Whistler Wrap-up

Of course, Whistler hasn’t always belonged to adrenaline junkies and shopaholics…before the Starbucks and the après-ski happy hours arrived, this land was the domain of two First Nations tribes: the Squamish and the Lilwat. A small but striking museum and cultural center has been erected in Whistler to showcase their customs, artwork, and traditions, as well as to preserve their heritage and languages. I joined a guided tour lead by a young woman who is a member of the Lilwat Nation who told us about the blanket weaving, canoe making, and totem pole carving traditions of her people. We also got to go inside replicas of a Lilwat Pit House and a Squamish Long House…they were both made of cedar and smelled sooooo good! I’m definitely going to have to work a cedar closet into my condo remodel somehow. She also taught us how to make a short length of woven “rope” from the inner bark of a cedar tree. Mine didn’t turn out quite long enough to wear as a bracelet, so I’m thinking it will be a new key fob when I get back to stateside.
I should preface this next bit by saying that I was seriously bruised and battered from my fall during my hike yesterday, and every muscle from my ears down was sore. So other than my cultural adventure, I only had the stamina to explore the shopping culture in Whistler village. Luckily, my credit cards didn’t get too much of a workout…guess they were fatigued as well.

The next day, I awoke feeling better, though sitting was still a little uncomfortable on my beat-up tailbone. So, I decided to canoe The River of Golden Dreams. It was a lot of fun! I’ve been canoeing before, but didn’t feel comfortable trying to navigate a river on my own. So, I signed up for a tour with a guide and a family of four…I was fortunate to be assigned the front seat in the guide’s canoe, so it was a relaxing and entertaining paddle. The family didn’t fare as well…novice canoeists, they had a little trouble steering and often wound up in the brush lining the river. The guide whispered that the alternate name of the river was “The River of Broken Marriages!” After listening to them trying to steer that canoe without swearing in front of their kids, I can see why! For me, though, it was all good fun and it was nice being out ON the water and not IN the water for a change!

And that, unfortunately, brings my time of healing, reflection, and solitude to an end. As I type this, I am waiting for my friend Katherine to arrive in Vancouver. She will be helping me transition back to the civilized world of Vancouver and Victoria before I have to head back to the Chicago area to face the music…at least I hope there will be music again at some point in my life. This time in BC hasn’t only been outdoor adventure and relaxation…I’ve done a lot of soul-searching here. Trying to escape the loneliness and heartbreak hasn’t worked. Trying to mask the pain with anger hasn’t helped. Trying to outrun, out-canoe, out-hike, or out-swim the fear of what my life will look like when I get back to Oak Park has only been a temporary fix. So, as I say “adieu” to Whistler, I say truly “à Dieu” (come on French-speakers, you can do it J) and do the only thing I can do: surrender.

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