Hazel McHaffie


Storytelling the world over

We all love a story, don’t we? One reason why I turned to fiction – to share the excitement of medical ethical challenges.

We’ve just returned from a visit to Western Canada (Calgary to Vancouver) and every day I was reminded of the importance of storytelling.

The country is celebrating 150 years this year and remembering its roots, its pioneers, its history. Everywhere we went we heard fascinating stories.

City areas, rivers, even mountains, are named after people who have left their mark in this world – including this brave young lad who spent his last days raising funds for cancer research. He is lastingly remembered; what boy wouldn’t be thrilled with the Terry Fox mountain.

And before white Europeans discovered this beautiful land, the First Nations told their own stories. We could picture the families, the communities, gathering to listen to the legends and folklore which continue today in the totem/story poles and in the inherited tales from descendants who still work in the areas their forebears claimed with such diligence and vision.

And some of our own relatives sought their fortune during the great goldrush. Their stories also seem more real here.

The scenery is stunning too, and it’s been therapeutic to trek in the pure air of the Rocky Mountains, explore forests and rivers, watch bears, cranes and marmots in the wild, and generally forget all the humdrum responsibilities of everyday life. I’ll share a few photos with you by way of light relief and please note, they’re the real thing; no airbrushing, despite the seemingly improbable colours.

Oh, and the wildlife wasn’t to be sniffed at either!

A fabulous part of the world.

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