Yellowknife. This middle of nowhere, naturally stunning, slapped up city, which is only a city in name and not by population. What is a girl like me, supposed to do with a place like this?
It sucks people in with promises of money and career advancement. It shines with diamonds and gold. But it will beat some of us up with its elements, isolation, and its monotony.
Its history is rich, for such a young place, but I dread being in Yellowknife for its 100th birthday. It has managed to attack and almost obliterate rush hour traffic and locals pleasantly and eagerly agree to pick up visitors from the airport. We save on gas and other transportation expenses because we can cross town in twenty minutes. We spend our extra money, gladly on down filled parkas, snow pants, fur hats and mitts all in an effort to get the little day light you have to offer when winter arrives.
The people in this town come and go. Some stay just long enough to make a small fortune and sell their over priced double wides for a palace, back home on the east coast. Some can’t wait to get out, and end up returning a few years later. Others swear they are only here for five years, and never leave.
We eat at the same dozen restaurants time and time again. We walk the same streets and shop in the same stores, over and over. This is a city that is sold as an adventure, but even that gets old.
Opportunity ran abundantly in this town. Many came for silver, uranium, gold and diamonds. But fortunes have been made in so many different ways… even this is running out.
Threats of smokey summers after long harsh winters lead to conversations about whether or not it’s worth it to stay. But how do you pick up and move? Where do you go? This is a town that feels like it has an expiration date. It feels like one day the remaining stragglers will just have to walk away and leave everything behind, defeated. It feels like there is a clock, ticking, and an alarm waiting to sound. Or maybe that’s just me. We could offer so much more to our children at the expense of the freedom we have here.
Yes, inside these tree and rock lined walls, there is freedom. We know who we’ll see walking down the street. We know what to expect from each place we visit. Who has the best coffee, who has the best dinner or breakfast menu. Which restaurants close for the summer and which has Sunday brunch. We know that it will be cold in the winter and warm in the summer. We know that there is only one road out of town and which airlines come in/out and at what time. There is a rhythm here and it is so easy to be lazy and allow it take you. It’s the best way to be happy here, to accept, instead of fighting. To see the gold hidden in the rubble, to ignore that fact that we’re ignored. To revel in our own creation. This is a town that was made by the people that live in it. Everything we have is because we’ve maintained it or brought it here.
I have brought and will leave a piece of me behind, if we aren’t one of the stragglers. I have helped shape this place and to build a community that people are proud to call home, but…. Why is there always a but… how do you know? How do you know when you’re home?
Summer Side Note:
A drink suggestion from Amy
I like sangria: Orange vodka, hypnotic, pineapple juice, soda water and red wine!
A picture to best describe our relationship