There’s something in the water

👤Joanne Campbell 🕔Jun 01, 2012

Living here is exhausting. And that’s a good thing! I find that there is no such thing as a quiet weekend or a take-it-easy week—and it’s not just me! Most of the people I know are so busy this time of year it can be a challenge to pin them down for the next event. Why is life so darn full?

It must be something in the water.

As for me, between getting in shape for kayak season, garage-sale-ing, and keeping up with Enbridge, I somehow find time for everything else—like jogging my kids’ memories (remember to flush), running a magazine (remember to breathe), and skipping chores (don’t forget the dishes are still soaking).

In my previous lives, exercise was done to look better; shopping involved fluorescent sunshine at maxi-malls; politics was boring and protests were scary. It was a pretty dry way to live.

Life here is decidedly juicy, if you know how to squeeze it.

Be quicker with a dicker to wring out some mighty fine deals. Residents of Telkwa’s Woodlands subdivision go garage-sale gung-ho, usually mid-spring. It’s like Halloween, but with bargains instead of candy; instead of a costume, bring small bills and change. It doesn’t happen every year, probably because it takes a while for the stuff in people’s houses to age enough to become ‘yard saleable,’ but it makes the event even more welcome when it does happen.

This year, I scored an Arc’teryx backpack (for those hikes I plan to take when I get my knee fixed), a berry squisher (for those huckleberries I expect to fight the black bears for), and a stride ’n’ glide exercise contraption (to use while watching nature shows on TV). And all for only a couple of 20s and a couple of hours spent trolling the neighbourhood.

Sweat is wet. Right now I am in full-on kayaking-preparedness mode. I asked my brother, the kinesiology student, to design an exercise program that would make me strong enough to lift my 55-pound kayak onto the roof of my car, have the endurance to paddle it for three days non-stop, and chase the bears from the prime beach-camping spots. I must have offended him as a child: his weekly fitness prescription includes six hours walking, two-three hours yoga, three-four hours rowing or cycling, plus two-three hours of weightlifting/cardio circuit-training. If I follow his advice, by the time you read this I’ll be able to juggle two kayaks while towing the RAV 4 with my teeth. I might even have developed a discernible gastrocnemius muscle.

For the walking portion of this program, I power up the Telkwa High Road, a five-kilometre loop from my house to the mailbox and back. I share my walks with bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, eagles, ospreys, hawks, jays, woodpeckers, ducks, loons, plus the ubiquitous robins/crows/ravens, as well as moose, deer, foxes, horses, cats, dogs, bears, and fellow walkers I swear I didn’t know were my neighbours. I walk past a lake, fields, marshes, aspen forests, horse-and-cattle pasture, a bakery(!), a trailer court, a float-plane base, a provincial park, a cemetery, and assorted lake-front properties including, perhaps, Dick Cheney’s. (Well, rumour has it that ex-US vice-president Dick Cheney has property on the Telkwa High Road, and it could be on my end. I heard this rumour at the Enbridge Joint Review Panel hearings here in Smithers.)

Politics and protests: dive in, the water’s fine Funny, the things you hear at an Enbridge hearing. Funny—but mostly inspiring, heartbreaking, touching, stirring, infuriating, loving. The presenters are speaking to us in the peanut gallery as well as to the Joint Review Panel members, now that the Prime Minister has said he will override the panel’s decision if he feels like it. It’s become a show of solidarity, a powerful exercise in community building—strengthening the resolve of those who support our waters running free and clear for many generations to come.

Nowadays, I pay closer attention to politics than ever before. I enjoy shopping with my neighbours and try not to buy new when good used will do. And I try to minimize my energy consumption whenever possible, replacing non-renewable sources with super raw-muscle power!!! (still working on that).

It’s not easy, and it’s not always possible. I consider it a sweaty exercise in progress.