L-R Jo Powell, Jacklyn Powell, Reuben Powell, Brenda Etherington, Judy Powell, Robson Powell. What a lovely bunch!
Since in the last post all I really did was complain, I thought I better add some positive notes.
There is nothing quite like rolling slowly along the highway in the middle of nowhere with only your bike for company. Especially in the early morning when there is little traffic (which is not all that often these days). You see all kinds of things you don't notice when you are sealed up in a fast moving car. The birds! The birds of the prairies in spring are amazing! There is constant bird drama in the swampy ditches along the highway. Ferocious territorial fights between male red winged black birds; each perched ridiculously on a bent reed (barely big enough to support his weight) and vigilantly gaurding his claimed stretch of the ditch; each ready at a moments notice to battle his neighbour or join forces to chase away marauding hawks and ravens. I saw a large hawk hovering over what must have been a nest - clearly only a moment away from diving for the kill - when two blackbirds zoomed at him like Spitfires in the Battle of Britain attacking a Henkel bomber. They swarmed him so ferociously that,
caught half way between hovering and diving, he seemed almost to lose his balance -if that is something that can happen to a bird in flight. He abandoned all thought of his meal and just made a run for it, harried by the two darting blackbirds until he was well away from the area.
I love the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield that surrounds our home in Northwestern Ontario. But I was born and grew up on the prairies and it always suprises me how much I miss the long views and big sky. The true horizon is unobscured by trees or hills and viewing it has the effect of putting things in perspective. Sure, it makes you feel small and unimportant but at the same time it also makes your worries seem small and unimportant. When you stand and look in every direction and see the very bigness of our world - so much bigger than your front yard where the grass needs to be cut, or your workplace, where there are a thousand things you must do before the end of the day - you can focus on its beauty and your part in that beauty.
You are a part of this huge world and your deeds are neither more nor less important than those of the red winged black bird that is singing in the ditch beside you. Astronauts often report that seeing the earth from space is spiritually transformative - the prairies have a similar effect on me.
I am writing this in Salmon Arm where the horizon is a lot closer than on the prairies, but the views are just as spectacular. We left Meadowlark campground in Brandon and drove to Swift Current where we spent a chilly night in Kilton Hills Campground, just west of the city. The next day we drove on to Calgary and our rendezvous with friends and family. We stayed with my sister Judy and brother-in-law Ray, who put on a wonderful welcoming supper and get together for us. They invited brothers Peter and David; sisters-in-law Christine and Arlyne; nephew Reuben and his wife Jo and their children Robson and Jacklyn; friends Bill and Robin Dawes (Dryden expats and now long haired British Columbians); and our dear life-long friend from Calgary, Brenda Etherington. It was a fun evening and we are so grateful to have been able
to see all our loved ones in one place and one time. Thankyou Judy and Ray!
My nephew Jesse (son of Judy and Ray) is paddling his canoe from Banff to Dryden this summer (Bow to South Saskatchewan to Qu'Appelle to Assiniboine to Red to Lake Winnipeg to Winnipeg River to English River to Wabigoon to Rugby to Rugby Lake to Fen to Wickens!) We were lucky enough when we arrived in Calgary to catch a glimpse of him as he rocketed by on the swollen Bow River. Good luck Jesse and we wish you well on your fantastic adventure!
The next day we continued on our journey west and stayed the night in a hotel in Salmon Arm. We had arranged to meet Bill and Robin again as they were also travelling west, back to their home in Williams Lake. We had another nice visit with them over supper and later in their hotel room. Bill and Robin are two of the most interesting and intelligent people I have ever met and it was a joy to see them again. If I find someone has stolen my bike off the car rack this morning, we will gladly
abandon our plans and go to Williams Lake to visit with them some more!
It is exciting to think that we will see our daughter Emily today! On to Vancouver and from there the bike ride will restart.
Tot: 1.781s; Tpl: 0.088s; cc: 11; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0319s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb