Last week was about disappearing, so to balance that out, it’s time to reappear. Our break is about over, and we’ve had a very pleasant summer. I wrote last week about the temporary need to check out, suspend membership of the human race, and it did reflect how I felt at the time of writing. However, having had the good fortune to be able to sit, read, write and reflect with few disturbances the past week, I thought that this week I’d share one or two of the great people we’ve met on our recent travels. They were previously unknown to us, but each interaction affirmed that people are, by and large, pretty decent – it seems that when we escape group or mob mentality, humans get it right…
Where to start? How about Daryl, the tree surgeon we met a few weeks ago at Green Point campground on Vancouver Island? When we arrived at our designated spot, a large silver pick up full of chainsaws, ladders, ropes and climbing equipment was blocking the entrance. Daryl came over and introduced himself, explaining that he and his work partner were spotting trees, ensuring that those with weak roots, rotten cores, or loose branches weren’t about to come tumbling down on an unsuspecting camper:
“Don’t worry, we’re talking about in the next couple years. That said, don’t pitch your tent there, don’t tie a tarp on this one, or that one, and maybe not that one either!”
Looking around, we could see Daryl had been busy, with little blobs of red dye on trees that were going to require action. It was good to know he was out there keeping things safe. We stood and chatted for a while. Daryl loved his work, and he loved living on Vancouver Island.
“I hardly ever leave the island – why would I? My wife and I like to go kayaking and camping most weekends, and it’s all within a couple of hours of our home. It’s all here!”
Indeed it is. Daryl was knowledgeable, friendly, and not too busy to stop and say hi and talk about what he was doing. He had a good sense of humour, too. As he was leaving:
“You know how I said these trees were okay for two years or more? Well, if it gets windy, that’ll change. You might want to move your tent. Or not. It should be alright. Sleep well!”
When we got to Little Bear last week, we’d about unpacked our kit, and were just wondering if it was too early for a cold one when we heard voices drifting down from further up the mountain. People? At “our” cabin and on “our” mountain? Oh no – we were meant to be disappearing…
A young boy, about twelve or so, and his grandparents hiked into view. They waved “hi” and apologized for disturbing us. They seemed surprised the cabin was occupied. It turned out the grandfather hadn’t been up this way for more than a decade, and had wanted to show his grandson and wife the cabin, and the tremendous view across the valley. They pointed out distant mountains they’d hiked with their grandson earlier in the summer. The couple had first come to Bozeman from Minnesota in the 1960s, to work at the university:
“And we never left. We love it here, working and now retired. This area is special. Can we show our grandson the inside of your cabin?”
Well of course. The boy was completely taken with the cabin, eyes and face lit up with excitement. He was still young enough not to be too cool about old stuff. It was clear he hero-worshipped his grandparents, hanging on their every word. When we told them where we’d booked the cabin and the modest cost, the grandson looked absolutely thrilled when his grandfather suggested he might come up sometime:
“When you’re a little older, with your own friends, for a few nights?”
It was late in the afternoon, and they had to get back to their vehicle and head down to Bozeman. Waving farewell, they disappeared from view, but we heard what they were saying:
“Isn’t it great that old cabin is being used? What a place! We gotta come back sometime!”
Isn’t it great that there are plenty of friendly folks out and about? It’s easy to be suspicious, or wary, particularly when you are relatively far from home. It’s easy to generalize (that’s why I do it!) about how humanity is going to hell in a hand basket, especially if you take all the bad news stories as the only stories out there. But that’s not always true – it’s just that the good stories don’t always get heard or the same air time. Sometimes, having a little time out to reflect can help me remember that.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!