Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year/New Life

The 10 metre diameter pumpkin glowed bright orange in the night. It was the only thing visible, for miles. An anomaly, yes; but even a tree would have been unusual in this flat and barren landscape. It had a stupid, grinning mouth, drawn in black. "Happy Halloween," it said to me.

"No kidding," I think. I'm not only about to don a new costume, I'm about to wear a new life.

I'm a passenger in a brand new Mercedes-Benz G500, driving along a dirt backroad in the middle of nowhere, located just off the main highway. I'm in Southern Alberta. I'm 1200 kilometres east of Vancouver. I'm a few miles north of Lethbridge – my new home for the next several months.

We left the lushly landscaped Pacific Ocean, drove through the arid vineyards of Central BC, passed through the death-defying curves and zero incline cliffs of the Rocky Mountains, and now we're in the flat, treeless plains of the Bible Belt. The place where religion grows unfettered but nary a bush blossoms.

My two sisters caught a plane to Vancouver, rented the Mercedes, helped me finish packing, and drove me home. It was my rich, but crazy sister G. who insisted on renting the Mercedes-Benz G500. She loves driving and wanted the best. She drove the whole way, except for the last one hour, when my sister M. took over. Unfortunately M. nearly fell asleep at the wheel, and she stopped at a church in this off-road, dirt-road place to walk outside and get some air. But we still made it home safely, to…

(Add a red-necked, blue collar twang to the following…) Lethbridge. A city of 77, 202 people. It's one of the sunniest and warmest cities in Canada with close to 2400 hours of sunlight a year. It's also the frequent beneficiary of a phenomenon called the chinook, a warm west wind providing above freezing breaks throughout the year.

(my voice) The place I lived before moving to Vancouver 14 years ago.

(twang voice) It's also home to folks of every religious persuasian. We've got lots a Mormons, Hutterites, Lutherans, Dutch Reformed. Just 'bout everythin' you can imagine here, in Lethbridge.

(my voice) So here's the plot. Gay male son of retired Lutheran minister father, who escaped Lethbridge 14 years ago to "make it" in Vancouver, returns to small town, and lives with his religious parents, and close to his two religious sisters. His third sister, G. who lives in a suburb near Lethbridge, isn't religious, but is a bit crazy, in the medical terminology way. She's the rich one.

Due to events beyond my control, I've given up everything I own, and my life in Vancouver, and have moved back to Lethbridge. My plan is to totally redesign my life. A fresh start. I'll tell you how I try to achieve this, in upcoming blogs. It's not going to be easy, believe me! But I intend to make my new life everything I imagined.