Park, to enjoy the daylight. Caribous and bisons made our travel even more attractive. The landscape around Muncho Lake is beautiful ; the farther we went, the more bright our eyes were. Without being sure of having crossed the entire park, we turned round to reach Liard River before nightfall. Then, when entering the lodge, we realized it was Thanksgiving ! A meal was offered for a reasonable price, so we will celebrate Thanksgiving at the lodge. After a generous meal, our adventurous soul in hands, we are craving for a late bath in the hot springs… we quickly changed our mind though, realizing that the springs are in the middle of nowhere, and that you have to cross a kind of swamp to get there, which is not very reassuring without proper flashlights. So we went off to bed, for another short night and much cooler than the day before.

In the morning, chilled to the bone because of the night spent in the car by -5°C without a mattress, we’re back in the lodge for a hot chocolate. Then we can finally go to the famous hot springs. The idea to take a shower after bathing in hot water makes us really excited considering that we didn’t have a shower since we left. We take the path made of wooden boards in the middle of the swamp, and the smell starts to be unbearable. A smell of sulfur takes over the whole surroundings. The springs are in their natural state, in the middle of nowhere, with only structure of scales and a small room with no roof to change. Bye bye lovely idea of ​​showering. Nevermind, water at 45°C, it can not be refused ! Muscles relaxed after splashing around for over an hour in the boiling water, we get dressed, the smell of sulfur bonded to the skin. Under the advice of a local, we drove to the Smith River Falls. Along the way, we met a black bear on the side of the road and got some stolen shots. Access to the falls was much more complicated than expected but we succeeded anyways, without scaring Bernie too much. Then, we left for Watson Lake where we enjoyed the library, and had the right to have a tea and some biscuits. Wonderful. After some research on the internet, we decided to move towards Atlin on the next day. For now, we will drive to Teslin in order to spend the night.

A short night later, we are on the road to Atlin and the White Mountain. Although a gentleman told us about fog and bad visibility at the top, we decided to climb the mount anyways, until we experienced the famous fog. At some point, after making a little snowman, we got back down. It still allowed us to stretch our legs. Bernie finally took us to Marsh Lake. Being really tired out and only thirty minutes from the house, we decided to go back home for the night and come back tomorrow to climb M’Clintock.

After a good sleep, we reached the summit of M’Clintock in the snow. But the view was worth the effort. This concludes our little roadtrip with Bernie, my new best friend.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Being away from what we’re used to is not an easy task.

Losing our routine. Having to rebuild ourselves. Dealing with failure. Accepting to be forgotten. Making a fresh start. Admitting our mistakes. Starting all over again with a clean and positive slate. Making concessions. Forgetting. Being aware of superfluous. Sorting things out.
Tears will be running down our cheeks. Thoughts will bump into each other.
But in the end, we’ll mostly be thankful for all these changes involved.

On our way to the new world, faces will pass before our eyes. Some will depart from our life, others will come around. Just for a fraction of evening, or for eternity.
It seems to me that people are just as harmful to our well being as vital. And when distance puts its two cents into it, it’s an ocean of misunderstanding that sweeps over our little existence. Whys pile up. Hows defend themselves. Reason takes off. And then comes the blues on its beautiful white horse.
Few are the connections I kept with my so close past. By choice or obligation, I sometimes feel so far away from those who are so dear to me. Words come back to mind, promises, comforting words, and else. This impression it was just empty words.

Present in front of me, I’ll forget the past without shutting it up.
Months at D*l Art*, getaways along with Georgette, poker nights, barbecues, afternoons on the beach or by the pool, cigarettes at bedtime, nights in his arms, family meals, and I Could go on and on and on …

Sometimes, I do have the blues. Blues of you, blues of my last year in France. And then I open up my eyes and take a look to the outside world, set foot outside, breathe the pure air, admire the nature that spreads out as far as the eye can see. And in silence, tears roll down my cheeks, a smile on my face.

I dearly miss you.

Monday, October 3rd, 2011



Kluane Lake, Kathleen Lake, St Elias Lake.

