Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Getting out of Dodge

I know when the time has come, when I can no longer stand to stay within city limits and I have to get out of Dodge (or Calgary as the case may be).  I need a nature fix and this weekend looks like the weather will be delightful, something that a person cannot count on in November in Alberta.  Soon, we will be hip deep in snow and travel will not be recommended.
            On Remembrance Day, my youngest sister and I ran out to Banff for a quick visit.  I think we had both forgotten how impressive the Rocky Mountains are and we had also become hazy about how close we are to them.  I found myself wondering, why don’t I come out here more often?  I guess I’m a prairie girl, born and raised, and when I think about getting out of town, I’m magnetically drawn east to the grasslands and badlands that featured in my childhood.
Once in Banff, my sister & I soaked ourselves in the hot springs until we resembled albino prunes.  Happily, the facility was not crowded and everyone was just about as mellow as we were.  It was just cold enough outdoors that being immersed in hot water was perfect.  Summer is really not the season for visiting the hot springs, is it?  At least not for middle-aged women—we can overheat just from drinking a cup of coffee!  It was a perfect way to relax, after several months of high stress for both of us.  Once we had dried off and found our way back to the town site, we stopped at a great Greek restaurant for lunch.  When we emerged, properly calorified, there was snow falling, although it was melting as it hit the pavement.  It was magical.  The mountains are always majestic, but so much more mysterious in the snow. 
            This weekend requires a less rushed itinerary, with more time spent observing and appreciating the spectacular scenery.  For me, the flick of a bird’s wing, the call of a raven, weasel tracks in snow or even impressive cloud formations are spiritual reminders.  They help me to appreciate this amazing planet that we call home and all its exquisite details.  I’ve already enlisted one of my friends to go on this excursion with me—whether we go east or west, I know it will be a fine escape from the city and refreshment for the soul.

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