I didn’t. It was crystal clear and I didn’t.
I resisted the beauty of the emerald valley until the last day when we said goodbye. It was no longer worth resisting.
Countless cascades tumbled down every mountain like long white arms grabbing the very edges of my heart pulling it all in like one does a drawstring bag. Inside, all the joy I did not let out fully during our trip to Bella Coola.
I found reasons not to, you see… It’s too far, too isolated, too this or that. But that never works. Because…
It’s a world apart…
It’s a world that calls you to it and if you’re not careful you’ll answer its mermaid song.
It matters less that I didn’t drink the water. In a rainforest, the mist envelops you and you breathe it in. You don’t need to drink the water, you breathe it and then you realize its primal call is already tying your heart to that mossy path in the woods that you followed because you wanted to know where the place came from, how it all started and how people lived back then.
Simply, you find out… you listen and find out.
The old man sitting by the river, rubbing his hands in delight as the young fishermen tango with the fast moving river in their aluminum dinghies, tells of the simple life. It still is, yet many years after the white people came, many things have changed. As always, some for the better and some for the worse.
Back then it was dugout canoes that slipped as if on ice on the shiny surface of a river that misleads the ones who don’t know its powers.
Back then they were still as connected to the land as they are now.
Back then, the river was swollen with fish and the ocean too.
Back then there was a glacier on top of one of the guardian mountains. The old man points to where the glacier was. Gone now.
The next morning, the lady at the small gas station says the same. She came to homestead here 35 years ago, the glacier was shining blue like a droplet of sky, now sorely missing.
You know you’ve heard this story before. Worlds disappearing, worlds we take for granted. You know it’s not fair. You know it’s a privilege that you could be here.
You know you’ll be back, though you did not drink the water. In fact you’ll return because of that.
You’ll return because you want to drink it. To know more, to understand more and to cherish more.
The journey will have been a humbling one. So much to learn, so much to understand about simplicity, beauty, new beginnings and resilience. About yourself.