All three located in Kluane National Park, about two hours drive from Whitehorse. “Kluane” means “lake full of fish” in Tutchone language, the Aboriginal community in the Yukon. This park is protected and part of the World Heritage of UNESCO. Might as well say it’s not insignificant.

Marin, PVTiste passing through Whitehorse, offered me to go on a weekend in this famous national park. Without a second thought, I jumped at the chance to visit more of this area which already won my heart. Especially since I’ve heard talk about this park and its reputation was already well done before I even tread upon its soil. Sustaining my momentum, I invited my friend Lucie -my current roommate- to join us. So here we are, the three of us, on the Yukon’s roads, the sun on our heels.



The road in front of us is of a spectacular beauty, as usual. Our first hike, at Kluane Lake, was somewhat disappointing because we misled ourselves on the way to go ; so the hike was very short but the view on the lake was still very nice. Without further ado, we decided to push our way a little farther and to turn back to Kathleen Lake. By the lake, we found a large shelter with a fireplace. Despite the ban, which did not advocate our idea, we decided to spend the night inside rather than challenging the cool temperatures of dew in Marin’s van. The night was short, but fairly sufficient. In the morning, the sun being teasing, we went for a hike to get a stunning view of the area. Halfway we experienced snow! Yes, snow! Short nap at the top -or almost at the top as far as Lucie and I are concerned- to make our shoes and socks dry and we went back down to the refuge.

On our way back to town, we stopped for another short hike that seemed pretty hopeless and endless. At the end of the path though, we found St Elias Lake, which did not impressed us as much as the others did.

Short and enjoyable weekend, in spite of a few pitfalls we had.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011


What’s an aurora borealis ?

No, it’s not an aliens’ invasion.


« An aurora borealis is a natural light, more often green, display in the sky particularly in the high latitude regions, and caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in thermosphere. Most aurorae occur in a band known as the auroral zone, which is typically 3° to 6° in latitudinal extent and at all local times or longitudes. The auroral zone is typically 10° to 20° from the magnetic pole defined by the axis of the Earth’s magnetic dipole. »*

In other words less scientifics, an aurora borealis is a wonderful show that the Yukon sky allows us to see once in a while. Two days now that magic is in the air. The variety of colors that the pretty Aurora is offering us is intense; this time, she’s not only filling our apples with an electric green but also with shades of purple and yellow. It’s not only a greenish powder in the horizon, but a stretch of wonder everywhere around us. Aurora seems to embrace us ’til suffocation, to envelop us with her long and bracing colored hair. The quick and rhythmic dance she’s performing creates a lively music in our mind. By a campfire, we’ve been long waiting for her this past few days, sometimes to insomnia. Marshmallows have been roasted, beers have been drunk, bananas have been burnt, time was making itself languishing and inviting. But it was worth the effort. For nothing I would exchanged those long hours of patience to keep a watch on the horizon until my neck is stiff. And my apples will never get tired of this spectacle.

Monday, September 26th, 2011

 

I keep exploring the surroundings.

We went back to Alaska. Not by the same path though ; this time, we drove the Klondike Highway. Anyways, landscape was mind-blowing, again. I could have enlivened the ride with a couple of oh! and ah! but it looks like my emotions got used to see such beauty lately.

Skagway is a small touristic place during the summer, and tourists arrive by huge cargo-looking ships. This town was on the pioneers’ road at the time of the Gold Rush and, somehow, you might have the impression time stopped ; most of the buildings kept their original look. Pure and fresh air is really pleasant here.

On the next week, I went to Caribou Mountain with a friend of mine, Marin. This mount is on the same road than we took the day before, not even an hour from Whitehorse. At the top, we could see Bennet lake, Emerald Lake, and Spirit Lake. So beautiful it’s indefinable. On the lookout for wildlife, we were able to glimpse mountain sheeps, that didn’t really want to cooperate. Later on, we caught sight of a lovely little chipmunk, charming rodent of the same family than squirrels. So much sweet I could have kidnapped it. Once at the top, well almost, the ground was covered with snow. After a short picnic, we hiked back down, which was no pleasure cruise for the two crippled we are ! Ear to ear grins, we rode back to town after a short stop at Carcross Desert, the smallest desert in the whole world. Who would think there was a desert in canada ?! Not me for sure… I keep going from one surprise to the other in this huge space that looks infinite because it has so much to offer. 

