It's funny where this little piece of the blogosphere has led me. I received an email last night from a reporter in Saskatoon, who was/is interested in including me in his column about people's different Christmas experiences. I'm quite honoured that he thought me interesting enough to include in his column. He is, I believe, most interested in what Christmas is like up here. I'm looking forward to the experience. Besides, he is/was a Forest Ranger fan.
I got to thinking though, about what would be the most unusual Christmas I've had. This would be it...
1992. We had made the plunge to take a major trip, eight weeks in South America. For me, it was to be a trip to some sort of Mecca for me, the Galapagos Islands. A place that lived large in my imagination, the place where the seeds of "The Origin of Species" began to take root (okay, I realize that is an over simplification of the long route to Darwin's break through, but it is a myth that has been a part of my imagination for a long time). The trip was an organized one to the Galapagos, and to the Ecuadorian Amazon, which we followed with our own wanderings around Ecuador.
We spent Christmas day on Santa Cruz Island, in Puerto Ayora. It was, for this prairie boy, my first green Christmas. It was a little surreal, being that far away from family, away from snow, away from the Christmas traditions I was used to. It felt very unlike Christmas. But later that night it led to one of those moments that remains indelibly inked in my memory.
We had had boat problems, or rather the local tour company didn't have a boat for us like they were supposed to. Late in the day, the boat we spent the rest of our time on arrived from another tour, and by the time they re-provisioned and we got on board it was late. Soon everyone turned in to bed, including Janice, and I took my journal and went up to the bow of the boat and sat writing in it. It was an incredibly clear night, unsullied by any lights of the town. The stars were bright and stunningly different, it being south of the Equator. Except for the background noise of water lapping against boats, and the assorted creaks it was wonderfully calm and quiet.
As I put down my pen, and stared up at the heavens, someone, on one of the nearby freighters began playing a rondador, a pan flute. That beautiful pentatonic music floated out over the harbour, and wove around through the boats at anchor. It was a wonderful background to the incredible scene laid out before me.
Quite the Christmas.