It’s Not Just About the Destination

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“It’s not just about the destination” sums up my thoughts while traveling to escape the noise and fast pace of the city and my work-business life. It is not to escape who I am or what I love to do… my passion and commitment are firm, although, at times, I doubt the strength I have to continue on certain paths. Plagued by self-assessment, as anyone might be while trying to navigate the rough roads of every day, I often wonder if I should just run off on some other trail–change my direction–change my destination. Then, I remind myself… it’s not just about the destination because, in fact, we all end up the same place anyway. It is all about how you see your journey there and I am constantly reminding myself to stay in the moment without worry about what happens in the end. Therefore, I do realize that I see things somewhat differently depending upon my situation and location. This trip was about certain goals, but everything in between, before, and after is up to fate and fortune. What you make of a day is really what thought you put into it and the effort afforded to enjoy every moment. It will all be there when you return, so to worry about “what to do” or “what about” or “what if” is a waste of such a beautiful surrounding.

I am happy I am able to reflect on the time I take away–this time we were really tired at the end of the day and barely had supper and did a few mundane tasks before sleep claimed us. There is something about the mountain air and being out in the beauty of nature that fills you with enough that you are pleasantly exhausted. My knees couldn’t help but remind me that I did more than usual even though I try to do it on purpose, whenever I can, in order to claim every minute of the day in action. To bed early–one would think we’d stay up late writing… however, a tired body won out over a determined mind this week.

Day One arrival was nice and early and we could even check into our hotel room and then go exploring on Wednesday. We took a trip to the Beaver Boardwalk–my daughter recommended it last trip, but we didn’t make it there. Going this time was a treat. What a beautiful nature spot in Hinton! Yes, we have our ponds and walkways here at home, but sorry, Sherwood Park, the most obvious thing missing is setting… I sometimes (well, often) wonder why I still live here with so much soul/spirit connection to the mountains. This park was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours, wandering the boardwalk through the marshes and beaver habitat, traipsing some closer-in trails, and taking a look-out post in the tower to admire the view. I say closer-in because I am not one to wander onto the forest trails–hiking was a younger days sport for me due to my limitations, ones I have accepted, and am able to push to some extent enjoyment of the activities. Also, there’s the fact that we are in wildlife territory and bears and cougars just don’t excite me up close and personal. From the truck window, I am a brave soul – not on foot, however.

Trips away with my dear friend, Mandy, make me appreciate her even more because of the similarities we have –I don’t have to try to keep up and do things I feel out of my comfort zone with… we match in many ways–our appreciation for nature and its fragility to human invasion; yet, the strength and majesty and power of it awes us in the same breath. I could travel the same roads and see the same sights each day or weekend or whatever, and still be in wonder at the amazing embrace of nature–the bold colors of plants, the cuteness of a baby animal, the calming peace of water and wind, the warmth of sun–even if it only peaked through clouds throughout most of our mid-week trip.

We never lost sight of the reason for our trip, although it was in the back of our minds as we connected with the precious moments of each opportunity. The Beaver Boardwalk was more than just walking through a nature setting–it was about stopping and appreciating the finer details of plants, trees, the view, the colors, the sounds, smells, and feel of it all on your soul. Nature caresses one’s spirit with renewing qualities to create a mood of relaxation and connection. There was no sign of any wildlife–other than a couple of birds and fish in the ponds. I wondered about the lack of waterfowl on the ponds… Mr. and Mrs. Beaver must have been relaxing in the shade of their studious home–we saw signs of them being around, of course, but no chance sighting of the animals.

