We paddled 175km over nine days in northern Saskatchewan, sharing food, laughter, mosquitoes, and tons of fun with friends to inspire the following poem 🙂
I wait on a beach in Northern Saskatchewan
for aurora borealis to arrive.
My friends, modern nomads, tuck in
to yellow, blue, orange and green domes.
Sandstone hills and evergreen trees rise
above marshy grass.
Beneath a still surface
river current slides north toward Arctic,
mirror images of its shoreline
reaching for heaven.
Night hawks shoot skyward
wings bugling a haunting tune.
mosquitoes attack my ears
the world settles into a bedtime routine.
I think about waking up the others
with bear bangers on the beach.
Through our journey we have found there are opportunities for experiences you don’t expect and cannot prepare for. Encounters that leave you marvelling at life. We had two of such occurrences on our longest day of travel. (1) We left Nerja under hazy skies heavy with Mediterranean moisture. Clouds stacked liked cotton balls witnessed our departure. (Natalie Matsui, the sky reminded me of your Popcorn Cloud portrayal in the Alberta Skies project.) Imagine our conversation as we settled ourselves for the impending six hour drive. “Hey look, there’s another greenhouse.” We had seen a few earlier throughout Portugal and Spain. The landscape we were driving through was arid, desert reminding us of Nevada or Arizona. Soon we began to see more greenhouses and thought they must be effective for growing fruits and vegetables in this unforgiving environment. As we saw more greenhouses we joked about someone getting rich by convincing his neighbors to buy plastic for greenhouses. Soon the horizon was completely plastic – WTF! We felt like we had stumbled upon some sort of dystopian science experiment. Google informed us we were viewing the greenhouses of Almeria. Apparently this is one of the most recognizable places on the planet when viewed from a satellite lens. It seemed like a good idea may have gone terribly wrong – or not. I’m sure there are many points of view about this but as we observed a valley without a single square inch of green or rock visible, only the steeple of a church and rooftops of a village rising above the sea of plastic, our conversation faded to silence….
(2)still reeling from what we had inadvertently witnessed, I received an email that made me laugh out loud. I hope I can convey the uncanny events that lead to this outburst. Three couples unknown to each other are travelling in Spain in May of 2017. Couple #1, Janet and Bryan, meet couple #2, Chris and Nonie, in Seville. Several days later couple #1 meets couple #3, John and Mary, in Arcos. Couple #3 meets couple #2 in Tangier and again in Gibraltar. Several days later couple #2 chance upon couple #1 in Granada. They determine that they each met couple #3 and Janet sends Mary an email. I feel like it’s an episode from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “what are the odds?!”
Seven days ago I ran alongside the river
that has flowed through our city
before it was a city.
Water that never stands still,
passes people, cultures, politics, technology
without a second glance.
She keeps flowing a graceful flow
sometimes slow and lazy
sometimes turbid and raging,
Two days ago I stepped away
from my workplace
after thirty-two years
of coming and going.
Thirty-two years with a wonderful dentist,
Dr Brian Sacks, who was by my side
through the ebb and flow
of my life.
Over the years a wonderful dentist, yes,
but a wonderful friend, too.
I have had the pleasure of working with great staff
and of course, the best patients ever!
I am grateful for the opportunity
to have shared many stories
with many people
and to have had the opportunity to have been taught
so much by my patients over the course of my career.
I will miss the conversations and laughter.
I will miss the security of knowing
“where I am supposed to be” every morning
but I look forward to this new phase of my life-
flowing beside water that never stands still.
We have been experiencing arctic cold temperatures and record snowfall. Yesterday the sun graced us with her glorious presence again and sent the thermometer and moods rising. We are expecting the warm weather to continue for the rest of the week – yay!
As I looked out my office window this morning I was met with a beautiful pink sky reflecting off a long, pointy icicle hanging precariously from an eave – thus the inspiration for today’s submission 🙂
morning sun provokes
nature’s dangling dagger
The road winds into the distance
rocks, roots, puddles and mud
draw them higher.
Each step one closer to the lodge
built years ago by others
who passed beneath more youthful trees.
Trees that now bend and sway
creak and groan as they lean
to hear conversation below,
chatter to ease the monotony
of the upward stretch.
Clouds twist and tumble
tease with grey and blues swirls,
jackets on and off
in rhythm with their play.
Each stride squashes every day worry.
Layers of adult responsibility shed
as boots splash and smiles spread.
Friends greet each other,
prairie dogs happy to ascend to the alpine,
to explore new territory.
Covered in mud they giggle,
children who play in the rain
because they can.