visitors that were not like fish

Dear Uma: We watched the movie 2012 the other night; I liked it for all the same reasons Jason liked it and you didn't. The question that occurred to me when the movie was over was why anyone felt it was important to save any politicians.

Dear Uma:

We watched the movie 2012 the other night; I liked it for all the same reasons Jason liked it and you didn’t. The question that occurred to me when the movie was over was why anyone felt it was important to save any politicians. They can’t do anything except manage the masses, and clearly there wasn’t going to be any masses, at least for a very long time. Everyone other than the erstwhile leaders was vastly wealthy, which led to a few regular people being allowed on the ark at the last possible moment when one of the paid passengers realized there would not be any service people in the brave new world.

What use of being saved from annihilation if there was to be no one to clean the pool, pick up your socks, or mind the kids?

The ensuing discussion when the last image had faded was lively; sometimes heated and mostly hilarious. It was the last evening with Patrice and Gordon; they left this morning and I am feeling bereft. There is a dearth of good company for me here in this town where the populace seems to be in no hurry to climb the evolutionary scale. I am OK most of the time, but when I get to have some time with friends I realize how I miss the ease and intimacy of my close friendships, and how geographically far away they are from me. Cee is great, and she is a good companion, but I still feel I must edit my conversation so as not to startle, and there are lot of things that fascinate me and are of no interest to her.

When the guys arrived we spent a couple of days in Whitehorse doing tourist stuff and then did a tour of some of the smaller communities before coming back to Watson Lake. The vitality, the friendliness of Whitehorse was repeated wherever we went; it was altogether charming, and a lot of fun.

The difference here was marked; I have long thought it was so, but Patrice and Gordon felt it, too. They loved the land, and they enjoyed the individuals I shared them with, but the feeling of the community is quite removed from what we’d experienced elsewhere in the territory.

I have been puzzling about it, and I am thinking it might be that there is no discernible sense of a community; there are many wonderful people doing good things, but they seem to operate in their own spheres, without any cohesion with each other or the town as a whole. It’s not exactly unpleasant or unendurable or anything dramatic; it’s more of a sense of something missing.

Patrice did most of the cooking – lucky us – and made me aware of how removed we are from the source when it comes to the food here. He buys everything from markets or directly from farms whereas here everything comes from a long ways away, and the necessary packaging for the journey makes it even more difficult to imagine its origins. There are no cows here, or pigs, to remind us of the animals that existed before they became neat pieces of ‘meat’ wrapped in cellophane and resting on a Styrofoam tray. Milk comes in plastic jugs or waxed cartons, and the butter in foil-covered bricks without even a picture to tell us from whence it came.

He was impressed with the wild meat we were able to provide; the bison in particular, with the caribou a close second. And he was full of approval and enthusiasm for my modest vegetable patch.

I reminded him on one occasion that he wasn’t likely to be able to tell us about the gin we drank, where it came from and how, but of course he could, and did.

They both loved the Bean North coffee; we visited the little cafe outside of Whitehorse where the beans are roasted and they bought some to take home.

Before they arrived, I admit I was feeling some trepidation about their recent avowed commitment to the United Church. It was an enormous surprise to hear they’d become Christians in the first place; a more unlikely pair is hard to imagine, but it seems they are doing god the way they do everything: with utter integrity and grace.

There was none of the talk. (There is a word for the talk and I can never remember it except that it sounds very like the word for an artificial limb.) Anyway, whatever it is doing for them, it has not made them any less insofar they are the best possible company.

Our mutual friends, Gayle and Max, have decided not to have any children. They telephoned with the news while the fellows were visiting, and afterwards we agreed they have become GINKS.

GINKS is the latest term to describe a couple’s life decision re: kids. It stands for Green Inclinations No Kids – isn’t that precious? These folks are great proponents of birth control of any sort, regardless of possible environmental costs, saying that any form of BC is more green than adding another person to the planet. There is a strange sort of logic at work here, though I don’t see why that should leave out adoption, which it apparently does. One cannot help but be supportive of those who are making a choice about something as important as that of creating life. I have seen too many young women who appear to be saddled rather than blessed by motherhood, and that cannot bode well for their offspring.

The guys praised my appearance, telling me the North clearly agrees with me insofar as my skin looks good. OK, they were silent on the subject of my wardrobe, but they did say I looked youthful considering my age. I told them I bathe in asses’ milk, a statement which led immediately to the possible benefits of such a treatment. Yawn. It’s the only time they lose me; when they embark on debates about creams and ointments, and aging.

Lots of talk about climate change and how and what to do. Patrice is all about the climate crisis on the end of our forks, telling us how huge an impact our eating habits could have if we would only begin to purchase less prepared foods, and eschew commercially-grown meats. He told us we each eat 21,000 animals in our one lifetime. “Peace begins on our plates,” he said, and we all intoned the phrase with him as we raised our glasses to peace. We felt compelled to stop him however, when he began the descriptions of the ghastly conditions of the animals’ lives, and their subsequent deaths, when they are raised as an industry, and even Gordon confessed he has not and will never read Patrice’s best argument for his stance, a book called Eternal Treblinka.

Imagine, Uma, someone has written a book likening the treatment of animals to the Holocaust. Gordon said he was going to try to read it but that the table of contents was a catalogue of atrocities and he simply had not the stomach for it, so to speak.

Patrice did give us a list of meat substitutes:

Not dogs

Chicken pretenders


Phony baloney

Loved the names, but none of sounded remotely appealing. I told him so, but then in a gesture of respect for his belief, I promised from now on I will eat only the meat of cows that have dropped dead of joy. With that, and another martini, he declared himself content.

So now the house is empty; Pete will go to the mine after driving the guys to Whitehorse, and after wandering around for a time, wondering what I was going to do with myself in all this sudden solitude, I realized I can use a bit of hush.