The scenery of the west Kootenays is probably the first I ever consciously encountered in my life, and though it was eventually superseded by the nearly opposite landscapes of my later childhood in Mexico, the visceral feeling of my early childhood landscapes never left me. Indeed, I feel as if they have been lurking about in my subconscious waiting to be let out and shared both my characters and my readers.
Of course, very young children experience the world with the totality of their being for its newness, so that every one of us has a childhood terrain embedded in our subconscious. I spent a great deal of my time alone outside as a very small child, and now, when I begin to imagine characters doing anything in King’s Cove, those memories all come to the surface, and for a time I am there again. I remember the smells, the feel and sound of the air and wind, the dazzling play of greens and water in sunshine and in shadow as if they were actual beings I interacted with. A rainy day there was more grey and looming, the snow on a morning more dazzling and white and hushed, than any I have known since.
I think that for people living in a rural environment, the landscape and the weather are more of a factor than for those of us who live in cities. One of my favourite books is The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. In it the author simply describes her surroundings in minute and intimate detail throughout the course of the seasons of the year 1906. She reminds us, I think, to slow down and not miss the intimacy of our deep and human relationship with landscape, colour and light.