Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…
The last day of a holiday is bittersweet. Driving away from the mountains is always something I regret… I watch them fade in the rear view mirror and I think… what am I doing? I feel like the wild one trailered and towed away from my freedom. I tried to make the day last but the time passed and miles fell away and soon I was back to it. Back to the everyday life – not that there’s anything wrong with my everyday life… it’s just busier, and noisier, and faster paced. My extra-long weekend didn’t depend on time or schedules; it wasn’t filled with noise or the unnecessary. And nature doesn’t work that way. When the sun was out, so was I. The quiet of a Sunday morning was prime for locating the reason for my journey. When my body was tired and the quest accomplished, I stayed in and rested. Today, I was showered and packed and on the road by 10:00 am. As I got closer to Edmonton, the “back to it” increased and the relaxing feelings of the weekend faded away with the return to rush hour traffic.
On the return trip I retraced most of my steps with a quick stop here and there, must mostly I kept to the beaten path and was back to the city by 4:00 pm. I picked up my keys and met Ray for a drink and supper to close out my day. I return to be with those I love, to resume my job and work my company, but forever in my memory and in my heart, I know there is something that no one or nothing can take away from me… my chance encounter to see the wild horses where they belong – free and unhindered. Always follow your dreams.
Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…
Fresh air and exploration takes it out of you – or, perhaps, it’s that feeling of satisfaction that just keeps you rooted to one spot – a happy, inspiring spot made for self-reflection and creativity. The camera was quiet today although the mind’s eye was a flicker with all the images snapped and transferred over the course of Day 2 and Day 3. Had I not found the horses yesterday, I would have been more eager to go out today – to seek and to find, confirming for myself that I could see them how they are, free, in nature. Had I not found the band I did, I would have had to go forth in order to fulfill my sense of holiday destiny.
If I had arrived Friday, I would have been moving on today, but the delay had a way of working out in the end especially when things are relaxed and flexible. Three days at “A Bed in Heaven” really was relaxing and desired. The weather held nicely today although the wind was cool at times, but in all reality, there is still snow on the ridges and hillsides nearby, in the fields and in the shadows – the breeze whispers chilling messages as it grasps the cold and flows by… in its windy way, it asks me what I discovered on my journey. How can express my appreciation and gratitude for this opportunity? As I write, it is calm now and the sun’s warmth feels heavenly upon me as I sit on the deck outside my room.
I discovered, as I have known for many years, I am good on my own, with more than enough interests to keep me busy, entertained, and occupied. That does not mean I am alone, nor do I want to be for any length of time – I want to be in love and I want to care about people – I deserve those who love and care about me. It’s really like the saying: the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. This… truly, has always been my quest.
I discovered that although I like to think I could go back to the ways of the world before the Internet and advanced communications, I don’t believe I could and don’t care to… there is just too much connectedness with my work and my networks through it to give it up completely. I have my lap top with me. I admit… I watched some TV. I checked emails and I posted to Facebook and to my blog. I could not text or phone, however… so it was quiet in a way that it isn’t when I am home. We are, though, bound to the limits of the technology itself. When there is no reception, no hook-ups, no way to connect… it doesn’t matter what you want or desire.
I discovered I am only limited by my own fears and insecurities – this is nothing to do with being loved, not about having friends or others around, not about jobs or work or money – but just about living without fear of what might happen. I keep to the path and stay safe. I know my limits and won’t push for more. I am contented with my journey – is it as exciting and adventurous as some? No. But it’s mine and I take it as I please. Because you step out of your comfort zone your mind tends to focus on the things you don’t know and cannot see – a cougar stalking you, coming across the path of a bear. In the wild, these things are my fears and tend to keep me tame in my quest. Again, with someone along for the hike, it might be a different story, but why puts oneself in harm’s way, just because you can. I can treasure my memories because, for the most part, they are not marred by incident. Yesterday’s issue reminded me of being 23 and so wrapped up in my own little world, lost in a stranger’s arms, that it panicked a travel companion to the point of reporting me missing. I never wanted to be that person again – it leads me to believe you cannot ever be free without someone standing there with your bridle and reins, saying, “Dammit, where is she?”
