3:00 something a.m. and I need to write…how pure is that? I need to write about the rain.
Woke up just after 2:00am curled up with my 5-year-old in the big bed. We fell asleep after story time in his room at the end of our sometimes traumatic first week of kindergarten – apologies to Ms. Heppner, Hugo and the otherwise likewise guilt ridden parents for everything…let’s just leave it at that. We made our way back here sometime in the night before the rain began.
2:00am. Got up, saw my wife and baby asleep on the couch (my usual late night writing spot) so I settled on getting a banana and coming back to bed to listen to the rain and my son’s heavy little breath beside me…
The rain in Whistler is alive. Like no other place in the world. It takes on a seemingly out-of-place connection with mountain life driving people from the streets and trails to the inevitable inter-lodge of the west coast pre-winter off-season. I looked out the window of the shop after over 2 hours and one sale yesterday – thank you to the guy who bought the Dakine Porter bag by the way – and couldn’t see a soul up and down the stroll through the upper village, not even the chefs at Portobello who are usually watching my big screen looping the big wave epic ‘Riding Giants’ from across the stroll.
To simply call it fall is not enough. It’s a bi-annual trip to near non-existence between summer and winter that leaves us wondering sometimes if the outside world has vanished – at least between rare trips to nearer-reality Squampton, or the ever rarer Logan’s Run to Van-groovy (sorry if you Generation-i’ers aren’t down with Logan…old movie, long story…if you’re under 30 don’t worry about it…if you’re old enough to know why that is funny I’m with you). I can only imagine how Pemby’s must feel. In the meantime, when people go back east (no I’m not one of those…er, one of you) I still wonder if they will return for another season or year even and maybe, secretly, in my own western-separatist way I hope they won’t. Our daughter is 5 months old and I spent the summer recovering from mid July broken ribs and yet TBD finger injuries via my ritual morning post TDF stage finish mountain bike race…I mean commute to work… so I won’t explain to the parents or others who have had broken ribs out there why I spent more than a few sleepless nights watching my buddy’s burned 6 disk set of The Lord of the Rings. Why? Because as far as I can tell, the rain season in Whistler is the closest thing to Middle Earth on earth.
Middle Earth…no heaven, no hell, no daily grind of the ridiculous touristas questions we love to answer, some with more creativity than others, no trips to the beach, the endlessly confused fashion sense that must make visitors question our sanity – ie. flip-flops – with socks, bike shorts – with down sweaters, shades with yellow or orange lenses, rain coats that appear out of no-where, not to mention store and restaurant hours that confuse even the most hardened travelers and locals alike. Rain season in Whistler is middle earth.
So here we are… soaked, confused, waiting for sunlight…for the next season… and we are content. If you pick up a local paper you will see we have even stopped picking on the mayor and council (they must really love this time of year). We are here, to the envy of all of those who have momentarily forgotten us, because this is our home. A dozen years or so ago I was one of you (?), one of them. I rode a bus and then a train to a giant box full of shops working ridiculous hours collecting and counting millions of dollars for Fortune 500 retailers – that is until one of them sent me here, exactly right here.
What I really mean to say is one night I watched Aspen Extreme and fell in love with the scene where Dexter learns to cast a fly rod (god rest his soul) and TJ rides his mountain bike in circles around his girlfriend through the fall leaves…OK, that and the bit about him being a writer AND the best skier on the mountain (how sweet is that!?).
It is all a dream between the seasons in Whistler. I wake up at 2:00am to the sound of the rain and know there is no place I’d rather be than right here at home.