When I was working in Japan, I could see Mount Fuji on clear days as I walked around the Yazaki Danchi where I was living. This photo was taken from the window of a flight back from Hong Kong. I couldn’t resist capturing it as it thrust its mighty volcanic shoulders above the clouds, while its smaller, more weathered neighbours stayed hidden below.
Here in Canada, I have skied down a few mountains, from the tiny resort near Trois-Rivières where I first learned to go downhill without breaking anything, to the more intimidating Mont Ste-Anne.These pictures show a trip to Stoneham, during an exchange spent with a wonderfully welcoming host family in Quebec while I was in high school. I paid a surprise visit to my exchange parents last summer, after (gasp!) 27 years, and then visited with Nancy herself the following weekend. We enjoyed catching up, sharing stories about our children, nieces and nephews, our careers, and do-you-remember-so-and-so, all while helping to translate back and forth for our non-bilingual families. I was saddened to learn that her brother Steve, the one on the right on the photo, passed away suddenly ten years ago from a brain tumour. I remember him as being so full of life, always smiling, forever joking about my novice skiing skills as he expertly navigated the slopes. His favourite: “Je te donne 10!” As if I would ever get 10 out of 10 from a ski judge! I’m thankful that I got to spend those three months in grade 12 near the mountains, because learning to ski was definitely one of the best things about my exchange to Quebec, right up there after learning French.
In the summer of 2013, we drove to the east coast of Canada–all the way to St. John’s, Newfoundland, with our kids. We surveyed the Laurentians of Quebec in the distance, and in the easternmost provinces, we winced as our truck and trailer laboured their way up seemingly endless slopes. We enjoyed our trip, but on our way back home, the sight of our familiar, non-rolling landscape was more than welcome.
Mountains are beautiful, I can’t deny it, but for me, mountains have only ever been to visit. This flat–make that very flat–landscape where I grew up is the place I have chosen to come back to, and I count myself blessed to have relatively unobstructed sunset views almost every night of the week.