Just passing through......

Musings of a lowly pilgrim
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Gratitude

June 28, 2018

I wonder if there are many people out there who are as self-absorbed as I am? I suppose, when writing about oneself, you have to be. Reflection is wonderful, but I think I would like to reflect on the amazing contributions I have made to mankind instead of the pitiful wretch I am becoming. I think I have a few more years in which to accomplish something!

I have talked about several topics that may have left the impression that I am a miserable, judgemental kind of person. I’m really not. I am definitely opinionated, but I try to tone things down in conversation. This is the difficulty I find in blogging. There isn’t someone there to point out my narrowmindedness or faulty observations. I like hearing what others have to say. It might be beneficial to me. I may not agree with you, but I will never know if you don’t say anything. And as far as my last post goes, social media is my lifeline. Without it, I would have very little social interaction. I, too, am a slave to my phone, except when I am fully immersed in the task at hand.

Alpine Paintbrush

When I am snuggling my little ward, Keaton, I am quite content to stare at his beautiful, flawless, innocent face. Babies are so pure. Their needs are few. My cup of joy runneth over when I spend time with him. I get to cuddle and play with him the way I never could with my own children. I’m still considering going to Africa to care for children in an orphanage there. It has been a desire for several years. I have had my name on a waitlist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for years as a baby cuddler in the ICU, but I don’t expect I will have the opportunity to fulfil that dream. Once a person gets in there they don’t easily give up their post.

Beargrass

I went for a hike last Sunday. I figured I needed time away from trying to put IKEA furniture together or moping in my apartment. (I’m becoming a pro after putting fifteen pieces of furniture together, so what if my filing cabinet drawers don’t line up and I have a half inch gap between the doors on my hutch!)

Fun IKEA furniture!

It always causes immense gratitude to well up inside me when I begin walking in nature. As I head out on the highway my focus shifts to the sights and sounds engulfing me as I listen to Taylor Swift singing “Tim McGraw” on the radio. Country music isn’t really what I usually listen to, but driving through Alberta, it seems fitting. Then my mind drifts to when three of my daughters drove up to Edmonton to see Taylor Swift perform with Ed Sheeran. I know they are from a different generation, but if you have grown children in their late teens to mid-twenties you likely will have listened to one of them in recent years. I’m not too terribly impressed with a lot of contemporary music, but I do enjoy Ed Sheeran. He is a genuine troubadour and a truly wonderful person. My children have been, and continue to be, an avenue to worlds I would never have encountered if not for them. I am truly grateful for all of them.

Hannah, my youngest, introduced me to veganism when she was thirteen. While I am a vegetarian and not a vegan, I have great admiration for all vegans who put their money where their mouth is. I hope to someday join their ranks. I just have to watch a few more documentaries in their entirety to convince and convict me to give up milk in my tea. I usually put my hand over the screen or turn away because some of the scenes are too brutal. While I will never deny a person his/her right to chose what they eat, veganism is what I aspire to. Vegan food is pretty amazing, not what it was in the 60’s and 70’s. I purchased a cookbook called “Oh She Glows” by Angela Liddon, which is an international bestseller and I will tell you why. Every single recipe I have tested has been well received by both family and friends, omnivores, vegetarians and vegans….. even the lentil loaf! Her food is so flavourful you would be hard-pressed to dislike it. (I included this bit of information about the cookbook because I need someone to buy something from my blog to keep Amazon happy and keep me as an affiliate! I’m buying the book for my daughter, Rebekah, so I can fulfil my obligation. I realise this is counter-productive, but I’m hoping it will pay off one day. Please feel free to jump in and buy it, too! It is a first-rate cookbook, and if I were to recommend one cookbook for anyone interested in trying out vegan cooking, this would be the one. ☺)

The drive out to Kananaskis Country was rejuvenating. The chains of the city soon fell away and were replaced by earthen sprites as I absorbed the open fields on both sides of me, smears of clouds across the expanse of the baby blue sky, and the majestic Rocky Mountains ahead. The darkness that troubles my mind soon dispersed, like inky black dye, blooming and dissipating in a pitcher of water. As I approached Bragg Creek, my brain was finally beginning to rest from the constant barrage of thoughts that assault it, disrupting my day and hindering my night time sleep. I was in Tsuu T’ina country, belonging to the First Nation people bearing that name. Even though the highway was congested with cyclists, bikers and all manner four-wheeled vehicles, the busyness did not engulf me. We were all in pursuit of the same objective, to escape the city and celebrate the great outdoors.

And escape I did. I passed my intended hike trailhead as the traffic was hectic and parking lots were full. But no matter, there is an abundance of trails to the back-country. I took the next available spot in a parking lot alongside the highway and embarked on a trail to I knew not where. Had I known, I likely would have searched out another location. This trail, Powderface Trail, is mostly flat and so doesn’t have the vistas I enjoy so much, but it runs next to a creek and there is a wealth of wildflowers along the way. I walked for about two hours without any idea of how long the trail was, so I turned back. There may have been higher grades and views farther along but I don’t know. I have no regrets, though. It was a day well spent.

Gossamer-winged Butterfly in Kananaskis

I am enamoured with all manner of flora and fauna, so I revelled in the earthy, damp scent of woods and water as I wandered along, listening to the burbling and hissing of the stream. I came upon the largest above ground anthill and the largest ant I have ever seen outside of Africa. Butterflies were everywhere, flitting from flower to rock to flower. An angry squirrel chattered at me, tail twitching madly as I strode along. Her babies must have been close by.

Anthill

It struck me, as I travelled along, that every person I passed greeted me with, at the very least, a smile. Most said hello, and some stopped to chat while I focussed on a flower or other object with my camera. What a change from the city! What a tragedy that the metropolis changes us. It brings to mind the anthill I saw, every one of the ants scurrying to and fro, on a mission, never stopping for even an obstruction, instead just climbing over it. We are not ants. We are living, breathing beings with hearts full of something. The more goodness we give out, the more we have to give……….

 


 

 

 

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