Impressions of the place are best in point form, because that is how they hit you when you are in the moment:

  • The song of the red-wing blackbird
  • The amazing arrangement of wooden walkways over water
  • The variety of flora with bursts of color that stand out so vivid against the greenery
  • The sound and tempo of the wind through the trees as it rises and falls
  • Sun peeking through the overhead canopy in an otherwise dull cloudy sky
  • The man who looked at me funny for taking an overhead picture… yes, look up, too!
  • Wire mesh protecting perimeter trees from industrious beaver clearing crews
  • Signs giving information about the place: make less noise to see more wildlife or be aware and cautious and informed of bears, cougars, wolves… :O
  • Picking up a couple of interesting stones from the rock pathway to commemorate
  • The lookout tower and amazing view of the nearby mountains through the trees
  • Patterns in nature–ripples on the water, long grass blowing in the wind, piles of drift-water-worn limbs

My thoughts may not match anyone else except for those who have the same appreciation for the beauty and magnificence of nature. But, even in that similarity, there are personal differences. The photos I take are not ones that another may take as I look for the shot that appeals to me; I don’t take people pictures; I don’t do selfies. I want the essence of the place where I am–what attracts me, what speaks to me. To each their own.

The take-away for this activity–always invest in the time to enjoy “every precious moment,” as a friend posted. The emotions that grab me in the mountains are awe-inspiring, captivating, yet overwhelming, at the same time. The thought that this glorious world we live in surrounds us for so short a time in comparison to its own life span is one for self-contemplation. No matter what you believe, it’s what adds to a beautiful life–it’s not just about the destination.

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Retreat Goals

Despite the turmoil of the months leading up to this weekend, my goal in going is to get away from the overwhelming every day – to focus on some of my own writing. I brought with me several projects to follow up on, which will include editing, designing, formatting. I hope to finish a few things so that I might move past this block that haunts me. Another novel to be done – An Italian Son – and my first kid’s picture book needs drawings. Can I determine the style I want to use for the illustrations?

I have also a company project in tow that I want to finish editing – it is in layout format so working through the reading achieves more than one end.

I am also hoping there’s a poem or two to be had – I will try to force the stoppage in order to free some words into a composition I will be happy with – I used to be so connected to poetry. What happened? Did it abandon me or did I abandon it? I know it’s not lost forever… just temporarily misplaced.

My camera is also my constant companion – there is always visual inspiration around, especially here: the birds are welcome subjects, trees and greenery, wood structures and pathways, squirrels and other wildlife supposedly around out there somewhere. If only the rain would let up. I will go out for walks to get some fresh air and connect with nature. It’s cooler, though, and cool, wet weather is not my friend.

Sidebar…

I wrote my goals at the beginning of the weekend – it was gloomy when we arrived but soon gave way to rain for the past couple of days. We definitely need the rain and would happily send it up north to the forests. In truth, we couldn’t have a fire inside in the fireplace the first couple of nights because of the dryness here at the Creek. Finally, the rain gauge showed enough moisture accumulation and sharing alongside the fire was a possibility the last two nights of our stay. I love warm spring weather, though… Sunshine – the one from the sky – why have you abandoned us this weekend?

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Strawberry Creek Lodge – Writing Retreat – Spring 2016

Blog 1 – The Retreat

Anticipation.

It’s been building since the day we left last year, brought on and encouraged by the positive results and the lasting effects of concentrating for days with one’s own muse. More time! So in answer to that request, we extended the trip one more night on the long weekend, which gave us one more full day of retreating to write. It’s funny that we need to retreat in order to bond or reconnect with our inner creativity. It’s the way life is, though – fast paced and loud, demanding and insistent. Surely a retreat is not always necessary – it’s a mini vacation for the mind and soul. If one truly takes the time to focus on “self”, while appreciating others’ need to do the same, the results are amazing and the argument for retreating is unarguably natural medicine for the ailing spirit.

Commitment.

Planning and soliciting attendance isn’t necessarily difficult or anxiety building until you get closer to the day and unanticipated events happen to cause holes to appear in your apparent flawless and effortless planning. Life happens – things come up that you cannot possibly foresee over the course of a year. The need to have minimum numbers causes the added pressure to ensure all the seats are filled. We are all thankful that a distress call put out there attracted the attention of like-minded individuals who could make the weekend getaway. Financial strains this year had me even questioning my spending; however, the benefit to my mental well-being far outweighed any other argument. It just means more work upon returning home.

Benefits.  

Nature. Focus. Amazing surroundings. Like-minded souls sharing your love for words. Ability to socialize, materialize, compromise – or just disappear into your own world, as needed. As a writer, the solitude is a blessing and it is made even more inspiring by the beautiful setting and lodge.

