canada eh?

Delighted to be in Canada, i'm trying to figure out why. What could top the Grand Teatons (that's french for great teatons) resting perky and snowcovered on the grassy plateau of Jackson Wyoming? -more striking than the Badlands? - more worth exploring than Lewis' and cCark's trail, more jaundice than Yellowstone, more faithful than, ok this is getting old. The landscapes and variety of terrain in the west really can't be beat, but the sameness of gas stations and stripmalls that stand in for civilization in the vastness of the usa really doesn't improve on what the wind and weather have worked on this great geography. Bute Montana, a notable exception. Rich from mining and grand in its aspiration to rival European architectural grandeur, ran out of money quickly enough to lack in funds to tear them back down. Now enough time has passed and many are being lovingly restored. A town that on a brief visit suggests that it offers the right combination of spectacular building substance and low enough property values, a critical mass of conservation minded people, all this surrounded by snowcapped peaks... but mercilessly we drove on.

Though I'm still traveling with
my parents i've managed to get away for a day to explore Victoria,
BC on my own. i had a moment looking around at all the happy
Canadians pushing baby strollers, holding hands zipping by in gangs
on their bicycles, when i suddenly felt a preview of the great public solitude
i'll soon be wandering through. i sat down in a great vegetarian
restaurant, light and airy, quiet... so i listened to the babbling
of my mind for a bit. i'm not sure whether to call it peaceful, but
quite motivating to get back out there to paint. Here in Victoria
i've finally gotten to work. The last six days i've made seven
watercolors and a couple of drawings. Temporarily reassured that i can still
paint, and affirmed that i feel better when i do it i promise myself
not to let things get in my way any longer. The long hours of
driving and the three thousand miles increasingly scenic vistas of
the western states begged their due in paint, but are with me only
in memory and digital snapshots. i suppose i should be glad that
pushing the button on my newfangled device in no way approaches the
satisfying absorption of painting.

The harbour crowded with tourists and those catering to them is
nonetheless beautiful. Boats, sails at attention, reflections
constant in their motion activating and softening the scene. i'be
been trying to put my finger on what about Canada is different from
the states. The land is similarly majestic, sure there are a few
more old buildings that escaped being buldozed, but all the familiar
chainstores, stripmalls etc are also to be found. Best i can
figure it, the people aren't so damned paranoid. People walk around
ride bikes, unashamed to lack a motor,even late at night,
guys in suits sit on the ground at bus stops.
there is a palpable sense of ease and trust in the air.
Nothing extaordinary, just about what the states would feel like if
we didn't have a government bent on world domination, the media environment
and educational system to sell the idea. Am i just projecting? One thing
i can say with certainty: i have not seen one extraordinarily fat canadian.
They all seem trim and healthy, really! oh, and when given an occasion
many call americans loud, fat and ignorant, in as polite a way as possible that is.

i like it here, in the summer anyhow, though i miss familiar faces, be well, mh


Ps: for anyone with aspirations to becoming a mossgardener bc is the place.
Thick plush, moss of countless varieties cling to any rock or tree that stays put
long enough, so got to keep on moving...