Yukon Trail

Near Takhini River

You have died of dysentry.

I’ve just gotten back from the Yukon. My mother took me and my cousin J up to see the Aurora Borealis, and B-cat came along, too, for a distraction from being injured and cooped up with me in a basement.

I enjoyed going north in 2010 and am grateful to revisit the museums, huskies, outdoors, etc., but this has been a terribly stressful trip. The group dynamic is as follows:

  • My mother stops speaking English or eating meals whenever we go on trips (all three of which, excluding childhood ones, took place this year). She tries to dissuade me and J from eating, saying we’re too fat;
  • J is not fat. He is shy? grumpy? and only speaks to my mother when she speaks first and to me when the others aren’t around. He rarely talks to English speakers;
  • B-cat is an English speaker who makes occasional remarks to J and my mother, but mainly wants to chat up strangers;
  • I am the worst travel buddy.


J and a Little Free Library by the half-frozen Yukon River

We do end up eating real food, but don’t see much of the Northern Lights through the clouds. During this time I’m still receiving rejection letters, an integral and awful part of writing fiction, and sending demand letters to Torquere Press, a publisher whose owners — Kristi Boulware-Talbot and Joanna Talbot — have now decided neither to pay its authors nor to return the rights to their work.

Then Trump talks to the president of Taiwan, and suddenly both pro-Trump and anti-Trump Americans are spouting strong opinions about Taiwan, whose very name confuses them because they’ve only skimmed through the Wiki:history article.

But I did see two red foxes, a dozen red squirrels, and a lot of nice people, so I guess this is just one of those trips that improve upon ending. If you like small, snowy towns, visit the Yukon — besides the lights, I recommend Mount McIntyre for the vigorous hike to the peak.

J, me, and B-cat

A Mission, should Everyone Choose to Accept It

B-cat and I helped hand out care packages at a local mission yesterday. More or less.

B-cat belongs to a local Rotary club, which seemed to have been more common either back when I was a kid or in the countries I heard most about back then, and a fellow member organised this event. Rotary itself, like us, is non-religious.

At least one other member announced “publicly” on Facebook that she’d be there with her husband, mother, neighbour, dog, whomever else, but the group that actually showed up in the correct dimension of this physical world was tiny. It also found that there were already more volunteers than the needy needed.

Still, all of us managed to make ourselves useful, except the man who acted as if he were the leader/organiser, asked the lady in charge of the mission a series of “I’m so sensitive and inquisitive” questions, and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with a pal.

The lady in charge told us about the history of the place, including how some land developers (?) were okay with their maintaining a church but not a mission at their previous location. I thought a mission in the religious sense was an establishment or trip-with-purpose abroad — as in a [insert Christian sect] mission in [foreign country], for example — and the dictionary suggests something similar. So a Christian “mission” in Metro Vancouver sounds nonsensical… or is, at best, sloppy word use.

Anyway, the mission is run by individuals who have probably experienced poverty and homelessness themselves and are no doubt capable and efficient. When a woman came in barefoot and bloody, they called the police right away and had the teen volunteers disinfect the entire foyer.

As a side note, when the paramedics arrived, the aforementioned pseudo leader wanted a club photo op outside the building, but the other members backed out (not literally). There is hope for humanity.