Feed a squirrel, become a squirrel.

The continuing saga of a writing residency. Today: dinnertime hijinks and ensuring hilarity.

Upon on Sulphur mountain.

How can it already be day six?


Dinnertime conversation this evening: the devising of a theory that a curse lies over the valley that Banff sits in. If you feed the wildlife here, you become that wildlife. Feed a squirrel, become a squirrel. Feed one of the trail riding horses, doomed to become a horse yourself. Hence the posting of signs in Banff warning that feeding the wildlife is illegal. It’s not so much to protect the wildlife…it’s to protect tourists from turning into squirrels and elk. Also discussed: the Butterball turkey hotline, why all Canadian airports start with the letter Y and whether or not we should rename Canadian cities to match: Yalgary, Yoronto, Yancouver…and how we’d sound very Norwegian if we did.

The view a-horseback.

Man, I love mealtime at the Banff Centre.

Fred and Francis.

I went horseback riding with Fred this morning – out along the river and up into the hills on a guided tour. We had a really lovely time. Fred had a horse named Francis, and I rode a horse named Troy. When we got into the cab to go back to the Banff Centre, the driver asked us how the ride was. When I said that I had a horse named Troy, he said, “Oh, Troy! I love Troy! He’s such a great guy!”

Me and Troy.

Hence the first part of the dinnertime conversation, actually. Fred and I had been up to the gondola on Sulphur Mountain, and we’d heard a staff member lecturing a tourist about feeding the squirrels (rightly so – it’s illegal in the national park and clearly marked). The lecture was withering – I’d have been terribly upset if I’d been on the receiving end of this: “Sir, you have shortened the life of that squirrel.” So we were recounting this, along with the story of the cab driver who knew the horse…and reasoned that if you become a squirrel if you feed a squirrel, a cabbie named Troy must have fed a horse and, well…you see how it goes.


It’s one of those things where you kinda had to be there. Suffice it to say that we laughed so hard that we cried.


So here it is…the end of the day, and I’m back in my studio (a little sore from riding, but not too bad). I’ve got some writing to do to make up my daily goal – about two thousand words a day will see me finishing the novel by day eighteen, I think. I hope!

Upon on Sulphur mountain.

The meals:
Breakfast: eggs, bacon, Belgian waffle, yogurt, grapefruit, peaches, coffee, orange juice
Lunch: salmon sandwich with pickle, tomato and Swiss cheese, cottage cheese, broccoli salad
Dinner: salmon fillet in lemon butter sauce, jasmine rice, Caesar salad, broccoli with cheese, a dinner roll, cranberry juice mixed with club soda, hilarity

2 thoughts on “Feed a squirrel, become a squirrel.

  1. So it turns out, I kind of like horseback riding. Who would have guessed? My thanks again to Heather for suggesting it — it’s most definitely not something I would have sought out on my own while I was there but it was easily worth my nervousness riding down hills — and, of course, the ever-present threat of being turned into a horse myself, should I fall victim to the Banff curse.

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