Tthe following lofty tome struck me as I was unable to get back to sleep with sunlight spilling through my cotton blinds. It rambles a bit, but indulge me. When I started this, the sky was filled with azure blue, birds singing, soaring, and the gorgeous sunlight I’ve been longing for. It’s an hour later, now, and merely a band of sunny light remains, splitting the now-gloomy onslaught of non-descript grey and charcoal clouds spreading out towards the east.
It’s a sunny morning, a rare thing here on Canada’s West Coast in this, the doldrums of winter. A news report out of Seattle yesterday commented that it was the 22nd consecutive day with rain, and though the morning has gotten off to a beautiful start, I expect that here in Vancouver, the pattern of wetness will continue by day’s end, if the weathermen have their shit right.
Weather’s something we don’t often look far into. Rain is rain, sun is sun, and you’re lucky when it’s the latter, right?
But there’s so much more to it. It shapes us, who we are, how we act. If one was to look at population densities, for example, here on Canada’s West Coast, we’re not nearly as populated as Eastern Canada. BC has a fraction of Ontario’s population. What, then, explains our absolutely disproportionate number of serial killers?
Vancouver’s one of the most beautiful places in the world in the summer, and in the winter, one of the dreariest. This past month hasn’t been an exception. The depression that spreads through this city is insane at this time of year, and makes one think of all the strangeness that unfolds at times.
This morning, I’ve been lying there, having been conscious of the sun’s upping for the last 45 minutes, thinking. Thinking at first about public sex, and how spring evokes for me that want to get outdoors and be active, but also the passion that comes with warm, fragrant spring nights and dewy grass with flowers on the cusp of blossoming. Despite those thoughts, I found myself remembering one Vancouver winter night years ago when a lover and I threw down my trenchcoat and had mad sex atop it on the muddy river banks of the Fraser, under a soaring giant oak tree, as torrential rains fell without relent. Yes, indeed, a true west coast girl.
But then I began thinking how my mood of late has struggled to stay up, as it always does in the dreary darkness of this season, and how connected our psychologies are to light, warmth, and weather. And I thought of how sex is one of the few activities one can really enjoy at this time of year, if they’re not into snowboarding or the like.
And I thought of those who haven’t the option of just acquiring a lover the good old-fashioned way, those who need to purchase sex. And how the continued need to do so must evoke some sort of anger or bitterness in the purchaser. To tell the truth, prostitution has been on my mind a lot thanks to a fascinating novel I’m reading about a 43”-high dwarf living in Ireland’s County Cork, a beautiful book with titillating language and brilliant observations, that will probably fuel at least a couple postings on this lowly rag of debauchery.
But I thought most about that absolute bastard, Robert Pickton, Vancouver’s notorious Pig Farm Serial Killer who’s presently facing charges, with a ban on the press, for the murders of 27 women since the ‘80s, though some suggest the fucker’s responsible for the deaths of up to 60 local prostitutes – all disadvantaged women from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, forced by life’s circumstances to work in the sex trade.
Pickton apparently lured these disenfranchised sex-trade workers to his home out in Surrey with the promise of drugs and cash, then brutally killed them after what are said to be lurid parties on his isolated pig farm, and fed them to his pigs. The recovery operation for DNA evidence on his sprawling farm and its troughs was one of the largest archaeological digs in Canadian history.
If you look at this part of the world, the beauty, the nature, the geography, it speaks mostly to being God’s country. Some years, the weather’s reprehensible, though, and you wonder what it does to people with less stability than someone like myself. I recall the year I spent living in the Yukon, where though the days were short in the winter, the sun would emerge daily and fill the air with the brightest, cleanest, most mesmerizing light I have ever seen. There, I’d met a lady who’d lived in Vancouver all her life and she said to me, “I just couldn’t fucking handle the winters anymore. The year I moved here, it was 45 days straight of rain. I felt like crying every morning by the end of all that, and nothing I could do would change my mood. I’ve never been so hopeless, so desolate…” She moved there, and had never felt that way again. I noticed that I had no depression that winter, a first for me in my life, and the only time I’ve escaped winter sadness since.
It’s no coincidence that off the British Columbian coast is one of the top 10 sailing destinations in the world in the summer… but the region was clearly discovered in the winter, since its name speaks volumes: Desolation Sound.
Pickton’s not the only legendary killer from this region, and not the only one to prey on sex trade workers. There’s the Green River Killer who worked not only in Washington, but occasionally here in Vancouver. A classmate of mine in elementary school, his sister was killed by the GRK. Robert Clifford Olson, another Vancouver man, killed 11 boys that they found, but he wanted authorities to believe there might’ve been dozens more, though he refused to cooperate on his alleged conquests.
The murders are disproportionate to the populations, and to the violence found here on the whole. We don’t get a lot of gun violence or random killings, with an average of 30 murders per year, with most of those being gang- and drug-related, but when it comes to serial killers, we’ve written the book. And nothing, for the life of me, can explain it away, except for the dark, dreary, depressing weather we get from October through to April.
So… though I should be sleeping a little longer, the notion of missing what may well be the only sunny morning for another week or two, and the first in more than three weeks, well, that’s just unforgiveable. My coffee’s brewing, and all my blinds are up, to soak in the little natural light I’ll see in the days to come.
I’ve touched slightly on the local sex trade in this posting, and it’s more just setting the scene for what will be a bit of a focus at some point in the next couple weeks. We prefer to think of the sex trade as escorts with standards and high-price call-girls, but here in Vancouver, with dozens of lowbrow prostitutes disappearing off our streets, dying horrific deaths, being fed to ravenous pigs, or other debauched means of disposal, I assure you… we’ve seen it all in a more dreary light. And my little wheels have certainly been turning. It’s another reason I felt I wanted to write on promiscuity last week, since all these things combine in a strange circle of life.