Do you ever compare where you are to another place? I do it all the time; maybe because it lends appeal to where I happen to be. It makes the ordinary more exotic. For example, I love the month of June in the valley where I grew up. Every year in early summer the rolling fields are carpeted with green shoots of wheat, as if God tips a jar of paint over, letting it drip off the poplars and pool on the land before cleaning it up with July’s dry sun. “It’s just like Ireland,” I’d sigh when I was a teenager, feeling very lucky to live in place so similar to the Emerald Isle. The fact I’d never been to Ireland never dampened my enthusiasm for the comparison.
Now, years later, I still haven’t dropped the habit. When I go to our nearest beach and watch the kids tumble down sand dunes or spot them diving into the waves, I’m reminded of the coast of Maine–not that I’ve ever visited the shore there, of course. None the less, I like to remind whoever I’m with that we could be on the coast. And that despite the logistics (we’re more than 2,000 miles inland), the way we feel when we scrunch the sand between our toes would be no different if we actually were on the Eastern seaboard.
European destinations are among my favourites to bring up; any cafe with outdoor seating qualifies for a mention of France or Italy, and skiing on our local golf course conjures up visions of Norwegian fjords. Suggesting these faraway places enhances the whole experience as long as I don’t bother with the nitty-gritty details of the similes. It’s kind of like adding accessories to a plain black dress; geographical name-dropping adds flair to our outings.
This past Saturday, while checking out a trap-line, I was tempted to do it again: Hey, we could be in the Russian taiga! (Have you watched Happy People on Netflix?) But I decided not to. The snow was falling softly, a buck and several doe sailed through a field nearby, Vivian fell asleep to the hum of the snowmobile–sandwiched between her mom and dad, the big girls were yelping and shrieking in the toboggan we pulled behind us, dry spruce tinder set our bonfire ablaze, and the wind stung our faces out in the open stretches. We were definitely in Saskatchewan…
And it was right where I wanted to be.