I had a chance encounter one evening last week with two ladies who were wandering around at 9:30 p.m. looking a little lost. I stopped to see if they needed help.
As it turned out, they didn’t speak English. What I figured out was they were from France touring through our area. We managed to communicate with broken English, my limited ability with French, and I probably threw in a bit of Spanish (I learned in school), for good measure.
They were quite animated about the beauty of our area and all they had seen since first arriving in Calgary, and touring through the Rockies to Smithers so far.
They both were talking at the same time with their hands about the many animals they found amazing. The antlers on the head I guessed correctly as moose, the goat explanation particularly made us all laugh out loud, as they kept making curling motions around their ears and bunting towards me.
They asked about skiing, and though Hudson Bay was covered in clouds I assured them that we indeed had a beautiful mountain to ski within minutes from town. They wanted to know what else we did here? It was my turn to play charades to explain we could fish, boat, bike and numerous other outdoor activities, but we also had art and music and many events.
Both of them were in on guessing what I was saying, and it was quite a fun challenge to explain.
They said they were heading on to Prince Rupert, then taking the ferry to Vancouver Island before heading home. They had already decided they wanted to come back to Smithers to visit again one day.
I explained they still had a very beautiful trip ahead, along the river and once on the ferry it was common to see whales and other sea life. They again seemed very excited about the animals.
Since I have never been to France, I asked why they liked our wildlife so much. I managed to figure out from their part of the charades, they mostly have squirrels. Not sure if this is entirely what they were saying, but they seemed to think I got it.
If this is the case, and squirrels are what they are used to seeing, I can totally understand their excitement over the huge variety of animals they have seen on their trip.
After we spoke a bit longer and we wished each other well, I departed, and they carried on taking pictures along Main Street.
The whole encounter made me smile. It also reminded me of how easy it is to take all that we have in our area for granted.
The Bulkley Valley is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my travels in life, and these two wonderful ladies from France, reminded me to look around, stop grumping about the weather, and appreciate the little slice of heaven we are fortunate to have here.
Sometimes it takes looking through another person’s eyes, to see how truly fortunate we all are to call this rare and beautiful place home.