News & Updates
The Four Seasons: Heroes, Rogues and Warriors
By Carly Vandergriendt
We tell ourselves that we will never do it again, then scurry back to the cities, like rabbits scurrying back to their burrows. Back to bikes, apartments, computers. For a few weeks we stay drunk on summer, gasping for the last breath of it like drowning swimmers. We feast on the glories of our former lives, the ones we left behind. We make love in beds and sleep until late in the afternoon, then rise in the evening to burn off our nights in revelries that never last past Labour Day.
Fall is a rumor that was whispered to us when we first returned. By the time it actually rolls into town, the newness, the raw intrigue in being our old selves has been lifted away on the wind, dead as the leaves. We lose our appetites, our tans fade, and we fall out of love. We start to shiver to the rhythms of our past lives, tending bars or heading south or frequenting libraries. We settle in like silt at the bottom of a lake. Remembering the bush life, the tents and trucks and trees, becomes like trying to remember a foggy dream.
We wait out the winters. We are a people perpetually unsatisfied, always holding out for the next: cheque, party, lover, episode, season, trip. Our canvases are marked with tales of planting, which we recount at dinner parties because they are still the best stories we have. Enthralled strangers ask us what it is really like and we cannot resist cultivating the myth for them. We bask in portraying ourselves as heroes, rogues, and warriors, as though we're marked in some way. And maybe we are. There is one thing that we do well: imagining something better over the next horizon.
If there is such a thing as spring, we never know it. We itch with the fever, passing April like kids who cannot sleep on Christmas Eve. When the time comes, we busy ourselves uncovering sleeping bags, moldy dry packs, and shovels still dormant in the very places where we discarded them in August. We buy boots, slide our fingers into fresh gloves, and purchase tickets, rustling our feathers like birds readying for flight. The sense of opportunity is still there when we arrive in camp, in the orientation speeches, the doe-eyed greeners, and the crew lists. Can we ever recapture the excitement of those first days and nights, before our watches sound at six on a frosty morning in May? In the land we swear, “What the hell am I doing back here?” as we lift our shovels to pierce our promised land.