Howl, Canadian Edition

Today I did something conventional: worked all day, then dinner and a movie. Shocking, I know. I was even invited to a VIP-only jazz show, but I had a choice between jazz with free drinks or work with the opportunity to buy my own later. Normally, as a freelancer, my instinct (and, indeed, my moral obligation to the profession) would be to go for the freebies, I haven’t done any paid work in awhile and could really use A) the cash and B) the reference, so there you have it. Besides, on Monday I got three free meals, four free drinks, and probably a door prize, though I bailed too early to tell, a victim of the effects of smoked salmon, cream cheese, deep-fried artichoke hearts, and a half-pound of peel-and-eat shrimp meeting two pints of Strongbow, two shots of Johnny Walker Black, and a glass of merlot that would have eaten the shell off an egg. So for the week, I’m still ahead.

Dinner and a movie. Right. It’s a blog about dinner and a movie.

Had, in honour of the blog, calamari. I believe strongly in theme-based meals and, indeed, theme-based living. Tuesday was obviously Giant Squid Day. Today, I think, is Literary Day. There I was eating calamari in honour of my Giant Squid blog entries, although the calamari in this case was more micro- than macro-squidopic, but still pretty good. I think a Mango Madness counts as a serving of fruits, don’t you? From the agonies the blender went through it must certainly have its share of dietary fiber. And, I am sure, the RDA for cheap vodka goodness. Gotta luv White Spot.

The movie. Narnia. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m late. Scroll down and check out PeterPan if you want to see me catching up on something that won a Webby in 2000-and-bloody-1-ferchrissakes. I was born a month late, so by my count I’m still really early most of the time. So, Narnia it was.

Knowing the book as well as I do, there weren’t a whole lot of surprises in it for me, although it did come as a bit of a shock when I realized that Maugrim was speaking with a distinct Canadian accent. Is this some kinda xenophobic crack, people? Watch it. I mean, I didn’t hear the Minotaur speaking Greek, did I?

Timber Wolf

Sure, it was a timber wolf and all (I live in Canada, I know a timber wolf when I see one; hell, I’ve seen them in the wild and petted a tame timber wolf, not to mention the time in Algonquin Park when I was a munchkin and we all went out on the official Wolf Howl, sitting around in a big circle, 60 of us campers, in the dark, listening to a lecture by the nice Mr. Park Ranger Guy and then waiting in silence for the wolves to start howling – seems kinda optimistic, eh? sitting there in the middle of the night with a whackload of strangers, waiting for wolves to howl – but they did: one, up in the north, followed by a long and, we could feel, pregnant silence, then some beta-wolf, the kind who never wants to go into a restaurant if there’s nobody in there already but will go if you go first, answered, then another, and another, and soon the hills were literally echoing with the cries of wild wolves; a more beautiful sound I have never heard, nor ever hope to. It was eerie, and exquisite, earthy beyond comprehension; you simply felt it more than heard it, and utterly, utterly indifferent to Man. Which made it all the more strange when Mr. Park Ranger Guy encouraged us to, one by one, join in. We didn’t feel we had the right. But Mr. Park Ranger Guy was the alpha, and he started, and we did, indeed, all join in. The wolves fell silent. You could imagine them turning to one another with puzzled lupine expressions, their brows furrowing like grizzled Sharpeis, and saying, “Can you make that out? It’s the funniest damn accent I ever heard.” Perhaps they were embarrassed for us, the obvious tourists. Gawd, we even appeared touristy to the wildlife! And it was too dark for them to see our chinos! But after a few minutes, Mr. Alpha Wolf said, “To hell with it, I’m gonna get my full howlin’ allowance in tonight, tourists or no tourists,” and the rest of them followed him and so did we. It was the most peculiar, the most delightful, and the most transcendant harmony of which I have ever been a part. Imagine howling with the wolves, and the wolves howling back. It both put humanity in its place and assured it that it had a place, and should you ever be in Algonquin Park I recommend that you find yourself a Mr. or Ms. Park Ranger and ask about going on a wolf howl) but I do think (yes, that was a parenthetical. Scroll up) that making a nasty villain the only Canadian in the entire film…oh, wait.

Do they have beavers in England?

Okay, scratch that. Um, so to speak: I do not suggest you scratch a beaver, even if you have one handy. Nothing but trouble comes from that.

But I guess we’re even. One big baddie, two little goodies. Canucks all, but from their accents the Beavers musta been Maritimers. But didn’t Trumpkin say that by Caspian’s time there were no more beavers in Narnia? Wiped out! Is that ethnic cleansing? Was C.S. Lewis traumatized by a Canadian when he was young? Let’s get the UN and NATO on this ASAP!

So, my friend was settling in to watch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but meanwhile she was also eavesdropping on the two men in the row in front of her. One was complaining to the other about how all movies are merchandised to the gills; Fantastic Four figurines, Batman meals at fast food outlets, probably Spidermanburgers somewhere. “You can just see it,” he said. “Narnia Nuggets, Tumnus action figures. C.S. Lewis must be rolling in his grave.”

“Yeah,” said his more laconic friend. “He’s probably thinkin’, ‘Screwtape that!‘”


7 thoughts on “Howl, Canadian Edition

  1. What’s up with the trick question about England….Keeping us on our toes, as per usual…You’re one lucky one, Raincoaster…..


  2. Well, I have a lot of Brit readers…and I would have assumed, if England had beavers, that they would have long since hunted them to extinction with packs of hounds. I have friends who say they’ve had encounters with specimens of British beaverdom, but I’m not sure we’re really talking about the same thing. Regardless, they say they are much more carnivorous than the Canadian kind.

  3. Hey, what a great wolf story. I lived in Fairbanks Alaska for about ten years, and my husband and I built a cabin out in Goldstream Valley. There were wolves out there, and I frequently howled back to them when they were talking at night. It was otherworldly and wonderful. One day I was riding my bike to work and caught up with one of the pack as he trotted along the shoulder of the road headed for the bridge over Goldstream Creek. Guess he didn’t want to get his feet wet. I immediately had all the emotions of the Russian peasant in his troika, but this animal was intent on ignoring me. He was very long and tall, but very thin. Winter had not been kind to him, plus he was shedding his winter coat, so he was an extremely unprepossessing wolf. I admit to pedalling a little faster as I headed away from him towards town.

  4. There is really something mysterious and otherworldly about wolves, isn’t there? Coyotes just haven’t got the same mojo.

    Thanks for the story, and the compliment.

  5. Coyotes got lots of mojo but where there are wolves there are fewer of us. The hunting of wolves led to an abundance of coyotes surviving on the urban edges, rather than dwelling in the countryside.
    I was raised in the bush and countryside and have identified with coyotes since childhood. I learned many lessons from them but now howling for me is a monthly full moon ritual that others also take part in.
    This is how we do it . You make a howl list as the month goes by. You scribble down key words required to record all the people and incidents, etc. that made you want to scream, cry, whatever. You read it one last time, burn it and release it and the associated emotions, while you howl at the full moon. :0 owowowWOOOoooooooo

  6. That sounds very cool. And absolutely perfectly BC, too.

    I was in Not-Ucluelet a few years ago and, apropos of nothing, a fellow asked me if I were into ritualistic mushroom-fuelled sex magic ceremonies. We’d been talking about the post office. I said no, and why? He said they were doing a Hunter’s Moon fertility ceremony on Meares Island soon, and was I interested. Unfortunately, I had to leave town that day, but I was certainly intrigued.

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