Sometimes it takes awhile to discover who you truly are. Treking through fireweeds in Haines, Alaska, helps. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

Sometimes it takes awhile to discover who you truly are. Treking through fireweeds in Haines, Alaska, helps. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

Liam’s Lowdown: It’s important to be true to oneself

After 31 years, I’m finally ready to admit I am a summer child

It’s funny how often we lie to ourselves. We push our feelings deep and pretend the uneasiness is slight indigestion from funky chicken or fatigue after a long meeting.

Although almost every Disney movie stresses the importance of following your own path, in reality being different doesn’t usually come with catchy songs or a love story. It’s a lonely highway with road stops of self-doubt and potholes of disappear.

In the past, I’d go with what was expected. I wouldn’t correct the assumptions, just smile, nod and perhaps change the subject to the rapidly deteriorating political situation in the Middle East.

I hoped they wouldn’t press, which is usually the case as most people do not ask deep questions. I reasoned a lie wasn’t a lie by omission.

But after 31 years, I’m finally ready to admit it — I prefer summer to winter.

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I know such a statement in a winter town is like declaring you’re a Scientologist in the Vatican City, but I no longer wish to stay in a seasonal closet.

While I love to ski, it’s not quite the same as flower meadows, tee-shirt sunsets and lakeside swims. Taking a long lunch on a mountainside is harder when it’s blowing snow and your tomato sandwich becomes a Popsicle.

In my heart, I knew I was a summer boy after I lived in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic ocean for a year. At 78 degrees north, the town of Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost settlement with more than 1,000 residents.

For four months of the year, the sun does not rise above the horizon. The only illumination is the stars, northern lights and lampposts.

There are no trees, just a faint covering of vegetation here and there.

Although it was one of the best years of my life as it’s hard to contend against polar bear sightings, walruses and skiing over the frozen ocean, I realized I was meant for greener things. Flowers and trees make me happy.

During our walk to Mexico several years ago, Jake and I learned that sleeping under trees was far warmer than in an open field.

When you have a -7 C sleeping bag and it’s – 15 C, trees became lifesavers. Not only that, but they provide shelter and old branches can be used for a cooking fire. An old white spruce can be a house, furnace and companion.

Yes, skiing powder is like rediscovering what it’s like to be a child. The laughter and glee as the snow hits our faces as we whiz down the slopes. But, it’s hard to linger in winter. We have our fun and then retreat to warm cars, bathtubs and pubs. Summer allows us to pause, sit and marvel at the intricate world around us.

The bees visiting flowers, bears foraging for roots and pikas collecting herbs.

So, while it’s spring, it’s only 87 days until summer. Sigh.

Liam Harrap writes for the Revelstoke Review. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


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