Tag Archives: happy

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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Time for just a little cheer

 As I try to look back over the year 2009 and remember all the things that I should be thankful for, I tend to focus most of my attention to the last couple of weeks. It has not been a year without failure or triumph as it has been punctuated with its fair share of both. It is within the last couple of weeks, though, that the elation of my passion and the deflation of my soul have occured in unison. This is not creative harmony as I sometimes struggle with how to deal with it and go on to do all that needs to be done. I feel blessed with the accomplishment of having participated in the NaNoWriMo competition and I managed 50,501 words without giving up all that is claimed to be forgotten during this month of wild word abandon. In this bliss, however, lies a nagging sadness that lingers after finding out someone very dear is dealing with what could be a life altering situation to do with cancer and operations and all that goes along afterwards. This is the thing that holds me up from actually feeling any merriment even though the festive season is upon us. It is her strength and spirit that gives me hope she will be okay. And there is where I rest – that is what I can be the most thankful for – not for pretty wrapped presents or extravagant parties – no, just for a will power called Sylvia.
 

Listen to the bells ring... in chorus, the angels sing...

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After the Workshop

The day after the workshop I am back at it, knee-deep in words – updating the web site, blogging and thinking of the attack on the next chapter of my novel. Half way through the month and I’m sitting at 30,313 words and since it is still early in the day, I will definitely post more by tonight.

I am happy with my progress and it allowed me to take a break. I took the time yesterday to prepare and attend the Fall Writers Workshop that our group hosts. This would be the fourth year running. It was a success even if the attendance was lower than I would have liked – at least I can say that everyone there, including the presenters were or became a member of the WFSC as of the 14th. The support we give to local writers is evident by the response we get from participants and the commitment shown by our volunteers. Next year we will celebrate our 5th anniversary as an incorporated society in Alberta. Our plans for an all day Writers Conference is receiving great initial response and we would expect a sell-out when the schedule is posted to our web site. Watch for more details at http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com

Today, I took a short mid-day break to hear my daughter, Kelsey, sing at the Festival of Trees in the Sherwood Park Mall. The Studio she belongs to put on the show and she is scheduled throughout the Christmas season at several events. I am not just being a biased-more-than-just-a-little-proud Mom – she sings with a natural talent, one inherent in our family. I would love for her to be “discovered” and given the chance to shine like I know she can. She is my angel. Good job.

I was even able to look around Chapters for a bit – shopping hurts my back so I can’t do long stretches – 25% off was a good reason to suffer through and get a start on gift buying. My next stop is back to my desk to complete some blogging and some novel-writing despite the goings-on.

Many things are happening – sometimes all at once – and we take it into ourselves as we move through our journey. We absorb everything that goes on around us – it molds us and makes us better if it doesn’t break us. The things we understand and learn from, push us forward; the things we do not understand we strive to have answered and they hold us back until we attain them; the things that have no answer for we must learn there are none and we must let them go.

This complicated blog wraps me around the things happening in my life and my confused thoughts.  So entwined we are with some events that it makes it impossible to be separate from it – someone laughs and you laugh; someone hurts and you hurt; someone cries and you cry.

Somethings just go on and your journey continues.

We write what we live – we live what we write.

HPIM0722

An endless sky like our life - sometimes it closes in on us; other times we see forever

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