Merry Christmas from…

Posted on December 25th, 2010 2 great comments. Room for one more!

…the great white north. And when I mean north, I mean, like, way the hell north. The north where rocks are extracted from big bouldery hills and where bodies are easy to dispose of.

northern mining town, life

This is not Toronto – a rarity, so don’t get used to it!

It is a sort of sub-alpine town  (if the hills were only bigger), situated somewhere in that vast swath of land called Northern Ontario.

Like most of the towns in this area, it was built into the solid rock that makes up the Canadian Shield, and built upon digging shit up out of that rock. Lotsa ores and radioactive rocks kinda shit.

That digging stopped a couple of decades ago and started the slow hemorrhage of the population with it. So it’s a pretty small town … a few high schools sorta small (and it wasn’t really that large in its heyday).

So, things here are necessarily a bit simpler.

shopping mall, life

There’s one Tim Horton’s, one McDick’s, and one Canadian Tire sporting outrageous gas prices.

Granted, that’s more than most Ontario towns have, but at the same time they’re usually an hour or two from some options. Not so in this town — if you don’t get your Mac ‘n doughnut here, you’ll have a good long wait before you find another opportunity for a healthy breakfast.

To put it into further perspective, the highway leading north of here opens up onto logging roads and then … wilderness. Nothing but hills and snow and naked trees as far as the eye can see. And bears and wolves and deer and all that other boring shit.

The people here strike me as a bit more rugged; like if you threw a bunch of retirees and geriatrics into a frozen Thuderdome (Tina Turner? Already there! :D ). You kinda have to be. This year it’s been mercifully dry but typically just shoveling the snow is like a cruel joke.

My city ass does not relish the experience. Nor is it easy to adapt to the one mall that everyone shops at (because there is no alternative), or the two coffee varieties in town (one of them being the aforementioned Timmy’s, the other unspeakable), or to the fact that not a goddam single road around here is straight or doesn’t, in some messed up way, end up back on itself.

planters, hollside, northern town, life

After a few days, you realize that there’s really nothing much up here in this remote little community except satellite TV, friends, family, and the holiday cheer you bring up with you. And as much as I’m very much a city guy with an enduring love of convenience and variety any other time, at this one time of year, that seems to somehow be just right.

Whether you’re doing what I’m doing, or you’re earning double-time at work, it’s my sincere hope that Christmas does good things for you!

merry christmas, snow, ice, life

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