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Everything’s falling apart around me. Walls crumble ; trees strip ; people leave. In a flash, I make of Hell my home. A snap, an only snap. A picture. Just a single picture. The picture of a guy with a harsh and inquisitive look. This look I know so much for dating its owner for so long. Your look. It’s not mine anymore. It’s to everyone else but me. To this new world that opened up to you since almost a week now.

Since you stepped on my territory, my Canada, I’m such in low spirits. I dreamt so much, in the past, of that moment ; I wished so hard it would be ours. Week after week, innocently, I locked up in my heart a hope, hope that took more room with the days. But the day this one got loose, you let it go. You let me go… you gave me your tears in return and looked at me leave without trying to stop me. I didn’t look back, too scared you would not be there anymore. I remember your words full of hope ; I’ll miss you, I’ll really miss you, I already miss you. And I held on to it.

As the crow flies, currently 4247 kilometers split us up. Of course, it’s less that the 7929 kilometers that teared us apart a few days ago ; and yet, I’ve never felt so far away from you. Day after day, you’re slipping through my fingers, like a trickle of gold in a handful of dust. Silence is growing. Distance is showing its strength. I became a trifle to your life, trifle that simply doesn’t get along with your present.


And as much ridiculous as it sounds, I wanted this memory to be mine. But it is hers. And withdrawn into silence, I’m crying. I’m crying over you.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

This is a text by Josée Fortin and published in Aurore Boréale, the french newspaper in Whitehorse. I really enjoyed reading this text, I sort of find myself in those lines, and I thought it would be nice to share it. Unfortunately for you, english folks, I won’t take the chance to translate it, I think it would be a shame. You should read it anyways and try to understand it. 

Pourquoi le nord? Pourquoi ici et nulle part ailleurs?

Vous serez d’accord avec moi qu’il existe un certain type de voyageurs qui vient visiter les contrées nordiques et qui plus est vient y vivre dans cette optique utopique du monde pur, meilleur, vrai, loin de la mondialisation et de son capitalisme avide de pouvoir. Après avoir revu un classique du voyageur, Into the wild, les émotions me remontent à la gorge.
Un jeune diplômé, Christopher, quitte tout, sans laisser d’adresse, pour vivre, avec seul bien matériel son sac à dos. J’y ai vu une parcelle de moi-même, mais aussi plusieurs personnes rencontrées dans l’idyllique Colombie-Britannique, et plus encore dans les yeux de ceux qui viennent pourfendre le ciel arctique. Moi qui suis venue vivre dans mon rêve d’enfance, parce que Jack London a fait de ce pays un rêve, je retrouve au visionnement de ce film ce qui peut-être motive inconsciemment une bonne partie de la population yukonnaise d’origine occidentale: être ailleurs dans ce qu’il y a de vrai, sentir qu’on appartient à quelque chose de plus grand, de plus fort et de totalement humble: la nature. Cette nature qui est la seule à pouvoir enfin nous faire sentir loin du mensonge propre à l’humain, de son côté mesquin et prônant la performance.
Ce qui différencie l’immigrant des pays pauvres, en quête d’une aise matérielle, échappe ici à ceux qui sont nés dans cette mer d’abondance; ils ont compris que tout l’or du monde ne peut illuminer leur intérieur et l’apaiser de sa rage, de sa peine. Comme si le fait de tout posséder nous dénudait, les mains vides devant l’immense fragmentation sociétaire de l’urbanisme occidental et de sa surconsommation. Remplir son vide par le trop-plein aux yeux qu’offre la grandiloquence de l’hiver, l’immortalité de ses montagnes, devient alors la solution idéale. Devenir humble devant ce que nous sommes; des petites bulles de vie frôlant à peine l’histoire du temps.

Mais sommes-nous si imbus de nous-mêmes pour y croire totalement?