Some general impressions of my Easter long weekend journey:
- Why must some people throw cans and other garbage to the road side?
- Why do some drivers of trucks have to drive so fast?
- Why do those in a hurry travel the road less taken?
- To some people, horses make a mess… really?
- The numbers of wildies don’t warrant such opposition – less than a thousand animals? There is so much country out there – really?
- The tallest of towers does not provide reception amongst the tallest of trees and the tallest of mountains.
- My hosts at the B&B are amazing people.
- I take too many pictures!! Good thing this is the digital age and not 32 mm film!! (Regarding my comment above about the camera being quiet… I just downloaded 42 pictures… and I didn’t even leave the deck…)
- I see pictures in everything – except people – why is that? (My biggest regret was not having a recent picture of my mother – yet I still neglect the subject of people, for the most part.)
- You can pack all the fruit and vegetables and cheese and nuts you want… I feel like I am going to eat a gazillion hamburgers upon my return.
- As much as it would have been nice to have someone else along for the ride, I did do this thing for someone special… me!
Oh, yes… the lazy artist thing… well, I don’t think I was lazy at all. I only slept until 8:00. I worked on some editing. I read through and plotted the illustrations for two stories I am working on with one of my DWP authors. I wrote and posted 4 blogs so far. And I took a gazillion photos. I did not put any miles on the car today and plan to be up and out early tomorrow morning. I haven’t decided my return route but I like a road I have not taken before… or I could return the same way. Thinking like a wild horse… that’s the power of freedom.
Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…
I spent time with my delightful hosts, Ingrid and Mike, over breakfast and coffee served in their beautiful, awe-inspiring home. It is built on a southwest facing parcel of land complete with trails and a creek, lots of trees and long winding driveway. They share their dream of coming to Canada and eventually obtaining this amazing property, building their home, and living each day to the fullest. Ingrid shares stories of sledding with her dogs, designing web sites from the very beginning, and Mike – he ensures firewood is always cut – their home is fully heated by a wood burning external fire “place” that channels warmth to the in-floor heating. A severely cold winter depleted the firewood stores…
My plan for the day was to go out and take pictures – make hay while the sun shines, so to speak – it was a beautiful foothills morning.
I am sitting in this bowl of sunshine and silence with an alpine breeze threading its way through the valley – it’s cool and it whispers through the pines. It comes down from the snow-covered ridges… listen to it. I am all alone, yet here, with respect and awe, I feel as if a part of something much large than me. No other traffic has passed me – no other life forms walk nearby. The tempo of the wind rises and falls, rustling the new evergreens… they sway and relay the soft sung message of the mountains. I can tell it is close to noon, now, as the sun is directly overhead, but as any city slicker would… I check my phone… 11:55 am. Some would think it crazy to just sit here alone. But always alert, I watch the weather, the roads, and listen to the sounds of nature all around me. I don’t wander off. I am not a hiker; besides Ingrid pointed out before I left – we are in bear country, and watch for the cougars… they are more of a threat. I haven’t seen any, yet.
