Somewhere in the Mountains of the Cariboo
I think it was three weeks before the May long weekend that I mentioned going to some warm springs from a book about hot springs in Canada. The book indicates there are 115 of these springs in Canada mostly in the mountain ranges of BC, Alberta and the Yukon.
My twin brother and I packed the things we needed & wanted and forgot the things we discovered we needed once we got there. This is a sticky area for us as twins. We ALWAYS assume and expect we can read each other’s mind. Identical twins can fight even though they are thinking the same thoughts. In a sense, we get along so well that we don't get along at all -- at least, in the heat of the moment -- plus, I have such a short temper. But I think he admitted he does too! It's in the form of him being cunningly able to find the buttons to press and then pressing them. I think it ends when I don't let little things bother me so that he can't find the buttons.
Without lingering on what it’s like to be a twin, all things considered, only God knew what we needed.
Mainly, God allowed our trip to be flawless. I don't mean flawless in a sense that it went obviously perfect; the chainsaw worked then didn't, then worked again.
And did I mention we forgot stuff.
Our story got interesting when we met up with some rowdy natives the day after we arrived.
We built an ancient-style fence- unfinished but almost a complete dome of branches surrounding the wood stove that we found and dragged there, and cooked our bacon and pancakes on it. After that first night under the stars in our sleeping bags we were cleaning the algae bloom off the rocks and water and swimming in it while fishing for metallic objects with a metal detector and magnets.
My twin's hearing is on-point, unlike mine since my brain hemorrhage. So he must have heard the rumble of a truck a long time before me and made out that it was no come-and-go quad. I noticed he had disappeared after the pond cleaning ceased. He seemed excited to try out metal detecting with me but was now nowhere to be found… I assumed he went back to imply working on the fence was a slightly greater excitement.
In reality, my brother got a strong feeling as the rumble of the truck got louder - while I was able to dismiss it as a possible joyride from a quad - it was clearly not a person on a quad when a truck arrived.
My belief is the Holy Spirit uses subtle impressions sometimes. I was aware that I was on Native Land and using a high-tech device. With the ongoing division and baiting in mainstream and government propaganda : whites of today vs whites of yester-year, coloured vs non-coloured, vaxxed vs unvaxxed, I knew I wanted to put the device down and sit on my chair in the pool when a group of Natives rolled up to the pool.
It could have been a minute from my decision to stop metal detecting that one of the fellas was pushed into the pool by someone in his party. It wasn't very long after that he asked me seriously what the metal detecting device was and what I was doing?
I gave my response and he demanded that I don't do it anymore because of it being sacred land and there being buried artifacts. It is literally his back yard and so he could say anything to stop me and I would stop. I told him the truth, that I was looking for rotten, rusty, cut-your-foot cans and garbage in the pool and "I wasn't interested in disturbing anything" outside of that. He smelled like vodka or whiskey and some of his buddies already started shooting semi-auto SKS's and 22's, so I was slightly nervous.
Then he asked, "How did you find this place?"
I said, "I've been looking for this place all my life!"
This was true to me. I have never been a very satisfied city dweller. I felt I also had to add that it was in a book I bought seven years ago.
I was cold and there’s always ringing in my head since my head injury, so I don't remember how I left the situation in the pool, but it was all well and fine. I do remember inviting them to have the Canadian flag I brought and inviting them to “shoot it for all I care”.
Before I left my house, I had another strong feeling to pack that flag with me. I agreed within myself I should bring it for some reason, but I could only think of one reason to bring it at the time: that it be set up and put in plain view upside down - as target practice. It turned out those Native fellas got it put up and started shooting it as fast as I could change into my pants back at the camp! It turned out to be an easy target and I was given an SKS to shoot. It is the same size and the semi-automatic version of the AK-47.
I was cold and lame-looking and extra white because it's May - I also shake weirdly since my injury. Though I am noticeably different than my , brother now, we are still twins. Twins are viewed as a blessing from the gods in some circles, which was the case in Yunesit'in and Xeni Gwet'in when I worked among the people there.
My twin took some shots with a shotgun. He didn't look lame, and in fact a young fella from the Native party mingled with him there too after talking with him at the camp where they discussed completing 'the dome'.
At the camp, my brother was reliving a traumatic childhood moment involving alcohol, a half-Native, a gun, and a camp. While I was getting into dry clothes, he discussed some details for why we should give them their space for the rest of the weekend. Logically, I couldn’t agree more. In my heart though - I wanted to finish what we started! I imagined completing the plans we had for the fence and subsequently ‘the dome’, and fulfilling the trip with a few accomplishments that satisfied the efforts and gas getting there. Like a naive attempt to share the love of Jesus Christ and what He’s done in my own life. Except, I don’t feel like it’s very naïve - it was a Muslim that wanted to shave my head during my short time in maximum security in Kamloops after learning I fasted for days and wanted a Bible.
My sense of accomplishment is much more near-sighted than God’s though. As one who is currently learning what is being shown to me - and amidst the process of learning humility- completing a task should be just as important as the attitude that goes into it. I appreciated that we had accomplished so much already.
My brother came up with the thought to leave after having some hot-dogs on the fire the Natives had built. After telling the patriarch of the group we were leaving to have dinner with our mother in Lone Butte, the apparent oldest member of the party made the connection that my mother regularly visits his brother. He asked for my information after telling me of some work needing to be done in the area.
If we considered all the possibilities, staying for our own desires without consideration of why the Natives came and what they expected, we may not have been able to get past the point of small talk and into a place where I had to yell loudly to my brother that my information was in my Bible, or take photos of the elder’s son and grandchildren or the upside-down Canadian flag, or even be able to go back down the hill headed toward Mother’s house for dinner… You never know what will happen when you move with the spirit.
My brother and I have been here before, metaphorically and literally, and one thing we do know is that alcohol doesn’t end well no matter how well it starts. From a bird-eye view – or from God’s view – it’s a huge disappointment when compared to what He frees us from. The lie surrounding a party and a good time started when we were young, because back then, we could be tricked into thinking we had a good time. It would start out slow and then shift towards a dangerous place until that dangerous place happens pretty darn fast.
I’m sure with shorts and no shirt it was pretty visible in my life and what it says in the Holy Bible -- that it was God’s will that we give them their space and that the gospel is better said by example in our lives.
A saying my brother took to heart one day: “My best day drunk is like my worst day sober”. I don’t believe we left that situation out of fear but ultimately out of obedience. The Spirit can use the anxieties of our past to help overcome it, and just because we don’t see the work completed that He started in us, doesn’t mean we lost out on a pretty fulfilling weekend!
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.