Tag Archives: depression

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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100/2 Hues of Pewter

The other day my daughter asked me if I liked her sweater. I said yes.

“But it’s grey… I’m not sure if I do,” she declared decidedly as she went off to change into something more “Kelsey.”

I didn’t understand why the change because it really did look good. I rather liked it. But, as I said, I like grey. I’m not sure why I like grey but it has always appealed to me in some way or another – perhaps, it is because of its subtle qualities; it’s a hue less oppressive than black and certainly of more substance than plain old white. It is silver in jewellery and pewter in decor. It is flannel in suits and dapple in horses. It doesn’t stand out. It’s rather common, sometimes dull, and could even be defined as lifeless. I guess it really depends upon what it is that’s grey – I certainly am not impressed with the strands that appear in my hair, more frequently now as I get older. It certainly is not an endearing color for our beautiful Alberta sky. Given it is moving into November, however, grey seems to be the shade of the day for weather. Grey moods are downers and they hit me, more often than I’d like to admit, but again, isn’t it much better to have a grey mood than a black one? Come to think of it, I am lucky my greys don’t morph into blackness, but then again, I’m not hit with many lately I would classify as white ones, either – if there is such a thing in a mood. Grey is the new blue – grey moods are sullen and overpowering and overwhelming like low hanging rain clouds on a Sunday afternoon.

Here I am jumping on the band wagon to declare my take on the many shades of grey – I admit there is nothing bright about wearing worn out clichés, despite how many millions they have raked in. Grey can be sky, color, and/or mood – it can change in the blink of an eye or the parting of the clouds. It can even be hidden, masked by the façade as apparent delight in life.

Since we can’t change the weather we have to do what we can… so when things look down and you are given to the grey, there’s nothing like a ten buck box of sunshine to lighten up your fifty shades.

grey skies

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Hello Monday – it’s Me…

Hello, Monday, it’s me… You are a day of the week as unpredictable as the weather. I remember writing this opening statement (the wordpress draft proves it) when the comparative hit me during the passing of winter into spring. I don’t know why I didn’t publish it – I guess I was as indecisive about my words as the weather was of its place within the timing of that month. May was a blur and best forgotten, and as we transgress through mid-July now it seems June is only a memory, too.

As up and down as the weather, so too have been my words. My thought processes are always going and sometimes I am inclined to just write something even though I have no idea where it is to go and where it might end up. I have even opened my notebook or a new word document, looked at it, and then closed it again… having written nothing. The inspiration bar was set high at recent conferences and just being around words and all their glory is enough to make you want to immediately put words to page. I went so far as to renew my own personal writing goals with an all out attempt (internal promises) to get my WIP completed and published this year! There have been good starts to bad weeks and bad finishes to good weeks… and if I were to be truly honest it would be to admit my blog avoidance is a result of the personal issues I’ve been dealing with… people tell me I am obviously doing things right and moving ahead but it feels like I am not in so many ways. It’s like being on autopilot – going through the motions of what has to be done to fulfill the promises already made into the direction out there somewhere. The end lies out of sight waiting ahead on an unmarked trail. Then I return to the highway of reality realizing the heap I have in front of me and, although I am doing things I love to do, I am confused by my reactions. Next thing I know, I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions >semi-happiness (albeit tame – I am not the jump up and down kind of person) and tearfully pronounced, overwhelming sadness claim my extreme up and downs. This craziness will even out, I am told, with time and healing and positive influence. I am ever thankful to those who may wade through my words whenever I do get around to posting some here. They are from my heart and they are what makes up my writing life as it happens to me right now. Although the words are scarce and it seems my creativity is blocked, I cannot imagine ever living without writing… it’s just difficult equating that to not living at all.

Postscript: as I finish writing this post and list the tag words, I contemplate if I should even publish this blog, not wanting to be one who continues with uncertainty, exposing my lost soul… my daughter comes into my room and says, “Thank you, for everything, Mom.” And the lump in my throat prevents me from speaking; my words mix with tears as I realize even in the darkest hour there is a reason and there is hope. She is mine.

