Eren: Annie, I have been following you through your photos in The Magnifying Glass flickr pool. Thank you for letting me interview you!
Annie: Thanks, Eren. The Magnifying Glass blog is one I enjoy a great deal!
Eren: Would you tell us a little about your family and the area you live in?
Annie: My husband, Cam and I live with our children, Lily (7) and Leif (3) on the north pacific coast of British Columbia in a city called Prince Rupert. Touted as "The City of Rainbows", it's known for it's rain... and rain and more rain. I've discovered just how lovely it is to photograph a place with so much rain. I'm in love with all the green!
There are endless places to explore here. We love to spend time island hopping or fishing on a friend's boat or spending time at our cabin just a few hours away on a remote river. This area isn't very populated by world standards and it's not hard to find places to go where you'll have nature to yourself. There is a rich native heritage here with a number of native groups. Evidence of this culture can be found all over, like the vast shell middens and stone petroglyphs.
Eren: What would a perfect day out and about in nature look like for you?
Annie: We've had many perfect days this summer! Recently we found ourselves camped on an unnamed remote beach. It was enormous. We woke to the warm sun and the sounds of Grey Whales blowing and diving just off shore. They were feeding by scooping up the sandy sea floor capturing little sea creatures in their baleen. We spent most of our time beach combing and exploring an eighty year old shipwreck flattened on the rocks usually hidden by higher tides. We built campfires and ate skillet cooked bread that had been rising most of the day. We ate fresh caught crab with our supper and banana boats for dessert. Of course there was also running after dark on the sandy beach to watch the phosphoresces glow underfoot.
Eren: Oh, Wow Annie, that sounds amazing. I would love to see Grey Whales in real life someday. What a treat! My boys can't get enough of cicadas right now. What are your kids into these days? What are their favorite outdoor activities?
Annie: I remember your post about the cicadas! I'd never seen one before. My kids love to collect small treasures wherever we go. They'll carry baskets and find witch's hair, pine cones, shells, rocks and feathers. We've found parts of animal skeletons like moose jaws and elk antlers. We even have a small collection of teeth (bear, elk, deer). Lily and Leif also love to set up forest forts or "seaweed cafes" when we are on the beach. Fun for endless pretend play.
Eren: Seaweed cafes! I love it! Did you grow up doing "outdoors-y" kinds of things?
Annie: Oddly I didn't. I've written before on my blog about how my life completely changed when I met my husband. Shortly after meeting him, he convinced me to swim in a lake for the first time in my life. Hiking, skiing and all other things outdoors were new for me. Cam was so gentle and encouraging. I started taking pictures and I spending my free time chronicling the local wild flowers from year to year. Anything to be outside. More and more I'm excited and driven to give my children a different childhood than the one I knew growing up. One with plenty of hands on outdoor experience.
Eren : So what lessons are you (and your kids) learning by being in the natural world these days?
Annie: I love the quiet moments best. Watching a slug cross the path or spying on moose and bear feeding in a meadow. Away from the city lights the stars are bright and the constellations are clear. There are moments when someone will hold their breath so as not to alarm wild horses or a beaver who have yet to catch our scent. This "in the moment" mindfulness is my favourite. I hope my kids are learning in these moments to let nature be as much as possible and to tread lightly.
Of course the most common lesson we learn is about the cycle of life. Watching as a Bald Eagle flaps his huge wings to aid in tearing open a wolf's headless corpse. Touching and learning about a fish's parts while cleaning it to take home to eat. Seeing the vast destruction of a local 250 year old lava flow and talking about the villages wiped out and the lives lost.
Eren: What great things to experience with your kids! And onto another topic - We love books here at The Magnifying Glass. Any good books you would recommend for our readers?
Annie: Some recent favourites my kids and I have been reading are:
- Down at The Seaweed Cafe (Perry)
- How Seeds Travel (Overbeck)
- Nature Crafts (Jaeger)
- Bugs (Usborne Books/Dickins)
- How To Make and Fly Kites (Barwell/Bailey)
Thank you Annie! It has been wonderful getting to know a bit more about you and your family.