Skiing is a bit of work to find the right place, but they are numerous near Cold Lake. There are a few people who would love to see this with us, but they are busy, so out we go to enjoy the day by ourselves.
Nestled under the pines, it is quiet and warm under a bright March sun.
We take a break to go skiing, what else is Spring Break for?
Across the Lake we take a short break. Nature’s wonders provided by man-made structures.
The Lakeview is marvelous.
Most spectacular in panorama.
One really needs a 20’screen to appreciate the whole view.
There are moments that become available just because one seeks some fresh air for a night.
The landmarks stay the same, the fog and light shift as the sunrises.
And it is just outside our door, because we can haul the front door around behind the truck, along with a bed, table, stove, fridge and even a kitchen sink. A bit much for a guy who loved backpacking into the outback where no one else ventured to disturb a good night’s rest. Now we haul a toilet and electricity with us, not least of all to power a 27 inch screen to edit photos on.
Luxury. Well it may easily become my home permanently, so not really, not at -40° and +35° C.
It is officially Spring, but tell that to the snow of a foot in the last quiet day.
It started to fall nice and softly, on and off for more than a day it fell without a blush of thunder or despair. Just fell one little inch at a time, until it recovered the ground cleared pretty well for the crocuses to bloom.
I’ve yet to find a hillside of them here, and now the snow would have covered them another few days from reappearing.
But off where few people travel we found a place to bask in the mosquito-less lake front.
After hours of shovelling to get into a place out of the way enough to stay a day, and a rest for recovery, the sun appeared bright and warm, unexpected and not for long.
The sky came alive.
Previous visitors left Olaf’s cousin to fend for himself, and Kathie decided to level him starting with his all too small head. So after reconstructive surgery with the elements at hand, Olaf’s cousin Otto stands against the trees, leaning on a borrowed staff,
Otto, Olaf’s Cousin
And asking if he’ll have eyes to see with again, and a nose to delight in at all.
Out on her own walking the ice, Kathie’s glove has a life of its own as she bares her hands to take a call.
There is life out here, even after the snow, traipsing around, leaving tracks, knowing the empty table is useless until its filled with a feast for ants and visitors of all kinds.
Across the water the evidence of beaver new and long since given their best effort to fell a tree from beneath. Seems to me the beaver survived only because he was not successful.
It’s a Little Cold Out
As I write this the temperature has dropped to minus 27 Celsius and it’s going to continue dropping says the forecast until it’s minus 30.
I did survival training years ago NW of Hinton. We mimicked what it would be like to be downed in an airplane with passengers needing to survive for 36 hours. Tea, the first medicine after the physical injuries were tended to, and then build a shelter for the night. Minus 20 the first night with a partner. Minus 30 the second night, solo. Third night was an all-natural shared shelter for everyone except the instructors, who slept next to a wood stove in a full shelter.
After the last night, of smoke from the shared fire, and little sleep, the thermometer was pegged below minus 40 on my rotary thermometer the next morning a few hours after sunrise.
So yesterday at minus 21, with camera in hand, with a down parka zipped up, a wool hat, simple jeans, warm boots and light enough gloves to feel the camera easily … and a great tripod, I simply enjoyed the ventures out from the warm vehicle to capture these precious photos, a profound beauty and reminder of days before the current hell I’m caught in and working to save others more vulnerable.
It’s not that it was terrific then, it’s just purgatory was decidedly not like this, and despite any temperature, what I’m working to set right, who I’m having to work to keep safe, or at least mitigate permanent damage to, the vulnerable, this kind of hell just does not seem to know beauty or truth or faith or love or hope or … well in a word, this hell has no place for the beauty of grace, the grace that saves us all.
So here they are in the same silence that I encountered them, absolute silence, with only the squeak and press of snow stepped into and upon, and breath … o precious breath that only now I have again … o precious breath that now again I have so that I can speak … well sort of.
Enjoy the beauty: for this cold is not hell, it is simple beauty, without flies or bites, a beauty that permeates everything.
Enjoy the beauty: for this as God created it and us to be; still standing, even through the hell and the cold.
These are dedicated to my little sister, who made photography for me a shared joy. She was always better than she knew.
There is little that marvels anyone anymore, and much that blows the socks off anyone who is willing to notice.
Life is …
Life is a complex series of time, space, particularity and inspiration.
Life is the most despairing series of events anyone can witness or experience.
Life is the most awe inspiring series of events that anyone can witness or experience.
Others determine so much of life, yet 90% of life is determined by our responses to what happens to us, and what others do to us, good and bad, and both good and bad simultaneous.
If you have never experienced that you are like the pastors who reported that their congregation had no alcoholics among the members, had not … and you can fill in the blank.
The truth is their congregation had its fair share, some said 1 in 10, but the pastor was too ignorant and proud to know the truth.
Ignorance does not determine that something is true. Perception by ignorant masses, small or great masses, does not create reality; it creates a falsehood built out of ignorance; and that is something to be feared more than fear itself.
Life in the face of all this is simple. Not simple on this side of complexity, but simpler on the far side of complexity. What is simple is that beauty is a given, and an option to participate in … or not. Just as Grace, Amazing Grace, is a given, and an option to participate in … or not. I consciously have chosen again and again to embrace beauty, grace, and Life as I trust it was given to be lived.
Beauty comes washing over us in so many forms, visual, in the dance of light and shadow, colour and surprise, drawing in, renewing of value, and a sending out to embrace the world, and therein to permeate others and situations with … with the essence of life: grace.
Dance the light, dance through the darkest valley of death that grips us all in the vice of fear and denial, dance in the detail and the relationships between waves and particles, between inanimate and animated, between the found and the created.
Beauty is also what one makes of space. My travels from North America to Europe, mostly Germany, and my childhood in Tanganyika, have left me desiring space abundant and a knowledge that space is often limited, precious and to be optimized for function and effect, to become beautiful in design, economy of resources, elegant in its use, and wondrous in the juxtaposition of the required and the hoped for, the vertical and the horizontal playing to their fullest and the stunning emotional effect of good craftsmanship applied to wondrous materials.
This first entry is a simple view to what and how I see my surroundings.
Simple homes in a simple neighbourhood, development at a standstill by the oil bust.
The view from up close to out there.
The quiet simple calm that comes between ferocious tempests.
This is my view … yet so much cannot be published.