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Oiling the Dry Pen

Prologue: I post this to oil the dry pen… nothing more than to put something concrete to paper to jump-start the stalled engine. This piece entitled “I am struggling…” was sitting on my desk top, with the pictures, yet unfinished and abandoned, written in the time after seeking counsel for my ill feelings. I realize, for the most part, my depression was (and is) because I was not being true to my own creative spirit. I need to do my will yet am bound to the promises I make in other areas of my life. The line about dreaming of other places and times holds truth and it is the ungrounded reality speaking. The choice of running away, freeing my soul, just being me… well, that’s a dream harnessed by responsibility and commitment. The time between then and now has elapsed and more promises were made, however, today… I feel as if I wrote this right in the now and the pull of the spiral twists me in and out of good and not so good.

Dear readers: don’t fret for me – all will be well.

Rays of Sunshine

Beyond the clouds the sun shines. In the temporary greyness there exists the proverbial silver lining…

Yet, I struggle, off and on, with few and many things, and I am unsure which of the perpetrators impedes my writing but something prevents me from putting my words to paper. There are no shortage of thoughts and ideas as they come swirling to me in teasing fashion. It’s like knowing what’s good for you yet making a bad decision – loving the bad boy instead of looking to the boy next door. There is comfort in the familiar and sanity in the sameness.

There are no lack of dreams as they harbor their details within my heart and soul, anchored safely until such time I cast them forth from my deep shores. There is desire but not motive. I avoid my journal and have for some time despite my promise – guessing I just need time and things will resume. Not as they once were, but in some other way which I presume will be in due course. My work in progress calls to me and my muse has taken up dancing to amuse herself until I listen to her beckoning call – it reassures me to know these things await me for they are the very core of me and I would not live long without them… I go on and there is so much going on that one would wonder when writing might be practiced upon. I sleep and dream of other worlds where time and money are not necessary and I could take my days upon the balcony in sunshine with coffee cup and pen in hand. I meet with my past to partake in earnest discussion, attempting to dFar to go eal with things that have not lasted wondering where the time has gone and what the future might hold in store. I ponder life and the hand it deals to each of us and how we play the cards expecting certain outcomes yet taking chances with our luck. We push it, count it, destroy it, and call for more when prompted. There is so much push and pull – yin and yang – coming and going… I love my job yet hate decisions I cannot change. I love my company yet want to be there more and can’t. I want to move on but I am weighted to this spot. I want to write but other commitments come to be number one even though recent heartfelt council revealed commitments to me are what I lack and they are to be number one if I am to heal. I desire better health but don’t or can’t make the changes; I am alone and enjoy my oneness yet I am lonely; I am pleased with what I have and who I have become in most ways yet I am not happy. Rather, I don’t feel happiness – sometimes there is nothingness and it is so hard to explain, yet alone reason its existence. There is so much to do and so far to go. I need to work on allowing myself to be happy without guilt or excuse. I need to define what my happiness looks like and make the changes necessary to get there. There is little time to waste on ill will and an unhappy heart.

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A Note to the Empty Page

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” ~ Carlos Fuentes

I sit here, my expression as blank as the sprawling white before me… the emptiness that has haunted my nights for the past month yawns into an abyss of never ending eternity. Words dance before my eyes and tease my mind yet refuse to get in line and flow with creative verbosity onto the page… instead, they hide in crevices created by life stresses and soon an overwhelming desire tempts me to just walk away. I am here and there, back and forth, up and down – every which way but clichéd loose… So many good ideas want to be at the top of the list yet I am loathe to let them creep there in case I lose myself in them and neglect some other duty or responsibility. But in refusing to accept their inevitability, I fight them and, alas, get nothing constructive done.

I could write about my week and my accomplishments and in that I might find comfort. The places I have been and yet others I could not go. I could write about the joys which filled me yet falter with an explanation about how I don’t feel fulfilled; I could share the happy times had with friends and the meeting of other wonderful people yet true happiness eludes me; I could recall the loving memories and haunting pasts revisited; I could admit I am trying to do too much – tongue in cheek – as I hold my hand out to take more; I could smile through tears and boldly stride ahead despite my fears.

There is no need to worry – for in me is the strength to move forward despite the weight of emotional baggage. I am here. Through all these things there winds a common thread upon the silver lining of hope: I feel, therefore, I live.

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