L’histoire vécue de Christopher nous dit autre chose par rapport à ce beau rêve de vivre en connexion avec la nature, loin de l’homme et de sa propre origine. La nature a sa loi, chez l’homme comme chez le fauve: la mort. A vouloir trop s’affranchir de ses semblables et de la connaissance qu’apportent les relations humaines, Christopher a mis le monde entier dans le même panier que ses parents, oubliant qu’il y a du bon chez cet animal social qu’est l’humain. C’est ici qu’on peut se demander à quel moment les idées extrémistes détruisent. Christopher est allé à l’autre extrémité des valeurs enseignées dans notre société américaine et comme dans chaque doctrine, ce qui en résulte est l’anéantissement du rêve qu’elle veut engendre, puisqu’elle ne laisse place à aucune autre possibilité.

Et vous, êtes-vous venu fuir ou construire, en toute conscience de causes, ce qui vous a vraiment fait immigrer sous les aurores boréales?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

 

The town was as misty as my mind is cloudy right now. We were a small group of people, not even ten. There were the french expats, all in possession of a Working Holiday Visa, and the « nannies » clan I was currently part of given that I haven’t made my working status official yet. After thinking of having a beer in a bar downtown, to meet some grown lumberjacks dressed with a check shirt, we finally decided to stay in the wild. And tonight, I jumped on my bike with a real pleasure.

After wandering around for a while, we were established by the Yukon River, ready to explore the surroundings in quest of deadwood to start our firecamp. After numerous efforts, fire was started up enough to roast marshmallows and heat up our bananas tuffed with chocolate. Yukon beers in hands, tonight, our small group is drinking to Yukon. Most of us don’t know each others at all, or maybe a tiny bit. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve known the majority of them by messages sent through the PVTistes* bible, the forum. The atmosphere is friendly, we share our past experiences, and of course, our love for this paradise. What is enjoyable is to be able to talk with everyone here, about everything and nothing.

In the middle of a nonsensical conversation, a weird noise reaches us from the thicket close by. Exchange of worried looks, some jokes around -and I’m the first to do so- and pretend it must be a bear. The noise is getting louder and all of a sudden, a tree starts a breathtakingly fast fall towards the ground. It lands in a crash. Flashlights in hands, we’re walking towards the noise, not quite reassured. And there, where the tree landed, a beaver was dealing with it. It didn’t even pay attention to us and kept dividing the tree in smaller parts. Then, it dragged all of it in the water, with the only strength of its jaw. Impressive, very impressive, the capacity of those little animals to cut down huge trees with its teeth. But even more impressive the strength it has to drag huge parts of trees for miles and miles.

Composure regained, we went back to our camp. After getting worried, let’s laught it up. I look up to the bright starry sky, measuring how lucky I am. I catch sight of a green glow. Mechanically, I smile. The idea that it could be a northern light is coming to my mind, but I do not say so, half certain I must be hallucinating. A few minutes later, I look up again at this beautiful starry night and the green glow is still there, but not quite at the same spot. This time, I say it out loud. Could it be a northern light ? Fourteen pair of eyes are now turned to the sky. My theory seems to be validated. We spent the next minutes checking the sky out, the green glow seems to get more intense. Waw. It is a northern light ! Excitation is at its height. For most of us, it is our first northern light. This one is not gonna last long, but long enough to fullfill us with joy.

To thank us for sharing this moment with her, Mother Nature gave us a great reward, if not a couple : Nestor, the beaver and a meeting with the pretty Aurora. This evening is a good lesson to me. Sometimes, insignificant moments -a simple meeting between a bunch of expats- can be the most magical moments of all. And this one will remain in my memory for a very long time.

However, back to my loneliness, I can’t do otherwise but think of you tonight. I wished so much I could have shared this magical moment with you. I would have loved to be amazed in front of this green glow with you by my side. I would have loved to fall asleep in your arms tonight, a smile on my face… And my heart yells at me one day, maybe. After all, you told me you would be coming to see her, Aurora. And somehow, I wish you wanted to tell me you would be coming to see me.

*PVT is the french name for WHV. PVTiste is the name given to those who have a WHV.