Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Best Place on Earth?

Sometime in the last ten years, the license plates here in BC began crowing "Best Place on Earth." Not very Canadian, eh? After all, while we can certainly be patriotic, we tend to be discreet and polite about it. This motto, linked with a certain political party I did not vote for, is neither discreet nor polite.

Instead, when I see or think of it, I find it cringe-making -- it strikes me as either horridly provincial (really? the best? have you seen them all? and there's no contender out there?) -- or distatesfully smug and, worse, thoughtlessly gloating (we're here; you're not -- nyaa, nyaaa, nyaa). Goofily grandiose, really.
Luckily, the system here is one that transfers licences from one's old car to one's new one, and we've had the same licence for at least 20 years. It's not likely we'll ever get a second car, so we should be safe from having to wear the BC braggart's boast.
But I'll have to admit that I love the variety of our province, its sweeping landscapes, its reassuring reminder that urban life is only a tiny fraction of the planet's action (albeit one whose greedy hungers and exorbitant wastes leave traces everywhere).
I would never claim that British Columbia is the best place on earth. But it's disarmingly beautiful, and I love driving through its spectacular vistas (although it will take many massage hours to un-kink my body after the road time!).
Finally (yes, regular programming will return next post -- whatever "regular" might mean around here), my favourite shot of all. You'll probably have to click and "embiggen" this photo (taken, I'll remind you, from the window of a car moving at 110kmh, with my little Canon automatic digital 7 pixel, so excuse the quality) -- taken somewhere in the north Cariboo, forest fire smoke encroaching, a long hot afternoon in a series of long hot afternoons, 4+weeks of drought and high temps, and all these ranch horses have sought shelter under the irrigation sprinklers.

What relief from what weather are you finding in your neck of the woods? And what do you think of places that claim to be "the best place on earth"? Would you make that claim about your own home?