So...I decided it was time for me to be honest. I do NOT love the Peace Valley! I imagine some of those who know me, must wonder with my rants, those who hear me whine all winter about the cold. You must think I am full of crap to be fighting to keep what is mine, when it is apparent I can't stand living here.
I admit, on a drive, winter or summer to the "John" my breath is taken away more than once by the absolute beauty of this area. But, in the winter I call it "Christmas Card" beauty. It looks amazing, but, I would prefer to be looking at it, elsewhere, somewhere far warmer. I am awe struck when it gets so cold, I see the crystals out the window, glittering like a millions stars, in the sunshine. The sight of the trees covered in hoarfrost, like someone has spray painted them with icicles. The glow of the moon on the river, with the Northern lights dancing in the sky, is something akin to a religious experience, it is beyond description, and makes a person feel the world can be a beautiful place.
But...I hate the cold! I hate it when it hurts to breathe, I hate it when my toes go numb, and my glasses become painful on my face. I hate it when I have to start my car, 30 minutes before I go anywhere, because the tires are rock solid, and the leather is an ice cube. I hate it when I have to wear my housecoat all day, because it is the only way I can feel warm. I hate it when the furnace goes steady, or the woodstove is always in need of another load, and I have to wake up every few hours to fill it. I hate trying to shovel a foot of snow out of the driveway at -30.
I am NOT a settler. I am not someone who wants to live and die here. My family did not build their lives in the Peace,like those who are suffering far worse than I. The simple fact is, I am selfish. I found the single way to allow me to deal with the stuff I hate about this area. Who imagined it would be the river itself? My single pleasure is actually the beauty of what makes this area special. My tiny piece of the valley.
Now, unlike those who have lived here for generations, or..40 plus years, I am not tied to the valley. If I had the same elsewhere, I would be content. See, there is no history here, for me. All that I have, that I never for a moment imagined I would possess, is my very own campsite. You know, that place you drive along for hours looking for, with your travel trailer . That place you feel one with nature. The spot you haul your lawnchair out, and sit in silence, just letting the beauty soak in. Then reality hits, you pack up and drive away, and for years recall that special spot. Maybe it becomes a place you return to year after year, because you cannot get it out of your mind. Well, I have that every day. In fact, when we make plans to go camping, often I wonder why we just don't drive around back, because we have to go pretty far to find anything close.
Outside my window, as I type, the sky is just beginning to brighten, almost all the morning clouds are losing their pink. The river is not steaming today (it steams an awful lot because of the temperature caused by the dam) The mighty Peace. I remember learning about this river back in elementary school. It seemed so far away, and when I was in elementary school, there was no WAC Bennett dam. I remember something to do with the Athabasca river, somehow connected. Now, in this battle with Hydro, all that I learned in the 60's has meaning. I am now a part of this piece of history. What I see out my window is incredibly important,because, I am seeing something that will disappear.No one else is going to see this piece of the valley, as it is today.
So, I am simply trying to put how I feel in some perspective, others could understand. That special camping spot, the one you go to year after year. That spot that you haul your lawn chair out, and sit, letting the beauty and silence envelope you. That one place you can unwind, and know that the world can be beautiful. Take a really good look, take a whole lot of pictures, because next time, it may be gone.
It is so difficult to fathom...I am seeing something that no other generation will ever experience. An enormous land base is going to disappear. In the future they will say, there used to be a river under there. There used to be farms and homes and trees and animals, and now it is yet another man-made disaster.The banks of the valley will subside into this stinking Cesspool . Thousands of animals will decompose in it, trees will rot beneath it, fish will drown, birds will not find a place to nest. The whole ecosystem will tumble, but Hydro will mitigate.