The time and place is the turn of the last century in Banff, Alberta. Nestled in the Rockies, it’s a world that, until now, has done its best to live up to the European view of the region: rough, crass, and largely lawless. The settlers came in search of wealth, carried here on trains riding the 3000 miles of steel ribbon that recently linked one ocean with another, spanning the continent of North America.
That is the setting for Jens Kruger’s narrative work “Spirit of the Rockies”. The piece begins as a man in old age thinks back to when he first arrived in the Canadian Rockies to work as a guide. There he fell in love, from a distance, with a young woman who mysteriously went missing. We listen as he recalls how his brief encounter with her forever changed his perceptions of himself and his place in the world. A defining time in his life, it is one that all these years later he still struggles to fully understand.
Ultimately, his is a story of discovery about how a new land, and a new perspective, can lead us to find new things in ourselves. “Spirit of the Rockies”, says Kruger of the mountains themselves, “is our own falling in love and our own understanding of beauty. …[The understanding that] we are part of this world, and it is a part of us”.