Saturday, 29 March 2008

Past reincarnation

In the summer of 1964 I explored Takla Lake in British Columbia, Canada with 3 fellow Berkeley students in homemade canoes. Takla Lake was remote and had only about 20 residents in three separate areas on this 50 miles long lake. The region was completely covered at lower elevations by climax conifer forests and the surrounding ridges and mountains were snow-covered. Access was only by boat or float plane, there were no roads. The area was essentially untouched and unused by Europeans. We spent a few days helping a Native American family weed their potato patch, about the only possible crop for the short summer of this northern mountainous area. In return they shot us a moose and fresh moose liver is very tasty.

It was a wonderful adventure for a young man and his friends and I have many memories but at the same time it seems like a remembered past of some previous reincarnation. That world no longer exists except in my imagination. A few days ago I used google maps to look at the Takla Lake area and discovered it is about one third logged with thousands of small clear cuts that pepper the land like polka dots and roads seem to go everywhere. There is a railroad bisecting the area and many buildings have been built on the lake shore.

Change is the way of our world.

Imagine an adventure to the American West in 1864 as the Civil War is coming to a climax, a hundred years before my college days. The Great Plains are unused by Europeans and millions of Bison migrate with the seasons followed by a sparse population of Native Americans. In 1908 the same area is covered with railroads and divided by thousands of fences into as many farms. The bison are almost extinct and the Native Americans are on reservations. The first motor cars are around.

My great grandfather who lived there must have felt much as I do now. Did we really live through these many reincarnations?

That's me in the above image with my father in Oklahoma in 1947. As usual I'm looking out the window wondering "where am I now?"


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