No – you don’t have to go away to write, but a retreat is an experience every writer should try during their writing journey. Most will go back for more – year after year. Others will savor the experience and move on, knowing they can always go again when warranted. For me, it is a place I could imagine retiring to in order to write to my heart’s content for the rest of my life… the whole working for a living thing-money and paying bills- thing that stops me for now. Every trip produces more work and creates memories shared with writing colleagues. Fellowships are forged – friendships are solidified. The wonderful thing about Strawberry Creek Lodge is the myriad of delightful nooks and crannies where one can hole up for a time or stake out for the duration; the rooms are wonderful sleeping and private working quarters to spread out your tools and prepare to produce; the meals… the meals are marvelous. Imagine being called to the table by the cowbell at set times to enjoy amazing meals with your retreat pals. No cooking. No dishes. No cleaning.

Pitfalls.

None. Unless, of course, you count the fact that you won’t want to go home and you might attempt to kidnap Brenda, our awesome host/cook, because you never want to have to cook again… ever…

As a dedicated writer, invested in your passion – you will utilize every moment possible to focus on your words; be kind to yourself with rest and relaxation; socialize at appropriate times; connect with your inner creativity and nature. For those who couldn’t go – there is sadness in what life brings – but there is always next year.

A Writing Retreat. It is not something that is necessary – but it is something life-altering to those with a serious passion for word creativity. The retreat is a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of solitude away from every day distractions to focus specifically on writing. It’s a recharge for the creative battery.

See you next year – keep on writing!

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The Road Ahead

It is the first day of a New Year. I feel good and with that feeling are thoughts of starting things afresh while remaining real in my good intentions. Resolutions. Promises. Whatever labels you might attach, they are part of the road ahead… This immediately brings to mind the saying and I had to look it up in order to get it right… to me “the road ahead is paved…” made just as much sense and, for the purpose of my post, was spot on. In fact, the “hell” part didn’t even come to mind, but it was an interesting read and the underlying meaning was apparent after doing so.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” One meaning of the phrase is that individuals may have the intention to undertake good actions but nevertheless fail to take action. Procrastination, laziness, or other obstacles may be the cause of the failure. In any case, the saying is an admonishment that good intentions are meaningless unless followed by action. A different interpretation of the saying is wrongdoing is often masked by good intentions, or possibly that good intentions, even when enacted, may have unforeseen bad consequences (hence the “hell” aspect). (source: Wikipedia)

With all the projects going on I have neglected time for my own creativity. Lately, I have embraced the freedom the office gives me as I am able to leave the physicality of my company work in the office – I say physicality because my mind never turns off completely to the concept of publishing. I live for it. But, living it and then leaving it “at the office” has given me the time to do things at home that need to be done. It has also allowed me the opportunity to engage in creative actions that feed my soul – one of late is coloring my own sketches AND adult coloring books given to me by my sister. Throughout this trying year, my focus was on projects signed by Dream Write Publishing, and that is what made 2015 an amazing year – we published 15 new works!

In order to boost and infuse my own creative spirit, I shuffled ideas around in my head and challenged myself to come up with some plan that might keep me on track – for the day, the month, the year… There are those of you who know how well that goes for me! It’s all good – the putting to paper what needs attention – the infamous to-do list with its promise of organization and achievement – but I am embracing who I am and what I enjoy to make this year one that will bring happiness. If I want to color until 2:00 am… then I will. If I want to disappear into the mountains to track wild horses, I am going to do that, too. Slowly, one thing at a time, I am going to transform myself and my surroundings over the course of this year to embody happiness and health. I will support the people I love who mean the most to me and will love myself for who I am, not obsess about what I am not. It is in our own hands what we do with the time and talents we have.

I offer no resolution to fail. There is no “good intention” to go bad. There is no holding back because I intend to take the road that likes ahead. I left hatred and negativity on the midnight hour to fade into the nothingness of no longer important. The tank is full of passion and promise and that is all the fuel I need to work toward an amazing year of successes.

