My flight to Whitehorse from Vancouver was lovely, as all such flights are since I learned, early in my residence here, to use Air North rather than Air Canada.
It’s not just the sharp contrast in service that makes the difference; Air North personnel are able to make the customers feel as though they are well-liked friends.
In all my travels I don’t believe I have ever known an airline as thoroughly excellent as this little northern company.
When I arrived in Whitehorse, I was still feeling uplifted from our reunion in Seattle; I found myself loathe to go to Watson Lake, ending the holiday.
Pete’s not home, for one thing, and there’s no one else there yet with whom I felt I could share all our adventures and fun.
I’ve told you about Sheila, my kindred spirit friend in Whitehorse; I ended up staying with her and her three dogs (her boyfriend and his three dogs were away) until the day before Pete got back to Watson Lake.
One night Sheila told me about her venture into the world of alternative medicine, citing the stories of near miraculous restorations of health experienced by people she knew personally and finishing with her own “healing journey.”
It was really interesting; one cannot avoid knowing something about the existence of alternative medicine, especially in the last several years when it’s become trendy, but this was in-depth stuff and I found it fascinating.
She suggested I accompany her for a “healing session” with a Reiki master.
Never having met such a master, or gone to anything called a healing session, I needed no encouragement.
It started out the way I’d been led to expect from various media reports: sitting in a circle, calm atmosphere, New Age music, incense, and the earnestness of the people were no surprise. But the master was impressive.
The talk got me interested, and I booked an appointment for a Reiki treatment the following morning.
It took place in a pale bare room with not much in it beyond the massage table and shelves for a CD player emitting soothing sounds, and some baskets of essential oils.
I was encouraged to choose an oil, taking the time to uncap and smell such exotics as ylang ylang, clary sage and boisivir.
I chose lavender.
The treatment involved lying on the table (fully clothed) with a warm pad on my abdomen and a blanket over my legs while the therapist gently held or pressed various parts of my body.
At some point, I was lying on my stomach with the warm pad on the small of my back and my face held in a sort of doughnut attached to the end of the table.
Everything was done in a manner evoking restfulness. The room was the right temperature, the table the right size, and the music non-intrusive. The therapist’s touch felt light, but sometimes when she moved her hands from a place, it felt released, somehow, as though the pressure had been much more than perceived.
I found the treatment … comforting; my body felt as though it had been thoroughly understood, and reassured.
When I left, I found myself moving with more confidence than I have had since the accident.
I felt great; relaxed, yet tingling with a sensation like my veins had something fizzy running through them.
It sounds as though it was weird, but it felt good.
I got the name of a woman in Watson Lake who does Reiki and I intend going for more treatments.
I haven’t felt that level of physical well-being in a long time; I didn’t know it was possible, having contented myself with feeling mostly OK, and grateful for that.
One of the events in town while I was away was the participation in the 30-hour famine.
This cause has become an international youth movement; one of the elementary school teachers was the driving force behind getting this community involved — no mean feat in a town that for all its ills, does not have a population that suffers starvation.
It’s also a town that doesn’t appear to be much interested in any issues or causes that aren’t local, really local; even territorial issues don’t rate much attention though there was, I hear, much petition-signing and vocal protests when the Yukon licence plate logo of a gold panner was threatened.
That was many years ago; maybe Watson Lakers don’t come out for a cause very often, like those insects that hibernate for 10-year cycles.
I guess starving children just don’t cause outrage in the hearts and minds of most villagers — not like the prospect of a change in the Yukon licence plate.
As part of the activities surrounding an anti-hunger event, including a parade involving the fire department and the RCMP, this woman also caused to be built crude wooden crosses, representing the 35,000 children who die every day from hunger.
She’d duly applied to the town office for permission to erect the crosses in the medians in front of the grocery store and the town office, about two blocks.
Permission granted, the crosses went up, along with two good-sized notices describing what they were all about.
I’d seen the display on my way out of town the day I left for Seattle and it made a powerful statement.
There were 700 of them, I found out later, and they formed a veritable thicket of flimsy crosses; their very number was a slap-upside the-head reminder that hunger is a huge problem on this Earth.
I have heard, since I came back, that there were protests from some townspeople about the crosses; they were ugly, what were they doing there, etc. etc. (probably from that same brave band that protested the change in the licence plate).
Apparently the explanatory posters were unnoticed, or simply not read, and it seems knowledge of the worldwide impact of the 30-hour famine is lost in Watson Lake.
The intrepid volunteer was heartsick at this response, and was only rescued from having to remove all the crosses by some last-minute intervention on the part of a citizen who was supportive.
I have yet to hear if the event itself lived up to the expectations of more people attending than the 35 last year, or the 26 the year before.
Those numbers puzzle me, given something like the Halloween bonfire sees a huge turnout, and I would hazard a guess the local hockey games do better than 35 people.
I know for a fact a mining company presentation does much better.
Maybe this, too, is only typical of a small northern town?
Spring made no appreciable advances during my absence; there are still snow banks everywhere, though the main roads are dry.
The town looks at its worst in late fall and early spring with no leaves or snow to cover up the messy industrial lots and the even messier yards around too many of the residences.
The few that make an effort with their homes are standouts: neat fences and painstakingly planted and maintained landscaping and gardens.
The government buildings and the downtown businesses, too, plant lots of flowers and set out tubs and boxes of more flowers.
If the industrial sites and most of the residential sites could be persuaded to follow suit, Watson Lake could possibly achieve some charm.
The first two days home I didn’t do much but talk about you and me in Seattle, citing in detail the horse show, Lari’s exhibit, the great food we ate, the music, Pike Market, Chiluly’s studio, etc. etc.
The visit to Hendrix’s grave, however, was less easy to describe, and the large bruise on my leg is a mystery. Did you have any bruises?
Lari is pretty upset about his hair, but according to the photos, it was the tall guy with the dachshund who had the scissors.
Well, we all know there are risks when paying homage involves tequila.
Here in southeast Yukon, the days grow longer and the sun grows warmer and I grow back into my home and routine.
It’s good to be working again; I think the holiday gave a much-needed fresh perspective.
Pete is helping me plan a garden; me dreaming of salads and Pete of potatoes and beans.
Talk to me soon, won’t you? I am suffering a little from post-holiday blues, as you may have noticed.
Heather Bennett is a writer who lives in Watson Lake.