Easy to see the glass half-empty these days, isn’t it? That doesn’t help. Those around us need reassurance, comforting, guidance, comforting and so much more. Often, especially the young(er), all they need is someone who will listen, someone who will understand their fears and anxieties, or someone who will make them laugh, even for just a short while. We can all be one that someone.
The sun rose today
My cheeks cold in the north wind
I kept on walking
It’s difficult to walk away from the newsfeed on my laptop, or to get up and walk away from the TV, when all you read and hear about is scary, frightening, depressing, and upsetting. When I do walk away, and go for a walk, the fresh air and the sunshine bring new energy, clear my mind. My heart beats a little faster. I forget about life for a while, or maybe I really live for a short while, until it grabs a hold of me again.
Focus on the positives
While some people still seem oblivious to this crisis
And to the risks it poses to all of us
Others shine by their courage and dedication
They do more than their part to get all of us through this
We can follow their example
Heed their advice
Do our part
It will all work out
(This is the last post in a series about a recent train trip across the Canadian prairies. The first in the series is here.)
Sleep eluded me throughout the night. Despite the gentle rocking of the train and the rhythmic lullaby sung by its wheels on the rail (ticatoc-ticatoc—ticatoc-ticatoc), I dozed off for what seemed only minutes at a time. All is quiet in our coach car, and all is dark out, save for the millions of stars dotting the inky black sky. I grab my camera and make my way back to the dome-car, careful not to wake my fellow passengers along the way, curious to see.
All alone up there, I marvel at the spectacle on display, just for me, I think. Venus dominates the eastern horizon, almost directly behind the train. And then, something happens: a faint glow lightens the darkness, a glow that would continue into daylight. An oncoming freighter reflects this light, like glowing embers, a dim orangey hue zooming by. Two young Chinese women join me, camera in hand, to capture some of this ephemeral beauty.
The land around us slowly emerges from the darkness, revealing lakes, tractors, buildings. The brightening morning luminescence slowly reveals roofs and fingers of smoke trailing skyward from their chimneys. The scene is magical, whimsical, surreal. Not a word is said.
High above us, an airplane races eastward, like an arrow to its target, leaving the twin laces of its contrail to stretch across the sky, lit in orange light. Those passengers, up at 41,000 feet, have probably witnessed the sun rise above the horizon already, unless they are asleep. Meanwhile, colours change subtly, lightening the dark: amber, bronze, copper, orange, yellow, melting into cobalt, indigo, violet, blue, gray, and green.
The long train contorts itself through a switch, like a snake weaving through short grass. I can see the last car for the first time! In the sky, what seemed to take forever quickly comes to its natural conclusion. The sun breaks the horizon; its light floods the eastern sky and paints the western countryside. One minute, the sky is a bright yellow, the next a familiar azure blue. Beautiful. The Canadian rolls on down the track towards Edmonton, my final destination on this journey.
When the light comes on
A deep sense of inner peace
Just around the bend
The sun’s rays bounced off the surface of the river, through the early-morning mist, painting the tree-tops in an olive glow. The morning dew soaked through my sandals (not an unpleasant feeling), cleared some of the cobwebs, and made me thirsty at the same time. When I reached the perfect observation spot only a few feet from the bank, I stopped, and shielded my eyes with my hand, as if I was saluting the river. I strained my ears, trying to discern the lyrical burble of the babbling brook—maybe I should call it a babble instead of a burble. I don’t know, I could barely make it out through the ever-present symphony, courtesy of the cicadas trapped inside my head, amplified by the remnants of last night’s drinks and cigars. Maybe they hadn’t particularly appreciated lying on the grass, staring skyward at the millions of twinkling dots made even more brilliant by the almost-absolute darkness of the “campagne,” for what turned out to be almost an hour. Well, I don’t care. I know I enjoyed every minute.
I heard the bullfrog’s song: its rubbery hollow vibrato that reminded me of my youth, and of the shoebox guitars we made with rubber bands. Only three or four beats of the amphibian mouth organ, not the usual “rrribbbittt” but more of a “vvvrrroooottt” if that makes any sense, or “mooootttt.” Then I heard the beaver slam its tail in a loud and deep “kasploooosh” to let me know I had invaded his personal space—sorry. I could imagine the top of its head, more than I could see it, at the leading edge of the arrow of water and trailing ripples, only signs of its presence.
My head cleared just like the fog lifted from the river and disappeared, carried away by an oh-so-soft breeze from the east. I stood still long enough to discern the sound of the downstream rapids. Not the kind of rapids you shoot in a canoe or a kayak, only a bunch of rocks that the low water level revealed around the bend. The water tickled the half-submerged rocks, creating an enchanting pianissimo symphony reminiscent of percussion instruments—mostly high-pitched glockenspiels, sopranos xylophones, tubular bells, claves, and wind chimes—echoing between the tall oaks on either side.
The entire scenery hypnotized me and lulled my senses into total forgetfulness; I forgot I was me, there (here, really), with all my baggage, my experiences, my confusions. For a moment, I became part of the landscape, melted into the scenery… Unable to focus, a retinal overload (if such a term exists. If not, well I just invented it). I closed my eyes. I blinked and saw the trees parade in front of me, their leaves fluttering, their limbs swaying. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee drifting down from the veranda pulled me from my reverie. What a way to begin the day…
Know what they say? But
Three’s not a crowd around you
Flow on by gently
Diving over the edge
On your merry way
Still in one piece
No care in the world
Nor for the memories
Water under the bridge
Piercing through morning haze
Off the blue liquid mirror
Lost in thought
Pulled from my reverie
Mirage or trickery
Like a gentle shower
Hundreds of tiny circles
Perturbing the water
Here one second
Gone in a flash
There with a dash
Breakfast for tiny pike
Watching, eager to strike
Tiny wings and legs above
All it took was one bite
I really liked the foxglove
p.s. If you’re still reading at this point, you probably wonder what the foxglove has to do with the story. Well, nothing really.
I never took a photo of the lake… I wish I had my camera with me, alas I didn’t.
But I had a photo of a foxglove. That’s it.