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Define Yourself as a Writer

My passion and enthusiasm leads me astray. It will get to a point, though, that I must rein it in and tie it down, despite the ‘no fences’ rule. I wear several hats, of late, and it is no wonder that confusion plays it course upon my condition. I love my company and I love the people who have discovered the amazing way collaboration works. Supporting one another is truly the way to become better at what we do – it is the way to widen your perspective, cultivate new interests, define your goals – all of which allows us to plant sign posts with remarkable achievements along our writing life journey. But, if I do not write, I begin to feel discouraged, frustrated, sad… I need to write. It is as vital as air and as soothing a sunshine upon my face.

I read a great post shared by someone who walks the talk – she supports and encourages and I am so lucky to call her friend and confidant. The Writer’s Digest article talked about the October Platform Challenge… we all know how I love a challenge! So what better way to get myself out of a rut than to revisit the deepest part of my creativity. I am going to rediscover my muse and drag him/her screaming to the surface.

Day 1 Challenge – Define Yourself as a Writer 

This exercise is to identify and lay claim to all the things that make you a writer. Own it.

Name (as used in byline): Linda J. Pedley

Position(s): Owner/President of Dream Write Publishing Ltd * Co-founder/Director/Treasurer/Member/Volunteer of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County * Business Management Coordinator for my day job at the Alberta Federation of REAs * Freelance Writer/Editor * Published Author * Artist & Illustrator * Truck Window Photographer

Skill(s): Creative writing * non-fiction writing * poetry * editing * book design * blogging and web site content writing * social media promotion and platform building * newsletters * business document writing including business plans, reports, business case proposals, government position papers * individual-team-community builder * teaching and mentoring * color and design * photography * art composition and basic lesson plans * computer use

Social media platforms (active): Facebook * LinkedIn * Google+ * Twitter

URL(s): wildhorse33.wordpress.com  / dreamwrite10.wordpress.com  / dreamwritepublishing.com  / strathconaconnect.com 

Accomplishments: BA General – Sociology Major/Political Science Minor from the University of Alberta * Author of several published novels: YA adventure series – A Journey of Brothers/A Journey of Truths/ A Journey of Desires, Power Struggle, Ode to the Bard – My Writing Life, and An Elizabethan Affair * Co-Author of Your Lifetime of Stories and From a Solitary Drop * Contributing Author to several compilations and/or anthologies including Christmas Chaos and Writing Prompt Journey * Awarded the Pride of Strathcona community award in Arts, Culture & History for our writers group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, in 2011 * Awarded the Pride of Strathcona community award in Arts, Culture & History in 2012 for personal work in this category * Certificate in Article and Short Story Writing from Long Ridge Writers Group in the US  * Certificate of Participation in Writer’s Camp at Humber College, Toronto in 2004 * Effective Communications Certificate from Grant MacEwan College * Publisher of over 60 books and 5 years in business with Dream Write Publishing – a creative option for today’s writers to see their work in print.

Interests: Writing – all genres * art appreciation * travelling Alberta and driving in the mountains in my “Sunshine” Toyota FJ Cruiser * truck window photography * all things Shakespeare * coffee with close family members * sharing interests and good times with good friends * horses * spending time with my daughter watching favorite TV shows, drinking wine, or collaborating on work projects * drawing * computers * reading and having lots of books *

In one sentence, who am I? Linda J. Pedley is a writer who works her day job to pay the rent while dreaming of the things she could do if only she could just focus on the passion of creating and working page-deep in books every day.

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Smoke, Heat & Memories

The day has me distracted. I try to remain focused on my job and the work I need to do. It has nothing to do with being Monday. It’s not because I had a tiresome weekend nor am fatigued or overly pained. It is not because I am eager to get back to the work on my company projects. It’s not because I have an upcoming trip planned and am looking forward to hitting the road. It is merely to do with the date and something I have in mind that I need to write. It’s a good feeling – that need to write, and even if the thought that started this is internally sad it is not a sorrowful post. Quite the contrary, and I always give in to the urges when they are this strong.