The sky is that Alberta blue and the fluffy white clouds drift in, plump up, then scatter… leaving clear, direct warmth from the high noon sun. This is a great spot to bask in nature, draw its calming effects into my soul – take time to contemplate and write these feelings. This point is about 25 kilometers in and I decided this would be where I turn back because the road ahead not only climbs further into the back woods, it also appears to narrow, there is more snow, and it’s muddy from the seasonal melt. I do things I like to do but I don’t push the limits – a four-wheel drive and companion might allow for further exploration that way or another… or maybe even dry summer roads? There is no cell phone service here – my phone hasn’t picked up a tower since I left the B&B. I wrote this while sitting in the sun without worry to anything else. (Note to self: it would have been good to alleviate the ensuing issue by signing into the Wi-Fi before leaving on the day’s excursion… or perhaps, not taking a break from connectedness the night before by sleeping – could have got the Wi-Fi code the previous evening??? Oh, and don’t forget the backup Rogers Rocket Hub at home… because then you have absolutely no connection to anyone but yourself…)
I am almost a tearful happy it is so inspiring and almost too much – can that be? I hear my own heart beating and feel gladness having found my reason for this deep sojourn into the trees and foothills. I assume I found my wildies – the herd grazed contentedly along the edge of trees, scratching themselves on tree branches, and laying in soft pine needles. They watched me – parked at the road’s edge – and were not bothered to move on until I got out of my car. They didn’t rush off but took time to regard me with indifference as they ambled beyond the rise and down beyond to where I would not follow. The mare stopped to look once more.
The stallion came out of the trees to the right and stood to watch me, too. I took a couple of pictures; then let him be… the attention aroused him.
My writing was interrupted by a group of hikers descending from an adjacent path – time to return. The trip back was punctuated with more traffic, some speeding by – where are you going in such a hurry? So much for the quiet Easter morning trunk road… I understand the work crews and truckers who are making a dime, but do you others take the road less traveled so you can get to where you are going quicker? What happened to appreciating the journey?
Arrived back at B&B to appease my friends and family of my status – I am fine. There is something to be said for disconnecting.
I feel disconcerted but am happy with my holiday discoveries. I am reminded of Ingrid’s statement at breakfast. She told me of taking a session on Time Management … and employers loved her ability to manage time. She wondered, however, of her ability to manage her life time… after all, you only have one.
Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…
The delay was short-lived – Saturday morning dawned bright and full of sunshine and, as the day progressed, the temperature steadily increased. The roads were clear with the exception of the shaded parts into Mandy’s acreage in the morning – there I dropped the keys for pet sitting and garnered a hug and a wish for safe journey from a friend. It was a quick crossing as I bypassed Sherwood Park via the Yellowhead through Edmonton heading west. Ray was busy running errands so I only made a quick pit stop in Spruce Grove to pick up my morning coffee at the 7-11.
I headed west on Highway 16 to take the Drayton Valley turn south. Highway 22 runs south along the foothills, jogging this way and that… it’s called the Cowboy Trail. I enjoy taking new ways to get places. Through Drayton Valley and east then south again into the County of Wetaskiwin headed for Rocky Mountain House… although I have been there before, this was a new way in for me. Clearwater County gave way to Mountain View County as I headed to Sundre from Caroline. It was then just a quick 30 minute trip west on 584 to my Bed & Breakfast reservations – A Bed in Heaven.
From the door facing out… ah, well… self explanatory!
From my room you can see foothills to the southwest. I spent some time checking out the area and getting my bearings so I might travel a little further and in different directions. My hosts told me they had wildies at the corner beyond their property a couple of months ago. All the commotion in the area probably sent them further into the bush, however. I saw a helicopter circling the areas around Sundre as I drove through – it was probably totally unrelated.
My drive ventured to the Forestry Trunk Road but I doubled back soon thereafter knowing I would follow it on another trip – I had already driven most of the day what with stopping for picture-taking and all. I didn’t see any animals except these two contented ponies. They were inside fencing and appeared to be groomed – at least it was my perception – they are not wildies.
Hazy sun and study of trees…
…then back to the B&B… my evening was a little bit less exciting. I didn’t want to bother my hosts to ask for the Wi-Fi code and knew I could get it at breakfast in the morning. My cell phone was not picking up any signal so I could not message anyone… I downloaded the pictures from the day… 66… and then wrote the beginning of this post. I was tired so I went to bed early. It was a good start to my weekend holiday.
Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial
With the generosity of our workplace allowing both Good Friday and Easter Monday as stat holidays, and my regular day off falling on Tuesday… this year’s Easter weekend is super long… ah… 5 days! What are my plans?
