Ahhhh … Finally

To wake one morning finally and have a reasonable workload, deadlines met, and still looming, a job still hunted for … but for today … to know what today requires and know I can accomplish these things.

And have even an hour, amidst the tasks, to enjoy beauty, and the creation of and sharing of where life has taken me and us, unexpected and delightful.

Perhaps the hour really is not mine to claim, but that will only be known later so for now the joy of life relived.

On a week to a conference, prohibited from attending by a lay-pastor full of spite, I relaxed in the mountain views out the door, and the joy of working … for it was too cold to ski Sunshine, a gift from a friend and a life-long love of mine. I never was ever too keen on skiing when the valley temperatures are below -30C. Somehow pain and frost bite just take the joy out of gliding free down across and through the snow on telemarks skis.

So I was inside, though able to see beauty each day.

Bustling Beauty

Bleeping Cold Steam Rising From Frigid Flowing Water

The day we left the conference the temperatures went wildly warm, up to just below zero and then above.

The big snow fall sat on slopes barely intact and the helicopters flew to bomb the snow loose before nature decided to pack it all at once down on top of the valley inhabitants or wanderers. As if back in Fort Ripley with the constant bombing and shelling practice shaking the earth with loud ominous thunder echoing across the clouds invisible.

 

When a day later we headed north to traverse the icefields and dry camp at the new un-serviced Whirlpool campground we knew the road likely would be closed from 11 to 17 for three hours, yes the math is off, for snow bombing (avalanche control).

The previous and falling snow made a quiet wonderland, traversable still, though just deep enough.

We pulled off to breathe, and to take photos, and to marvel.

The trees held the snow, on the steep slopes off the roadway.

To no surprise then the flashing signs at Lake Louise, and the barricade closed at the Saskatchewan River Crossing. The surprise was that at that rather major junction there is a summer only hotel and service station, with fuel and everything else … in even the telephone line to the pay phone is disconnected and dormant for the winter. And that I checked by walking through the deep snow because for miles (okay Canadian Kilometers with a long o J) there is absolutely NOOOO cell service. So we had no updates and no way to notify friends and family that we’d decided to simply wait for the road to open.

Cloud draped Mountains around the Barricade Closed

We tried driving into a trailhead parking lot, but the snow was too deep and the truck simply not high enough nor powerful enough with enough traction to pull through all the snow up to mid axel. It bogged down and I stopped, and shovelled, and shovelled and shovelled and … finally it did not just spin in place but backed out.

Stuck it had serendipitously leveled the trailer to so close to perfect, that considering our options, we just shoveled some more and put the camper right back where it had been stuck, though now with ample area around to walk and service everything needed should we stay overnight and now after 1700 it looked like that was going to be necessary.

Dry, private camping, waiting

And it was. And there was no news even as a few trucks arrived, trying to get to Prince George, unaware of the closed road.

We finally met a park ranger returning from the far side of the barricade. The news was they’d closed the road at 11 ish, and at 12 ish the day before an avalanche had crossed the road. A path was punched through the snow and debris, but the helicopter snow bombers could not fly because of the high winds and the forecast did not make that likely for another few days, Monday at the earliest.

So we settled in not wondering if or when, because by Monday I needed to be home in Cold Lake.

Where the snow had fallen and was melting warmly into the ground, in drops by drops even off the deck railing out my door.

Home Free

And we sort of celebrated Valentine’s Day, early in the mountains and late at home with roses.

Traditions

Now faded in the late stages of colour and life.

Real Beauty, Real Truth, Real Christmas

Starting Advent:

We wait, taking in the celebration of light, looking through the lens of Grace that Jesus makes clear, hoping that this time, especially this time, God will come to us and set things right, before there is no more time to set things right,

That truth will be heard, the lies uncovered, life reset before the twilight zone came to visit my world.

But the world always resists Grace, since Grace comforts those disadvantaged, and disadvantages the comfortable.

There are things to see.

There are things to say.

There are truths which are being played with, and in the end the next generation learns that the lies are better than the truth.

It is like photography, everything is simple, even beautiful: until you realize something is being sacrificed: something precious; something basic and fundamental; something that seems …

Something so fundamental that there is nothing left if this is sacrificed.

We visited the mountains, to help me recover from acute bronchitis that just would not go away.

New Camper
New Camper

 

In the parking lot, a brand new camper compared to the ancient one we were using, having to fix it so it did not kill us.

There is something refreshing about breathing the mountain air.

But when it’s full of CO it puts a throbbing headache in the way and had I not opened the door so often that night ….

So this seemed a better option but not possible for us.

There were beautiful things,

beautiful light and snow on pine trees and clouds,

if you raised your head, which is always really hard to avoid.