This past weekend was marked by a special event – the marriage of two wonderful people who I am proud to call friends. They both looked amazing and the ceremony was inspiring despite the heat and smoke – it was an outdoor wedding so both elements played a significant role in comfort. Even bringing the party into the shelter of the nearby community hall for the reception didn’t reduce the sweat factor. I am sure everyone dropped a few pounds that day…

Robyn and Joe

I am happy to have a beautiful event mark this weekend in my memories. It is not that new events ever mask or replace old memories that might have marked the days, but it is nice to have rejuvenation to the ones that marred the memory banks. July 13th, 3 years ago, was a day congested with heat and smoke in the air – I won’t forget it. It was a day I found out something that changed lives forever. Changes, whether good or bad, have an effect on one’s life journey. Sometimes it means you go it alone. Other times, it means you have someone to share it.

Best of luck and lots of love on your life’s journey – Robyn and Joe – July 11, 2015

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Birds of Spring

Preface:

The love for spring and birds and all things beautiful prompted me to write this – the robin started it all and the progression to put the words to page ended up including thoughts about my mom. Both of us are spring babies and the appreciation she had for nature inspired me to follow paths where the wild things live. I am not brave. I fear death. Yet in my own way, I am an explorer and an adventurous soul. I am not sad. I am merely reflecting on beautiful thoughts that still bring tears.

*****

RobinWe sat on the back deck under the umbrella and chatted. We cradled ceramic mugs adorned with images of birds. The hot tea warmed us and cool spring breezes washed over us like whispered conversation. We had grown comfortable with the sporadic comments and the pleasurable silence that punctuated our early Saturday morning visit. The sun was still to our right but would soon be to our backs as we sat in shade of the house. Bundled in large knit sweaters, we settled back in the canvas chairs, sipping green tea and warming our hands. Overhead, crisscrossing jet trails cut the wild blue yonder into slices of pie.

“Why do they have to mess up the beautiful sky?” she would ask. We always looked up watching for birds and small planes and whatever else the countryside might offer. I knew she loved the view from the deck at the back of her house. The jet trails were something we always noticed and talked about. It was something we often speculated about – was it weather related air current type stuff, or was it a conspiracy to create cloud when there was none, or was it just because it was what jets do at a high altitude. Whatever the reason, it would come to be my way of knowing she was always with me – perhaps, even her way of showing support wherever I might be and whatever I might be doing. The jet contrails and the birds of spring, both beautiful and meaningful in their own way, are a necessary part of how I was able to move forward without her.

Because of her love for nature and her little house in the country, I began to take more notice of those things around me that drew me to her. Yellow eyed daisies growing in white waves always remind me of her, because they grew wild in her yard and as the years went by there were more and more of them. I see every full moon and remember her calls to me, “Did you see the moon?” I watch for the geese and their return to the northern climes after a long migration. Then in the fall when they coo and swoop in large masses collecting their formations way up high amongst the clouds, I regret their leaving just as I regret hers.

Winter was beginning to be unbearable and the worry about her living alone is one thing that weighed as heavy as the snow on her little roof. She did not relish moving into the Park to be closer to the civilized world; it was not in her destiny to move into any kind of senior’s residence, either. The fates took care of that concern, although I would have shoveled her driveway forever and took care of her when the time came. It didn’t come, though. Her journey was not with that kind of finish.

This year I noticed the robins more and their activity around me. It seems there a few around who accompany me on my day. One makes its home in the eaves above my apartment window and you can hear it singing in the still early morning. One stopped for a picture on a post outside my cabin window while I was in Jasper and another hopped up to the truck for a picture while I sat in the parking lot at Miette Hot Springs. Yet another hopped closer and closer while I loaded the truck with books this past weekend.

Everyone deals with loss in different ways. Recognizing the little things we used to talk about and remembering the things she loved is how I am able to move forward. Writing these words helps, too – as I am able now to express them from my heart without pain tearing into them before I even have a chance to put them to the page. The test would be to read them out loud – although I am sure I could attempt it, one never knows how one’s emotions are going to interfere at any given time. The wound is deep and will never going to go away, but it is healed over, protected from outside exposure.

*****

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

 

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Introspective Perspective

Random thoughts while driving…

The meeting was set for 1:00 pm on Saturday in the quaint coffee house, Pebble Ridge, in Rocky Mountain House. My new author is from Red Deer and it would be a short drive west for him to finally meet to discuss his book project.

