The Pancake Chronicles

The Pancake Chronicles: reflections

The Pancake Chronicles

Monday, March 02, 2009


reflections © Colleen Hilman
      There's so much winging through my brain these days it's hard to pin any one thought to the wall and expound upon it but I'll do my best.
      I am going to miss the North. What I've learned here, who I've become, what I've let go .... I used to fight being here so furiously. Of course the fight took place almost entirely inside my skull but it affected most everything I did. Then I went through a phase where I tried to love it and gave myself such sage advice as "suck it up" and "be grateful for what you have". However helpful those words may be I've learned they are good only for short hauls and emergencies and quite useless when it comes to living a life of years played out day by day by day. There was a point when in weariness at propping myself up from the outside in I let myself be okay with hating it, for that was the truth of the matter. I cannot tell you the relief that came from simply calling it what it was. It was hard to live here! And it is! Plain old hard. (Though I must add there are many who don't feel this way. Mark fell in love with this place immediately.) And nothing changed. The days were dark and long, the wind still furious, the cold as bitter. Hard! It was the same but I wasn't. There was a sense of strange acceptance, as though the things I hated were endearing quirks - like someone's nose whistling or a squeaky fridge door. The very things I've hated have made my heart warm and full because I know I am alive and can feel things. My life is more than just a series of events in which I arrange comforts so closely together that I forget how to really laugh or cry. Saying what is brings truth and truth, though painful, can't help but free you. And it's way too easy to say it all in a paragraph 1-2-3. It's never that easy.
      The North has taken a lot of out of me. Thank God. What it took wasn't doing me much good anyway.


Blogger Nan said...

This was really beautifully written. You said so much and yet you didn't. I think that's a writer's gift. I think I could always tell what was underneath the beauty you showed. As much as I love where I live, it isn't 'really' North. It isn't 'really' hard. Some would say so, but I know that Yellowknife is much more North and hard. I am really interested in this journey away, and am happy to hear all you want to tell. I hope you keep your writings. I think they could be in a book someday.

2 March 2009 at 07:38  
Blogger Sonya said...

Beautifully said, Colleen. And if I could come help you clean your house, I would. Sadly, I live a little too far away to make that happen.

2 March 2009 at 07:51  
Blogger Kori said...

Aren't you glad you will be able to look back and smile at all your 'snow' pictures once you have moved :)

Any hints on where you are heading?

2 March 2009 at 15:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your last two sentences!!!! Made me laugh! Wish I had thought of it that way too!!!

It was hard but believe me, I miss it already and yet I hate the thoughts of going back!!!!!



2 March 2009 at 17:26  
Blogger Laurie said...

I completely understand what you mean.

I love it here I do but now that we know we are leaving it is making it easier to let go.

It has been hard the last few years with so many close friends moving away. That is one thing I won't miss from the north. Friends moving away.

I am excited to be moving and know it is a fresh start for all of us but it is also going home. ric & I both grew up there so it isn't like starting over like we did here.

I will miss my friends from the north but they know I will always have a futon to share.

That goes for you guys too.

2 March 2009 at 22:09  
Blogger Captain Cat said...

Oh my sweetheart, I feel what you're saying. I know you will look back on Yellowknife and have such a fondness for it. It's during these darker and tougher times that we get to know ourselves. You will always be grateful to this little town for that opportunity, despite how hard it's been. But my goodness, there is so much to be seen, so much life to live - I am so excited to hear about the next leg of your adventure.


2 March 2009 at 22:41  
Blogger Scrapnqueen said...

There was a new boy in our classes in grade 10...whom I couldn't stand. He had the most irritating "look at me" habits ever. And I got SO annoyed with him, that one day I said something really. mean. to him... in chemistry class... in front of everyone.

I learned many hard lessons from that experience. One... guard my tongue. Two... apologizing is hard. Three... the things that you hate about a person may eventually endear them to you.

We actually became friends, hung out in overlapping "groups" during the rest of high school, and he worked with me at my high school job--he was actually one of the best people to work with there.

I loved your last paragraph. God has a way of taking things out that don't belong, doesn't he? It seems like the process can be a little painful most of the time, but I think it's for the same reason that you sometimes need to spank a toddler--the pain helps you remember, so you don't go back there.

I love it when you write your posts, by the way.


5 March 2009 at 21:43  
Blogger villagegirl said...

I just love how you put your thoughts into words. I've always wondered if I'd enjoy living up North but I think I'd be too scared to really find out. I'm happily living it through you - thank you!
I'm truly just dying to find out where you're moving to! I hope it goes smoothly for you!

10 March 2009 at 21:59  
Blogger Les said...

Beautiful words. Makes me think I shouldn't whine about being cold, living so far south of you! But I'm a California girl (in spite of being born in Ottawa and living in Valley View, Alberta) and Nebraska's winters are beginning to wear on me! I need the warmth of the sun and long, sunny days. I hope you're headed some place warm.

11 March 2009 at 20:53  

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