The road is as steep and lovely as I’ve ever seen with lush mountain passes, little wooden bridges and lakes nestled in gorges that remind me of Across the Bay.
We were positively carsick between schoolwork and loopy roads by the time we pulled over at Nairn Falls, just outside Whistler. An hour’s hike to a green river freshed us—spraying and boiling through potholes, beneath logjams and rocky ledges. It’s a drag that all the BC parks are closed, so we’re spring for spendy private campgrounds lately. But it’s worth buying another day in Whistler. 11:46; we’ve plowed through school. Not surprisingly, language arts followed by world history is his how he prefers to start his day. Then science, spelling and math. Jake sent this poem to his favorite teacher, Kiki, this morning:
Where I'm From
By Jake F Marquardt
I am from busted bike chains,
from snow covered skis.
I am from ice cream in 20 degrees,
from coco next to the crackling fire.
I am from drawings of dragons
roaring at danger.
I am from theater reliving the past
from broken words to foolish acts,
from greek gods with drama unfolding.
I am the trickster, the talk a lot,
from leave me alone to wanna hang out.
I am from rosy radishes in the black dirt,
from Prussia and Portuguese to AK grown.
I am from ink encrusted letters bearing the past,
from art to the out doors.
I am form politics to parties.
I am from history-
from across the sea-
from past perils to the family seed.
Indeed, Whistler provided a much-needed break in the routine of driving and schooling in swerves. A rare pleasure to pedal into to “The Village” on a two-lane bike trail (I admit, it’s the first I’ve seen, I mean with yellow dividing lines). Although Jake asked me to please change my natty tie-died “hippie shirt” (and I refused) I still felt quite posh biking to Whistler on a Wednesday afternoon. Michael may not be feeling quite so smart.
“Why do you have the lamest gear, ever, Mike?!” Jake cries. “I mean, look at that helmet. Its SO lame. What did you pay for it anyway? And that bike! WHY Do you have to have a girlie basket like that?!”
Michael does not respond. About 1.5 km passed several large hairstyles and daddies pushing strollers we approached Whistler Village. I have seen this place before with Robin, heaped with snow and polypro bunnies. It was delightful to feel it wrapped in autumn splendor, clearance sales and quietude. Jake plead for pizza, and since it was cheap and filling we agreed. $12.99 and 3 toppings later, we sat dazed amidst the most groovy childhood park I can imagine aside from the very best which I’ve already experienced. In fact, it’s a toss up between the very large spruce that dangled into McNeil Canyon from the eastern corner of my childhood home (which provided a most excellent obstacle course) and Alexandra Giacometti’s (yes, the daughter of The Giacometti) macramé junglegym in Bolinas in 1974. Interesting to see how hippie ingenuity defines style in the end. Here we have several Cedar and Pine gnome homes constructed purely of shakes and stumps and the most cosmic joinery you can imagine, animated with roots and quirky eaves, spitting distance from Olympic rings. So we climbed in there too and considered the unique privilege of visiting an actual Olympic village. We dutifully read the Canadian Olympic award winners and debated the Alaskan ones. I should say, Mike and Jake did. This is where I become fly-on-wall and drift off amidst their athletic gymnastifications which range from Peekaboo Street to Jermichael Findlay. I am in left field... No, I’m in the Body Shop sniffing variations of self-seasoning. Then we all head into IGA for some very expensive groceries.
“See this basket, Jake?” says Mike with a grin. “See this beer and this tasty apple juice it carries? That’s why MY bike is the coolest. Its golden, Little Big Man. So just chill out.”
We returned to “camp” about 4:30. Da Boyz, still in Mike and Jake mode, sniffed out a baseball field and left me to my first hour of absolute independence this epoch. I daresay, my yoga mat interposed on any other possibilities.
The game of Risk sits half-finished in the dark. Yoga mats melt into the grass. Bikes are blissfully unlocked. As I relish the joys of unlimited hot water for dishes, Mike and Jake circle the camper in the blue halo of a head lamp. Jake is wielding a kitchen knife or baseball bat, acting out Mike’s script for a family road trip gone bad. Jake is overjoyed.
“Its so great Mom. But why? I prefer not to say. Next question?”
Time to tuck into the buggy, to travel to Corfu with young Gerry Durrell et all.
My Family and Other Animals beckons.