I started out from home at 8:00 am, filled the tank, and got a cold drink to go. I couldn’t understand why I was so thirsty so early, but realized it might have been the consumption of wine the evening before… Rested and raring to go, it was easy to rise and pack and hit the road early. Although another route was more direct, I chose the longer way to enjoy the journey. It’s not always about the destination – although that can be important – how you get there, too, makes all the difference sometimes. For one – heading west always feels right and, for two, taking the Cowboy Trail is a good choice because it feels right, too. I’ve been this way before a few times lately (highway 16 west to highway 22 south), but I love the drive – the feel of it relaxes me and sets my mind free of city encumbrances. Driving alone, however, is open game for thinking – good and bad. If I don’t want to think, I play music to drown out the persistent voices, the constant thoughts, the never ending discussion between the realist and the dreamer. The radio station fades away and I play the soundtrack from Cavalia or Maroon 5.

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A robin poses for a close up shot.

A bumblebee buzzes around the windows looking for in or through or whatever. Sunshine sits in the Miette Hot Springs parking lot looking like a big yellow flower in a meadow of concrete – tasty temptation for the timid little bee. I roll my driver’s side window up and two seconds later it attempts to say a closer hello. A robin hops nearby on the pathway along the trees, and I mega zoom in on it – magnifying its feathers and bright eyed curiosity. I sit contemplating my move. I remain there for about an hour, reading, calming frazzled nerves that poke in and out of the relaxing peace. I cannot explain the diametrically opposed pieces of my mind. Happy. Sad. Inspired. Depressed. Peaceful. Anxious. The parking lot fills up – it’s time to move on.

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I could see the same view day after day and it would still humble me, overwhelm me with its magnificence.

When I drive the mountain roads I cannot believe the feelings that wash over me. I often wonder if those people who speed by in fast cars, neglecting the stop at look outs, ignoring points of interest, not even slowing down to enjoy the wildlife – I wonder, if they ever feel the emotion I do in the mountains. Perhaps, they did the trip before and it’s no big thing. Perhaps, they are too focused on the end point to notice the points of interest along the way. My emotions run the gamut – my mind stops, starts, and suspends itself in the magnificence of my surroundings. I am soothed by its beauty, overwhelmed and humbled by its magnitude. I cry at the thought of leaving this world and never seeing such beauty again. Then, I admonish myself for silliness and return to revel in the moment.

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Distant waterfall cascades down the mountain.

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An eagle flies o’er mountain high…

At a roadside turnout, high above the river below, I stop along the guardrail to take in the vast panorama. Mountains with snow covered peaks, shimmering shale rocks, greenery of all shades. A distant waterfall cascades down the mountainside. The telephoto lens brings the river from the valley floor and the highest shimmering rock face to me as if in reach. Out of the corner of my eye I see it – circling, circling, circling… Soaring on upper air currents, the large bird covers the sky in wide spread wings, so high it is even a speck in my lens. I am not sure of the species of raptor, but the bird is magnificent. The words to the sound about love lifting us up, come to mind and ring in my head, prompting tears to spring to my eyes, again.

The trip wasn’t totally about doing everything I love, but it encompassed some of the ‘musts’. I already mentioned the Highway 22 South route – well, 11 West is a dream and being in Rocky Mountain House with a free night ahead of me meant I couldn’t pass up the chance to see things I love and traverse the route with such beauty. My travels now include limits, however. Due to health issues, there are limits I never had to consider before, but there they are, forefront in planning and executing events. Accepting I have limitations both angers and frustrates me. In moments of appreciation, I think of all the things I’ve done and all the things I still can do. I digress and say thanks – at peace with the body’s changes. With those thoughts, I decided I would explore some different things/places amongst the wonderfully familiar, while taking time to clear my head and rest my back and knees.

For the most part, driving is easy until I log too many hours in the Sunshine saddle – then the back begins to remind me of its chronic pain. I need to stretch and walk a bit to loosen up the muscles and work the knees. Refreshing road weary eyes is always a good thing, too. My stops are frequent because of the awe I feel – lots of pictures return home with me – but, I temper my attempt at each stop depending upon my ability. Many times, I am the best darned truck window photographer! Since I stopped at Athabasca Falls last year on the reverse trip, I decided I would stop at Sunwapta Falls this time. However, I couldn’t proceed past the parking lot because, although only a .1 km hike to the vantage points overlooking the water, all of the pathway is a downhill grade and that is a no-no for the knees. Acceptance of limitation. I listened to the roar of the water rushing below, thankful for my sense of hearing and sight.

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A decision to stop for the day to rest weary bones offered me opportunity to stay in a place I never stayed before… another new experience.

The need to keep in motion produces undesirable effects. The conundrum being more movement = activity = weight loss, but more movement = pain = exasperation! The pills I am on to manage pain help with numbing it so I can sleep and I don’t get overtired, sometimes. Depending on the activity (and the weather) my pain is what it is – constant. At times, it is excruciating, forcing me to just take things easy. Doctor’s orders are movement, keep active, but my body’s response is anything but accommodating. I most likely will need double knee replacement surgery, but the weight loss is a must in order to proceed in that direction. The weekend needed to be modified with extended rest to recover bothersome knee pain. The prior long weekend retreat tired me out – 2nd floor rooms in a lodge meant stairs multiple times per day. I mentioned this concern to my doctor on a previous visit. I took it very slow. Writing, yes. Stair master, no.

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6th Bridge – the sounds of birds and rushing water soothed. When the small parking filled, I escaped with pictures to remember it by.

It was exciting to travel familiar roads, but also intriguing to discover new ones. I took some time to discover 6th Bridge where I sat for some time reading. I took some pictures of the water and the bridge, then vacated when it started to get busy. Bikers, hikers, and other sightseers. The road to Miette Hot Springs was awesome – winding, curving, bordered by cliffs, rises, and lots of trees. It took me deeper into the back country. Again, I parked and listened to the birds, did some reading, and took pictures. As before, I backtracked and headed to the highway and proceeded east on 16. East is not good. It means leaving behind something as profound as the images of the Rockies in my mirror that soon fade from sight. My mood soured despite respite in the glorious mountains. How can one feel so inflated, yet depressed? So inspired, yet so empty? So determined to do better with renewed vigor – all the while, feeling overwhelmed with all that lays ahead… Prospects and potential paralyze – how can that be?

The comfort I take in all of this is my ability to see the beauty, appreciate the wonder, realize the potential for danger or recognize opportunity, and even laugh at myself with good humor, as necessary. The feelings described above hit me every time I leave the mountains to return home, leaving me to wonder why I never moved there if such a connection rips my very soul by their separation from my view. I concede – I was fearless in my youth and have become jaded in my aging even though I would certainly consider the move – looking around the little cabin I rented I surmised – “I could live here.”

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Amazing colors… there’s probably shiny things and a squirrel in there, too😉

So to end this blog about perspective and its inward retrospection while getting away – I leave you with a tip while driving throughout the Alberta countryside. Be aware that if Main Street is blocked off in Small Town, Alberta – and there are people pulling lawn chairs to the curb side – it could mean there is a celebration you are not privy to. I wondered why that little girl waved to me… All I could think was how lucky I was I had such a beautiful, bright truck! Sunshine was in her glory parading by the locals… oh, look, what a beautiful tree!

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So wrapped up in words, none can escape…

Call the papers! There is a new blog post here on Wildhorse 33 … or perhaps, call the doctor, there’s been a breakthrough.

Of course, I am an extreme exaggerator and don’t need any announcement or help in any way. There was never a doubt that I’d be back to write – there was just speculation on when and the offering of excuses as to why I wasn’t here prior to now. I started out the year with a bang by posting most of the first month, having taken on the photo-blog challenge; however, I backed away since then. When I get caught up in my work as publisher I am driven by the need to complete jobs, while having to continue to solicit new business in order to grow; take on sudden jobs to bring in revenue; continue to work on ongoing projects. The old ways come to the forefront – my own work takes a backseat while I am trying to stay caught up, get caught up, or remain above water. Treading and dreading the outcomes. Overwhelmed with all that is going on around me and taken to withdrawal of words. My own words are necessary for the growth of my own creativity. I grow in skill and ability through the creativity of others – I relish their words and appreciate the opportunity to support and promote diversity.

