I have just completed two years of unique nursing in unique, remote B.C. environments.
In the last year, I have been taking three flights into a spectacular community and three flights to get home, the last one each way being in a four-seat float plane.
It was such an honour to be welcomed so warmly and of equal impact was watching how much each season offers to the survival of the people.
My conventional Western medical education turned out to be only half of the big picture and those who know me will also know that balance is an obsession of mine so half is never enough!
I spent lots of time learning about this way of life and the people who make it so special.
And, it all seemed meant to be.
For example, when I got off the ferry (yes, there was a small ferry, too) for the first time, there was a boat at the dock named … my name.
As well, a mountain nearby had the same name as my son and one of the streets in the village had my former last name.
There are no stores but a few people have converted their garages into limited outlets for essentials — otherwise, everything has to be shipped in.
There is a total of a mile and a half of roadway but still many of the traffic challenges in larger places — speeding, seat belts, fender- benders.
There are feasts and celebrations every week but everything stops for a time when there is a death in the community.
I noticed that things healed faster and hair and nails grew quicker in this environment — I guess there’s a lot to be said for clean air and good water.
The community members live into their 90s with almost no dementia.
The children have many of the modern toys but still play outside a lot, building forts and playing the old fashioned games like tag and hide-and-seek.
There were huge eagles everywhere, otters, killer whales gliding by and a relationship with the wolves living in and near the community.
The scenery was spectacular and the history of the B.C. West Coast is fascinating.
The last two years have been a complete adventure for me living in a very different life than the one “to which I had become accustomed,” as it were.
My perspectives on health and wellness have been dramatically tuned up!
As an aside, it’s interesting to realize that, on either end of my 42 years as a nurse, I had jobs that required overnight stays in the same town, the very same town, about once a month for a year.
The 1973 town was truly wild (people, places and things) — the 2013 town was/is quaint.
Yes, it’s quaint — colourful buildings, super friendly people, flowers and stores.
That one town was the parentheses on a long and diverse career.
Colleen Crossley is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.