For the past several months, I’ve been working on my new fiction novel set in the Depression Era of rural British Columbia. Originally, I had planned to situate the book in the Laurentian Plateau and Hudson Bay Lowlands of my ancestral roots, which would’ve been a wonderful foray into my heritage. However, I decided on the backcountry areas of my young adulthood –the rich and colorful lands of British Columbia. It is close to where I live and therefore, easier to access museums, archives, libraries, and documentation of the geological and genealogical area central to my book’s theme.
The wonderful days of summer with lots of light and warm weather seemed like the perfect time to cross the border into British Columbia and begin a tour of historic sites, galleries, state and national parks. Feel, taste, and smell the lush rainforest of the coast. Spend hours in national museums, taking notes, trying to understand what it must have been like in the 1930s. Doing a study on the First Nation peoples of British Columbia, what they had to endure, give up, and change.
My husband and I planned the route. Made reservations. Two days in one place to explore. Three days in another. A day here. A day there. It all sounded great. When we left, I was so excited about the information I might gain: answers to my questions, insight into indigenous cultures, and being able to observe artifacts.
When we got to our first destination and were waiting in line to get our tickets to a national museum, I overheard one of the curators. “Yeah, the indigenous and human showings are closed.”
What? Those were the exact displays and presentations I needed. As soon as I got to the ticket counter I blurted out, “Are all the First Nation exhibitions shut down?” before even asking about how much the tickets were.
“Yes, as well as all the human history.” The attendant smiled brightly. “But the dinosaur exhibit is spectacular. You’ll love it.”
I glumly took in the dinosaur display that came from South Dakota. Oh, well. Maybe we’ll leave early and head to our next spot –several days in the rainforest and visiting local notable sites. I can spend extra time exploring there. I felt a lightness in my limbs.
We stopped by an information booth on our way back to the hotel to inquire about road conditions, thinking there might be some construction on a few of the secondary roads we intended to take.
The worker behind her desk and N-95 mask stated. “Oh. Sorry. Those roads are closed due to wildfires. They won’t be open for at least a week.”
I stood there for a few moments trying to take in that all our best-made plans were toast. Nothing was working out.
Instead of enjoying a night out, we spent the time canceling most of our reservations and left the next day. Even our two-day drive home had a few diversions.
I realize that lessons often come dressed as detours and roadblocks and I am not sure what lessons I learned from this failed trip except to keep going even when the odds are not in my favor.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Loa Tzu
Enjoy the passage of time. (Even when there are roadblocks.)
© 2023. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved