thoughts from my new home

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wolves and bears and...feelings...awww

So, we have been here just over two months now and sometimes I feel as though I could stay, sometimes I feel as though I would love to go. We visited the mountain town of Revelstoke and that got us excited for the small town feeling. The quiet, the mountains, the opportunities that come with a limited population. And then we came back and we had our first day volunteering up Grouse Mountain for the wildlife refuge - and we were all about Vancouver again.
The wildlife refuge work is amazing. On the training day we got to hand feed Grizzly bears through a fence. I felt a Grizzly's tongue on my hand. I saw his huge claws up close. It was frightening and surreal and incredible. I could have stroked him. They have two Grizzlies at Grouse, Grinder and Coola. They are both males and were both destined to be put down if a habitat wasn't found for them. Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge has set up a sweet pad for the bears. They have 5 acres of open mountainous land, with a swimming pond in summer, plus a hibernation den/ inside area for shelter and warmth and long winter sleeps. When we fed them the first time they had just woken from hibernation and they were being fed lettuce to wake up their digestive systems. Then, last weekend, they were on to carrots and lettuce in slightly larger quantities. This time one of them - Grinder - was quite bulshy. He was growling a lot and scraping at the ground, trying to get out and get at the food we were holding. Being inside a Grizzly's hibernation den while they are on the other side of a metal fence, growling and trying to dig their under, is pretty scary. The ranger - Nadine - kicked the fence to try to scare him away, something which she says she hates doing. 
We also get to feed the wolves. They have four wolves named (unimaginatively, I think, but I guess it keeps things simple) Alpha, Beta and Omega. Alpha - surprise, surprise - is the dominant one, the pack leader, followed by Beta and then Omega. Because of this pack heirarchy, when we feed them we have to do it in order. Alpha eats first, then the other two in turn. I'm not sure what exactly would happen if we threw the food to the wrong wolf, but I am not about to find out. Last weekend we fed them chunks of cow with the hide still on. Mmmm-mmm.

Aside from the animals, Vancouver is a buzz with Canucks fever. The hockey team has won 4 games in a row against the St Louis Blues. I am told it was a best of 7 thing, so now they are definitely moving on to the finals (I think! I am a little hazy on how the hockey works). Anyway, there was much jubilation in the streets last night. Car horns tooting, people shouting and cheering. It went on for over an hour. Simon and I looked out our window and tried to figure out what the big deal was - they had won games before but this sounded massive. In the morning I read the paper and found out that they had never in playoff history had a four in a row win. Maybe they will make it to the Stanley Cup. I was never a rugby follower at home but hockey seems pretty fun. Plus, when in makes sense to follow what the locals are up to.

In other news, I have reduced my hours at work so that I finish at 3, not 4. This gives me an hour to work on my writing. I have started looking through my novel and am so far unimpressed. I think working on a magazine killed my style. I am going to do some practice warm ups and some rewrites this week to try to get it back. My sentences seem so stilted and cold. Every now and then I write a little gem of a description so Im sure it's still in there somewhere...

We are planning a trip to Montreal in May for the long weekend. Can't wait for that. Yowww!