Monday, December 10, 2007

Life Stripped Back to the Essentials

[Lorraine says] Today I got back from my trip to Vancouver, and I'm so happy to be "home."

I'm glad to see John (of course), but I'm also really glad to be back to the quieter rhythms of Iqaluit, and yes, even glad to be back in those fierce howling arctic winds happening right now. No flashing billboards. No video advertisements in bathroom stalls in restaurants. No 40 foot neon signs.

Going to downtown Vancouver, directly from Iqaluit, was a sensory shock, to put it mildly. To exacerbate the situation, my meetings were at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, a five star downtown hotel with stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany's in the lobby, and long queues of BMW's and Lexuses waiting for the parking valets. The pace and the dripping, ostentatious displays of wealth, and the weird high-end luxury vibe (along with the sensation of being surrounded by a million downtown department stores) was jarring. (OK, it was a little fun and fascinating, like when I realized the hotel had "professional" golden lab retrievers, complete with little Fairmont jackets, waiting at the concierge desk in case you wanted to walk a dog. And I loved spending an afternoon drifting around the market stalls at Granville Island with my friend Elizabeth. And not only could I get a latte, but the lattes were excellent plus the barristas knew how to pour them so that the espresso made patterns like snowmen or trees in the milk froth. Cool.). But I missed the "stripped back" simplicity of life of Iqaluit.

It made me realize that what has always attracted me to the north (and to deserts, for instance) is the stark, basic simplicity that makes you see forms and colour at their most basic and most beautiful. And that, in turn, liberates me psychologically to drill down to focussing on what really matters to me. (Maybe that's my prairie roots showing through ....)

I'm glad to be home.

1 comment:

Alysen said...

The dog walking thing is totally ridiculous!! But I have to admit, I'd probably be tempted to take one for a walk...