Me. Mine. I – wait. It will come. I look forward to a writer’s retreat this upcoming long weekend and will commit to my own words and works for 3 full days! This little blog is just a way of stepping out, one step at a time, toward that bigger release. I welcome the escape. In the meantime, I work diligently to get more projects off the ground, crafting the wings on which they may fly.

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Photo Blog Challenge Wrap Up

January 2015 – 30 Day Photo Blog Challenge Wrap Up

So it is now going on into the early morning hours of February 1st and I am contemplating the grand finale for this challenge. I found that trying to focus on my own work allowed me a chance to express a little bit of suppressed creativity. I love my words. I love my camera. And to combine them into compositions in answer to the prompts in whatever manner happened was worth the time invested. I found as I went along, the challenge was something that I love do anyway – I am always watching for that perfect shot, that one time chance, that image that evokes a feeling and can be related by words, as well. Although this is a “wrap up” there will be no real end to this for me as it is as natural and as inevitable as sun rise. There are a few prompts on the list that I will admit to passing over, either because they deluded me in attempt or they didn’t spark an interest. Prompts are like that – they either “speak” to you or they are silent. I like to think that I can respond to anything, and I guess I can if I don’t really care what I “say” – however, I enjoyed the posts that happened when least expected. It’s like the moments in life that you either catch on “film” or you commit to eternal memory. So I always look up to the sky for inspiration and light or down to the ground for that unusual shadow or circumstance. I think as I go and realize an offering when it is handed to me. Like spaghetti falling onto the counter, tempting a game of pickup sticks. Synchronicity at work is the greatest compliment to my creative impulse.

Day 26 – Close Up Blog - Jan 26 - image close up>>> The rocks lie below and if you don’t pay attention to them, take a look next time. What do you see? Perhaps, it is just a haphazard arrangement of sizes and colors with no apparent pattern? Do you question the missing spots and wonder if you’ve “left no stone unturned” in your evaluation? Or is it just there, tempting those who might glance down to see something in what is apparently nothing more than a rock gravel parking lot… Interpretation is, after all, up to you and your muse.

Day 25 – Strangers >>> have nothing of note for this prompt so I pass on this one. I have mentioned before that I am not a portrait photographer and think less of imposing upon others around me. I am okay with people watching in order to study habits and characteristics for my writing, but taking pictures of people without their permission would be just creepy. That would be how you would interpret this as “strangers” the noun. Pass.

Horses

Day 24 – Animal >>> Well we all know where this might go given the opportunity… which happened to present itself on a recent drive. Horses will always warrant a stop along the road. It brings back April memories of seeking the wild horses that run west of Sundre.

But, if I keep close to home, the little pest that is poking at my leg to pet him is always around even though he might not be the most willing photo participant at times. He is quick and takes to looking away just as you click the pic. I am going to wrap up Day 20 – In My Bag – by saying that if I had it open on the floor like this box, I can tell you I would have a cat in the bag right quick. So, although I did not really fulfill the Day 20 prompt as best as I think I could, it is another one that gets a pass. So here’s my animal… Squishy in a box ready to ship off. Any takers?Squish

That only leaves Day 21 – Faceless Self Portrait and Day 30 Self Portrait… really nothing has changed enough from Day 1 to insert any other self-portrait here. I embrace creativity, yet have specific things I stay away from – particularly me in a photo. The Day 1 photo was one of those – ah ha moments – it was there on a day out to Elk Island Park and was something to recognize in the moment. It spoke to the challenge and to me and to what I would attempt to accomplish. It really addressed Day 21 as well because with that camera up in front you are, in essence, faceless. What I am going to finish up with, however, is my beautiful Sunshine – it usually makes it into all my photo days because without it I wouldn’t be traipsing all over snow-covered back country roads. The truck is a blessing and has helped to fulfill many adventures already. Memories that will stay with me forever; and isn’t that what life’s all about. This challenge has given me some great opportunity to share, to explore, to create… and for that I am truly thankful.

Sunshine makes winter tolerable

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