Anahim Lake is a very small town. It is a long, long way from Walmart, or even a Tim Horton's (320 kms in fact). A neighbor can be quoted as saying "we live so far in the bush, we come out to go hunting". Our resources are extremely limited and the options for being entertained are certainly very small......the opportunities to entertain ones self.....those are endless. But those new here, who haven't gotten their feet under them, or those not suited for this type of life, really struggle. There are many that say they would stay (or come back) if there was more opportunity for work out here. One friend that came to us from overseas (through a help exchange program) told me a few years after she left that she wished she'd never been here. I was a bit confused as I had thought she quite enjoyed her time spent with us. She went on to explain that if she had never been here, she would not miss it so much.
There is really something special about this area, and people have often commented on it to me. I've often wondered exactly what it is......the openness, the freedom, the mountains, the quiet? What is it that keeps a piece of certain hearts here, and binds them together? It is not even those from the same age groups or with even similar interests. And it is not reflection on the actual time spent in the area. I just don't know. What I do know is when a group of "Anahim Laker's" get together.....you know you are in for a fun time and you might want to pack a lunch.
Sadly, we recently lost yet another young member of our community (although he hasn't actually lived here for many years) and it has been heartbreaking all around. (Why do we say "LOST"....we didn't loose him! We know right where he is......!)
Amy wrote this on her facebook page just before the funeral. (She drove for nearly 12 hours with three very young boys to get there!) She gave me permission to use this, and I think she sums it up very well.
I feel so fortunate to be raised in a small town( very very small)! I wouldn't change it for the world! It makes the saying....."it takes a village to raise a child" so true! But when you lose a member of the "village" it's like losing a member of your family... I love my family...and I can't wait to see you all but the "whole family" is getting together to say goodbye to one of us!
It was an excellent gathering, if such an event can be considered so. I know his young boys will always remember the endless procession of vehicles (many loaded with quads, snowmachines or bikes) on their way to the hall. Don't get me wrong, Derek had many friends and certainly not all from Anahim Lake. But it did strike me how those of us from the West Chilcotin almost unconsciously sought each other out. I saw people there that I literally had not seen in 10 years or more....but as true Anahim Lakers....hugs and tears, laughter and back pounding frustration was shared all around. Arms linked, tears leaked and heads bowed as we filed in to say goodbye to another friend gone too soon, and give our condolences to his wife and sons.
Reminds a person to appreciate each moment and to take nothing for granted.
Well, not really wanting to leave on such a sad note, I'll continue with 'back at the ranch' briefly. Calving season is RIGHT around the corner. I will expect our first baby in the next week or so. We are all very busy getting animals moved around and in their proper places, pens plowed, supplies ordered and chores finished. We have some 'flatlander' friends over from Saskatchewan and they've been enjoying the mountains (with dad) for the past couple days. Hopefully the weather clears a bit and gives them some sunshine.
Our newest help Marina arrived today as well. Paul has arrived back from his tour of the States and we expect Magalie around the middle of March. Another great calving crew......
I'll keep you posted.....