Monday, December 29, 2008

savage beauty


The Coquihalla highway connects the rainforests of coastal British Columbia to the drier desert-like climate of the interior. It is a road where there should be no road. You look to the left and right of you and you see the magnificent Coast mountains threatening to squish you. Even in the summer, lit by the bright sun, it is terrifying to me because every few minutes you are reminded of the viciousness of nature, the hubris of humanity, by signs that say, "Do not stop, avalanche area", "Winter tires and chains beyond this point" or, even in the rest areas, "Danger, falling ice". They might as well say, "Turn back now, if you value your life".

Today, as the red truck we were in hit a patch of ice and as Jason said, "Oh fuck, I have lost control" (or something like that), the car behind us REALLY lost control and careened helplessly around the highway (I waited, somewhat calmly, oddly, for it to crash into us) before spinning off the road and into the ditch. As it turned out, they were OK, we were OK.

At Hope (oddly or aptly named, depending on the circumstances) the blizzard and icy roads turned into torrential rains and savage winds that threatened to blow the red truck off the roads.

Finally, as we approached Vancouver, the last few rays of the sun peaking out from behind the clouds, I marvelled at the unlikeliness of this city. That it exists at all is a wonder.

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