Swans in the spring, robins in summer, geese in the fall and ravens in winter – these are some of our favourite Yukon things.
Grayling a’leap in the river, spiraling upward through waters as clear as the air, taking your Royal Coachman to become an evening feast. Accompanied by a chorus of crackling wood, snow-white grayling sizzling in bacon fat, wood smoke drifting lazily into the silence of the midnight sun – where only a loon’s call, or a wolf’s howl is allowed for Yukon friends sharing the night know talk would break the spell. How could sharing the spell and such a summer night not become a favourite thing?
Come the time brother Ross called the “white time;” memory gives them back when we tell the stories, embellished, just like our weather, raven, moose, berry and bear memories, as we linger in our winter solitude.
Friends who share the spell are those who do “little things,” you know, a call to ask what luck you had in finding the thingamajig you were searching for while lost in the big-box store, or the faraway friend calling to wish you a merry one, checking how-ya-doin’, reminding you talking’s better than a card or an e-mail these days, eh?
Shucks, even those who tell you where to go says you’re part of their thoughts, and that’s surely a favourite place to be … well, at least it is to me. Like George, I don’t think he was talking about us when he observed, “Do you remember, it was once a northern thing, the people who were going were the people you wish were coming, and the people coming were the people you wished were going.”
Now we say that about stores!
Friends and their ideas are favourites all year, but become treasures, hopefully not forgotten treasures, this time of year.
And is there any among us who wouldn’t include the explanations of the imaginative minds of children as treasures among our favourite things?
They often explain exotic matters, such as six-year-old, straight to the point, Jack, telling us, “Angels don’t eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows.” Or philosophical nine-year-old Ashley, describing them thus: “My angel is my grandmother who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me when she was still down here on Earth.” Whereas five-year-old Gregory says, a tad sadly, “I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Herald.”
Children know angels and they occasionally are, suggests John Bowring, who tends to agree with Ashley, telling us, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” We would also agree with Anonymous too: “Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts.” Between those two views lies more versions and variety than stars in the sky.
‘Tis interesting, is it not, that many civilizations have disappeared beneath the sands, but the foundation of these civilization, families, remain as vibrant, as plentiful and as exciting as ever, and is why family is our very favourite thing. The reason may be, as Marquise de Sevigne succinctly puts it, “We cannot destroy kindred; our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break.”
Family, at least in Canada’s geography seems to be always saying goodbye, but there’s consolation in the thought that we never leave someone behind, we take part of them with us and maybe leave a bit of you with them.
Oh, and should you wonder why the little angels don’t stay angels, nine-year-old Matthew’s analysis might help. “It’s not easy to become an angel. First you die, then you go to Heaven, and then there’s still the flight training to go through and then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.” His friend Antonio wrapped that up telling us, “All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn’t go for it.”
A tip of the hat to children, to angels to families and friends the world over and, despite our current bad press, all our children and all our families can rest easy, and be assured Canada is still the best place in the world to live, bar none!