Walking Alive, I was. South along Jones Avenue toward Lake Ontario when a bus passed by with these words emblazoned in three-foot text above the wheels: Walking Dead. Some movie, I guessed, maybe a Christmas flick but I knew nothing about it. Just these two words. So I gave myself a little word association exercise: walking dead…dead man walking. Slippery sidewalks after our first snow, waking to it as a lead local news story this morning, needing time to dig out my boots from the hell-hole of a basement cupboard. Stepping into the warmth of fake Canadian fur, boots bought on sale at the Bay. I was like a modern version, female version, coureurs du bois.
Here is some background on these historical brothers and maybe sisters gathered from a Canadiana.org web site. A site written for adolescent learners but we’re never too young or too old for refreshing.
When the fur trade began First Nations and Inuit people brought their furs to the trading posts by canoe. They exchanged them for axes, muskrats, knives, blankets, whisky and pots. Soon the coureurs du bois decided to hell with the middle men and headed off for the woods themselves, armed with the same weapons they were swapping plus the know-how and survival skills they pilfered.
They learned how to paddle a canoe, hunt and snowshoe. They ate pemmican, deer meat, dried corn and peas. They carved maps into the bark of trees. Early wood scribes. There I was in my fake fur tramping down the snow in front of Pizza Pizza, pondering lunch and preparing to blog.
Walking dead. Historical figures in furs. Or literary figures like those ghouls on fire pestering Dante and Virgil as they tried to climb a big hill while cursing Satan. These were my thoughts after the bus passed along spewing fumes. And now that I’ve indulged my unfettered imagination, conjuring Canada’s First Peoples and thieves and dead poets, I’ll slide off this screen and Google that two word phrase to see what they heck the bus was trying to tell me…
Ah! It’s a television program!
“Police officer Rick Grimes leads a group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies.”
Ah, yes indeed.