I had a rather settling (is there a better word for the opposite of unsettling?) experience on a particular drive home this summer, in the waning hours of the night where light is usually hard to come by. Not so in the north, as I’ve come to realise, and despite the passing hours, I was treated to a light road until the very end. Kind of like an eternal sunset, chasing the last colour in the sky for a long time. Noticing this got me thinking about the place I was in, and the place I was geographically moving towards. Being in the northern half of BC has been immensely gratifying, and educational. There is a particular sense of place here, that centers people in a way that the geography of the southern coast, including Vancouver, doesn’t seem to be aware of. Here, people are acutely aware of how their geography affects their access to services, and creates their sense of community. With so much contrast to my native Vancouver, and so much resonance with my worldview, embracing our surroundings and the systems which shape them has been interesting and motivating.
I couldn’t help but wonder how my friends in another northern place were getting on, as they’d be just waking up at the time I was driving. Northern Ghana, with a timezone 7-8 hours ahead of us, from my experience was also steeped in social structure related to geography, and with an understanding of systems barriers and benefits that we could learn from. Likewise, I also learned a veritable ton from my experiences and interactions there.
All I can say is I’m immensely grateful for the growth I owe to these less-than-appreciated Northern communities.