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natural beauty

I come to you today from sunny BC -- the beginning of a ten day tour of the Kootenays, Vancouver and Sunshine Coast, which makes me seem much more important than if I had said I am driving around the southern part of the province, stopping periodically to talk.

When Stephen Leacock was interviewed on tour, he often got asked what he thought of the local women. (Ah, simple old-fashioned sexism, where have you gone?) I mostly get interviewed by kids, either for projects or school newspapers, and they don't care what I think of women. They're more interested in what it's like being a writer. It's lovely, I tell them. (Might as well get them used to being lied to by the interviewee.) Interestingly, Lovely was how Leacock always described the local women.

Back to my tour now. Here's an important word of warning. If you are planning to drive through the Kootenays, do not bring a camera. I can't tell you how many times I thanked my stars yesterday that I am not a photog. Driving from Castlegar Airport to Grand Forks, you head down and down and down, and then up and up and up, and every hairpin bend reveals a new vista of woods and lakes and trees with majestic mountain borders. The snow gleams high up, the streams glisten nearby, and the deer lift their heads to stare. It's treacherous. To do the trip justice you'd want to stop every few metres to take another picture. Think of the danger to traffic. If I had brought a camera I'd either still be driving, or I'd be dead at the side of the road, another scenery-related fatality (SRFs they call them here). As a billboard back in the 80s, that Brooke Shields picture you were just staring at caused a lot of traffic tie-ups. (Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.) Well, my drive yesterday was mother nature's version of a Calvin Klein ad.


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