Last weekend, my friend Marnie and I took the bus downtown. I’m not really bus-savvy so she was directing me and teaching me in the way of public transportation. Since we were going to take a couple of different buses, she instructed me to get a transfer. So I did. And when I used the transfer, not really knowing the whole system, I handed it to the driver. He then said to me, “New to Victoria?”. I was surprised. Somehow he knew. “Let me guess, you’re from the mainland?” he asked. I said no. Because to me, when your on the island and someone talks about “the mainland” I always assume the BC interior. But I suppose Saskatchewan is considered part of the mainland. In fact, it’s probably the most ‘main’ that the land gets (perhaps in competition with Manitoba…)
Since we’ve moved to Victoria I’ve had many conversations with British Columbians about “Saskatchewan”. And I quote, because usually there’s a big smile and nod when someone from BC finds out you’re from Saskatchewan. The kind of “I-bet-your-happy-you’re-out-of-there” look. Lots of jokes. And that’s fine, I can take that, because I understand Saskatchewan and the beauty attached to her. But I want to give Saskatchewan a little credit (probably less than she deserves).
Saskatchewan isn’t the kind of place in which you find immediate aesthetic pleasure. I keep telling people that it is an acquired taste: you need to learn to appreciate it. Here in BC, everywhere I look there are all kinds of pretty things. I’m quite sure that most people agree that it’s beautiful. But in Saskatchewan, you really need to take a good contemplative look. It’s truly captivating, in it’s own unique way. And I guess that’s my whole point, Saskatchewan is unique. She’s not what you expect or probably not even what you want her to be. Her summers are blazing, her winters biting, huge winds, fantastic storms, tiny communities, an almost forgotten North, sunsets that remind you of how truly small you are, and so much more that even if I listed them it still wouldn’t do justice proper. Saskatchewan just is. She doesn’t try to be something she’s not. And she’s not going to try hard to win your love. She just continues on, being herself, like it or not.
To quote Chris Martin of Coldplay, “When you see it then you’ll understand.”
So, “Yes, Mr. Bus Driver, I’m from the mainland. And I like it just fine.”
(PS- Much love to Victoria. I like you too.)
Special thanks to TrekEarth for their photos.