Light
Light

On the way I caught the fog, again and again, and coming out of the fog is marvelous, for photographers, because the light … the light plays with reality to make it seem different, special.

Dull Fog
Dull Fog

It’s not always special; sometimes it’s just ordinary.

Light on the Road
Light on the Road

And then the sunlight hits the fog while the road flies by.

But then … then

It hits you.

See the Office
See the Office

And there are lots of shots that show its beauty that just hit you.

Light on Trees
Light on Trees

As you stop the light hits the trees.

Light on Trees 1
Light on Trees 1

And all that can be played with making it even more …

Light on Trees 2
Light on Trees 2

It looks great, even if it is not real.

Picnic
Picnic

But the picnic table is real.

 

 

 

Pyramid
Pyramid

Simple real in the early, early morning hours just as light starts to peak around the mountain air.

Pyramid 1
Pyramid 1

And Pyramid Mountain never looked so good, as the camera pushes through the darkness and the software reveals what the human eye could barely see.

And the software can make it look more than surreal, more than a cloudy mountain top with pines and fog, but how can more be really more when the reality is quite enough plus some?

Pyramid Real
Pyramid Real

Even if you have to wait a few hours for the sun to shine clear amid the clouds and shadows of late afternoon.

Simple skiing, now that’s real with the real mountains and clouds and snow laden pine trees … and the clear mountain air healing the bronchitis.

And that makes the waiting of Advent a waiting for truth, the truth God revealed on Christmas.

John the Baptist knew crazy but he never knew crazy, not crazy like I’ve had to suffer since ….

Breathe the fresh air.

Snow at the Lake

One can only enjoy the quiet and solitude

of mountains, snow, and water.

The Camper Gets Dusted
The Camper Gets Dusted

 

 

Call Home from Nowhere
Call Home from Nowhere
The Lakeview at the End of the Road
The Lakeview at the End of the Road
Red Canoe on the Way Down
Red Canoe on the Way Down
 Looking On
Looking On
Colour and Water
Colour and Water

 

More Colour and Water
More Colour and Water
The Island
The Island
Patterns
Patterns
Patterns Again
Patterns Again
Colour on the Way Out
Colour on the Way Out

Just a bit of fun, snow and lake and colour and …

A short walk.

That’s all for today.

Snowy Morning Pines and River

Snow by the Athabasca
Waking at the fresh hour of 9 the light snow falls everywhere around dampening the sounds, covering the views and clearing the mind … and making the photography some of my favorite: not cold at -2, not too wet, and diffused, specular light everywhere!

Path into the Woods
Path into the Woods
Deeper on the Path
Deeper on the Path

 

Knotty Tree
Knotty Tree

 

Pines with a View to the Foothills
Pines with a View to the Foothills

 

Pines and the Athabasca River
Pines and the Athabasca River

 

Up River
Up River

 

Down River
Down River

 

Path Down River
Path Down River

 

Path in the Pines
Path in the Pines

 

Path in the Pines 2
Path in the Pines 2

Quite often in life, how you orient yourself determines what you see, how you perceive it, and what you can do with it.
The same path, with a different perspective, is … enticing.
See the world as God’s invitation to engage and enjoy and provide care and beauty to others, all others.

And sometimes, taking a better view of the same thing produces a whole new understanding, and perspective.

Path in the Pines 2
Path in the Pines 2

Early Morning Mountains

Early Morning Mountains
Kathie needed something besides the ground to sleep on so she found this for a weekend to the mountains.

The basics upgraded, with highway sandings
The basics upgraded, with highway sandings

On the way it became obvious that a sway bar hitch was needed. As the roads became skating rinks at Hinton, traffic slowing to a crawl behind a smart semi driver, more than one slide and slip gave proof that this hitch more than paid for itself: without it we would have seen the ditch spinning out of control.

The Lifesaver: Getting Hitched Right
The Lifesaver: Getting Hitched Right

The unit had all sides, but the fantastic piece is this time of year the campground is deserted for the most part, and even after all the delays, we arrived, the third vehicle only in the campground. It’s mountain air, fresh, cool and quiet, next to a flowing river.

The Backside
The Backside

And me, the put it on your back or leave it behind, suddenly had on my back, well the back of my truck, a camper, not mine, to provide electricity, and warmth and comfort needed at these advanced years. And the freedom, freedom relative to the shakes, fatigue, weight loss, insomnia, and fear of the previous years … well the comparison is like night and day; death and life.

The Dark side, there’s always a dark side.
The Dark side, there’s always a dark side.

It took an awful lot of hard work to get this borrowed trailer ready for the trip, for use after being in moth balls for the last three years plus.
But here it is: all comfortable and well, pristine air in no short supply. And in the morning light, the views as always prove renewing. That’s something I’ve needed after the last 3 years. That was a darkside.