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 clearing the way for the Muse…

Kaleden in the Okanagan

Since our film editor friends moved to the Okanagan to become vineyard masters, I have dreamed of picking grapes for them. (My first job as a youngster, outside the family business, was picking strawberries. Gathering food from the earth seems to be something in my blood.) Plus, there seemed to be a bit more stress floating around, and my instincts plucked at my sleeve to get back to doctor nature.

Picking merlot grapes (and the bucket became a container!)

 

My dream came true last weekend. A perfect sunny, dry weekend in the Okanagan draped itself out for us to dive under grape leaves and discover the bulbous clusters of merlot grapes.

Abundant merlot grapes!

I was in heaven, and Peter seemed pretty happy, too. Between the four of us, we picked over a 1000 lbs of grapes before the light faded to dusk. Ahhh… good healthy tangible work.

While I was picking I never thought of anything else. Nothing. Just me and the grapes. The best meditation ever!

Peter happily picking grapes!

But, that wasn’t the end.

Nope… We were taken on a journey that would usher us into the late night of wine making.

However, we did have the odd break for wine tasting,  cheese savouring, and other food making, bien sur!

The steps to wine making were new to me, so everything was an adventure. A focussed healthy physical experience.

Loading up some of our buckets of grapes

Once all our grapes were in the building, we loaded them in the bins, passing them through a crusher. This is to help separate the grapes from their stocks. The merlots were  a bit stubborn so we had some grape handling to do as well! (no feet)

Crushing the grapes, catching most of the stocks

Once all squished into the bin we had to leave the grapes sit for awhile.

Wine consuming, I mean tasting, time!

Later in the evening, we had to decide whether to wait until morning to siphon off the juice for a rosé, or seize the moment before bed.

After testing the colour a few times, we concluded everyone had to get off the couch and head out for the “pressing”.

Which we did. And, it was the right decision.

Squished grapes into the press (see the juice!)
Pressing! Those grapes make you work!
The remaining crushed grape "cake"
After 2 pressings- our final result.. varied rosé

The juice we siphoned off will sit for 6 months before being bottled next April.

After this enriching weekend, we will never look at a grape again in the same way.

The following days, once returned to the city were calmer. And, I was clearer and able to listen to a very important bit of advice that came to me in my solitude. The muse could finally confer with me without any interference. I reevaluated a situation and made a wise decision.

Thank you to our friends for the opportunity to meditate with the grapes. (And, make some wine!)

 

 

I remember Lucille Ball had a little bit different experience with her grape crushing time in Italy! Not so meditative!