The Dad I carry in my heart memories, would have loved this!
A small dusty brown squirrel, at the top of a lodgepole pine, busy harvesting this year’s crop of ripe pinecones, full of seeds, for the coming winter season. An oblivious acrobat, tripping amongst the very top branches, grabbing the pinecones with her teeth and front paws and tossing them out of the tree, like random popcorn. Sending them sailing down to a prize collection at the base.
I caught this moment, because, walking alone in the woods in the Kananaskis with numerous signs warning about bears in the neighbourhood, I was paying attention. I heard scurrying and rustling to my right which led me to listen, look up and notice against the blue (which always takes my breath away) pinecones being ejected from all sides of a tree. As I paused and looked up, I tracked the little beast busy at work and was delighted by her dangling dance amongst the branches moving the pinecones on to their next life.
My father was a soaker. He’s soaked up the outdoors – gardens and wild spaces. He slept outdoors in the city just to be with the night sky, designing and making a special sleeping bag for the occasion. He went on solo backpacking trips. As his body aged, he camped in his RV at Tunnel Mountain Campground and would sit outside on a lawn chair soaking up the stark summer glory of Rundle mountain.
And this is where I seem to be starting my story of falling in love with the planet, again, for the first time.
I am starting with my father’s comfort and matrix which he wrapped around his wife, my mom and my brother and me. My father was an orphan and I think he found his foundational sense of belonging, joy and wellbeing in being able to notice, enjoy and soak up the beauty and energy of wild, living and growing places.
He did this with a beautiful garden in our suburban backyard including “free range guinea pigs and rabbits”. They were also frequent boring “walks” on the weekend. And less boring hikes, in the summer, well-paced with trail mix and chocolate. I have memories of camping which bring tears to the page as I write. My brother in a blue wash basin, all elbows and knees, having the leftover sticky bits of syrup sandwiches removed from his body,’ so the bears wont come’ – my mother’s worry. Warm rocks wrapped in a towel at the bottom of our sleeping bags and PJs warmed by the fire.
And this is where it will start my 34-Day challenge to write a blog for each day of the Season of Creation.
I hope that you will join me.
And as you begin this journey with me, I invite you to ponder. Who first helped you to see creation /nature/the beauty outdoors? Who first helped you to notice the wide, wild world outside of yourself – skies, trees, flowers, mountains, prairies, animals, birds, insects, bees? All this liveliness of which we are a part but, of which, we are often oblivious.
Who first took you by the hand and led you into the woods?