I am not sure when the idea hit me but it was in the midst of 2013 amongst the angst and anger and residual anguish – I decided that when all was said and done I would begin to do some things just for me – without feeling like it was selfish and without guilt of experiencing happiness. I read several quotes recently that proposed a life unlived wasn’t a life at all and doing something different would expand not only your external experiences, but equally contribute to your inner growth. I, therefore, would plan a trip to seek the Alberta wild horses. At that time, it was not determined when the trip would take place although claiming it to be mine solidified for me that it would, indeed, happen…
Earlier this year, I decided my trip would be in April. Prompted by the ominous winter (it’s always ominous, and for me, it gets more so as the years go by…) and encouraged by the fact that 2014 is the year of the horse on the Chinese calendar… well, it just made sense – there is almost a serendipitous magic to it. Why seek the horses, some may ask? Many confess to loving horses… most respect their beauty and devotion to purpose. Some own them. Some admire them at a distance, their large stance even provoking fear in some. Some advocate for the wild one’s protection while others are ignorant to their plight. I did not grow up around horses but I do remember the love for them perpetuated by those around me – my mom being one who loved them from a distance but feared them up close. I think I was born with this connection and would grow to experience my own quest for freedom through their spirit and tenacity. I did all the things that girls who love horses do – they were a favored subject for artwork, I purchased horse magazines when I was in Junior High… coveting the photos and dreaming of my own as a wanna-be equestrian, I went to all the horse shows and rodeos and my walls were pinned with their picturesque beauty. My off and on encounters, over the years continued and included: trail riding on the ridge above the town site of Jasper AB, working promotional sales at the big white Cavalia tent in Toronto in 2005, attending the Cavalia horse show in Edmonton with a dear friend in 2012, tattooing my wildhorse logo on my shoulder… and writing under “freeing the creative spirit” as willdhorse33 online.
There is no reason why my desire to be near to them is any more than any other who feels as I do… it’s just that it is something very personal, deep inside, almost inexplicable – it’s an emotion that hits when you see them standing out there in the fields; your heart begins to race when you see them run, and it’s almost like you can feel the breeze as it passes through their mane.
In going out there one might ask what I am looking for – is there something I’m expecting to find? I would answer that I have found it in the decision to go, to seek, to search for that which connects so deeply to my own spirit. I am not fearless and adventurous – I won’t go traipsing into the bush with high hopes of capturing their images. I just need to be there, where they are… I am not the activist although I will always support efforts to protect and stand for the cause. I am an artist willing to draw them and a photographer wanting to immortalize my experience.
Day 1: This is springtime in Alberta and on April 18th – it snowed overnight and Good Friday was not good in the weather department. With several days ahead, and an understanding bed and breakfast host, the trip will just be delayed. I cursed the snow… but Ray reminded me, “It’s just a delay. It will be better tomorrow.” The voice of reason and it did give us time to spend together before I departed for my dream chasing journey. Friends were comforted by my sense of caution and willingness to remain at home. But my ride is antsy and wants to run. My trigger finger is itching to take a plethora of photos to pictoralize the passage. Whoa, there… tomorrow will be here before you know it.
So with Coleman, Canon, and creativity awaiting departure, this is how Day 1 moves into history. It lazily takes me into the journey with time to contemplate the days ahead, cherish time in the moment spent with a special person, and feel gratitude for the opportunity afforded me.
“On your journey to your dream, be ready to face oasis and deserts. In both cases, don’t stop.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Timely and timeless – chasing dreams … synchronicity in the date and the day of this reblog!
Originally posted on Mandy Eve Barnett's Official Blog:
I came across this incredible quote this morning, it touches something deep inside. Our dreams can be so fragile but without them are we truly living? To pursue a dream gives us hope for the future but also gives our life purpose. If we do not strive for something what is the purpose of our lives? I know this is a bit deep for a Tuesday, but its just how these quotes affected me.
Our journey through life is a series of lessons – some we would rather not learn at the time but later (sometimes much later!) we look back and realize without that experience we would not be the person we are…
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