For Canada Day, a favourite Canadian moment…

Today is our country’s birthday, the day we wear red, the day Canadian flags un-wrinkle and stretch to flapping happiness expressing a little more patriotism than most days.

Happy Canada Day!

I’m happy to say that I feel pretty Canadian. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, raised partly in Banff, Alberta, and Prince Edward Island (where I experienced one room schools!), went to college in London, Ontario, lived and worked in Ottawa, back to Banff, began learning French at 21 years old in Pointe de l’Eglise, Nova Scotia, moved to la belle ville de Quebec to further my French, trained in l’art dramatique for three years in Quebec City, lived in Montreal, performed in PEI, Fredericton, and finally moved back to Vancouver. From Vancouver I toured all the Western provinces, exploring and performing in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC.

I have taken the train, driven and flown across this country too numerous to remember (but the drives amounted to at least 6 times).

So.

I think I can really say, “I’m Canadian”!

But what actually makes us Canadian? For me, I think it’s evident that  it’s the physicality of our country. I have had the good fortune to have swam in both oceans, lakes across the land, hiked very high up in the Rockies, and witnessed extraordinary skies in the Prairies. I guess Canada’s nature defines my Canada.

What about you? And, what would be a favourite Canadian moment?

Mine? You ask?

Hmmm…. my first thought is being at the top of Healy Pass in the Rockies with my friend who was a Banff Park Warden. He met me and another friend part way, and then I rode his horse for the remainder of the trail. At the top of the pass, before my other friend returned on his own, he pulled out some wine and we saluted Mother Nature.

Healy Pass….

That night the warden’s cabin was cozy but also a bit frightening with a massive thunderstorm shaking up local campers. A mini hike, the morning after, to Egypt Lake and my solo hike back to the Sunshine Village parking lot rounded off the journey. (oh… and then a good Sulphur Mountain Hot Springs soak!)

Sulpher Mountian Hot Springs

Yes.. that was ONE of my favourite Canadian moments.

Your turn!

Happy Canada Day…. (and if you are not from Canada, have you been? Or if you haven’t, what would you wish to experience?)

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Nature Guidance….

Two weekends ago I was having a rough day. I was not in the “flow”. Our usual Sunday together was disturbed and I found myself alone and needing some nurturing.

I turned to nature.

I got in my car and drove to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver(only 10 minutes away). I got myself into the woods and went for a hike.

I passed others hiking in small groups, family outings, but eventually found myself solo surrounded by gigantic mothering trees. My brain slowed down, and the wooded energy started to envelop me. One tree seem to beckon me closer so I could admire the strength in its thick beautiful bark. The tree transformed into a being, reaching out for my arms.

“Oh great. I’m going to hug a tree.” I glanced around, and promptly scolded myself for worrying what others might think. “Who freakin’ cares!” I surrendered to the tree, wrapped my arms as far as I could. I admit, the contact felt strong and reassuring.

I continued on, slightly slower, my gaze absorbing more.

That’s when I saw the fallen tree. Then another one, And, another one. Nothing dramatic, just down. These trees were parts, dead parts, fallen from some reason – wind, disease, or even a strategic chopping to keep the path cleared.

Nurse Log in Lighthouse Park

But, you would not realize they were dead. There was too much life happening in and around them. New life had enveloped them, bringing a lower level beauty to the forest that couldn’t have occurred otherwise.

Nurse logs. Yes, they are officially known as “nurse logs“. Fallen spirits, no longer existing with their own food sources, they become rich grounds for the young. For a long time.

Yes, there is a log underneath the flora!

I stared at log after log of this incredible nurturing. The metaphor provided solace. Even the dead provide a fertile, happy place for fresh new green life.

A new nurse…

I entered the woods with a busy, confused brain.

The forest nursed me with calm observations.

I left, altered, thinking of the nurturing grounds of those close who have passed on. Kind of comforting, don’t you think?