Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Quick Note From Up North


I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I was born in Seattle Washington. If you’ve ever visited Seattle, or simply flown over, then you know that it is a green, hilly city, surrounded by plenty of ocean and dotted with many lakes. I began high school in Portland Oregon, which is a city of many bridges stretching across the mighty Columbia River and it’s many tributaries.

When I was sixteen my divorced mother decided to move my sister and I up to Canada, where she had family. Mom was born in Saskatchewan. We moved way up to Northern British Columbia, to a small town. Terrace, in just about every single way, resembled our former environs in that there was an abundance of evergreens, blue skies, mountains, rivers and lakes, but all those natural wonders were super-sized and more wild. Take for instance, the river that the town had built up around, The Skeena. What a river it was! And the towering surrounding mountains were an ever-ominous presence. The forests, in those days, were thick and untouched. In the fall, rain fell harder. In the winter, snowflakes were larger and fell longer. In the summer, sun felt hotter, and merciless mosquitoes and black flies ruled our lives. Whatever we did we did not leave the screen door open!

I became a resident of Southern California at the age of eighteen when I joined my father in Orange County. That’s 35 years ago now. I must say that those years rolled by an old-timey Nickelodeon movie. For the first ten years I spent in various locations throughout the L.A. basin I longed to leave the brown, smoggy, bridgeless city and head back up north. But, alas, ties to loved ones and family kept me anchored. I grew to love the varied surrounding landscapes. 

Now I live in the foothills of The San Bernardino Mountains, which is considered the boondocks but that’s fine by me. I don’t miss the clogged freeways and crowds, but I’m close enough to drive in and enjoy what L.A. has to offer.

Right now I am at my sister’s in Victoria BC Canada, enjoying the northwest and it’s beauty once again. She’s only a few blocks from the ocean. Right outside the window where I sit stands an enormous evergreen, (it looks to be some species of cedar to me), and I feel as if I’m home.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

4 comments:

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

It's amazing how important our surrounding become to us. I grew up in Wisconsin with sugar maple forests and lakes floating loons. For one summer I lived in a flat above a shop in downtown Balitmore and thought the concrete would smother me. Now I live in Botswana with it's huge skies and squat brown trees and the space let's my mind free. Now I'm looking to move to Namibia at the edge of the Atlantic- the ocean on one side the barren Namib on the other, a place so devoid of plants, green gives you a shock.

I love your descriptions and I think you've discovered, as I have, that every place has its own beauty; the joy is in the finding.

David Quiles said...

Elizabeth,

I have to visit the West coast!!!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Laurie, you certainly get around! Botswana must be so beautiful and interesting!

Yes David, you must visit the West coast.

Marguerite said...

Looks and sounds like a beautiful place! I lived in Los Gatos, Ca. for a short period of time and loved it.