Much like looking at scenery, sometimes you have to change your position to see a different perspective. We did a road trip a few weeks ago and met up with our kids in Southern Alberta, where we camped along the Red Deer River for a few days, then split up to camp our way back home.
While registering at one campsite, we met a woman from the Netherlands, exchanged pleasantries and went about our way — only to keep bumping into her a few times at various sites over the next few days. Not a huge believer in coincidence, we invited her over to our campsite and chatted for a while where we learned this was her ninth trip to Canada over the past number of years. I don’t think we have met anyone quite as passionate about our country as this gal; she had even investigated emigrating here but decided to hang on as she struggled with leaving her parents back at home.
Her travels over the past years, in three- or four-week chunks, covered more of Canada than most will ever see in a lifetime — stretching from the Yukon, throughout B.C. and Alberta, and other adventures back east. Having camped with a tent in many wilderness locations, she was not afraid of but had a healthy respect for wildlife, yet was comfortable taking in sights in major cities such as Vancouver or Toronto, as well. Her next trip, when she returns in the fall, will take her to Churchill, Man., to take in the polar bear migration.
The highlight of her current trip, at least to that point, was when we all went for a walk around the lake at Police Outpost Provincial Park and she heard a bird, which was also native to the Netherlands but was extremely rare to ever see. When she spotted it and was able to take some photos and video, she was ecstatic and it was hard not to get caught up in something we probably wouldn’t have given a second thought to yet meant so much to another. For all you birders, she only knew it as a “roerdomp”, which I later looked up to find it was a bittern. I am that much smarter now.
Often we take things for granted: where we live, perhaps our health, maybe certain friendships, stuff like that. Perhaps we should shift position once in a while, change our perspective slightly or look at things from someone else’s perception, and we just might get a new appreciation or gain even more value from what we may currently take for granted. With our modern technology, it is amazing how much and how fast we can gather negative comments and opinions on pretty much anything we want — we have fibre optics, which is way quicker and more efficient than having to go to a coffee shop. While we were always very grateful of what we have in Canada, B.C. and the Creston Valley, seeing these same sights through the eyes of a person who lives in a country smaller than Nova Scotia with a population of almost 17 million, raises that level of appreciation just a bit more.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.