Saturday, February 09, 2008


Last Sunday, 7 of us gathered in a beautiful home in Procter, and spent over 6 hours making creative journals. Using collage, water colours, drawing, and water colour pencils, we practiced several techniques on making our writing journals full of colour and visuals. Kim Howard was inspirational and inspired us to make wondrous creations, and encouraged us to have fun! And we went away inspired and have great fun memories (and a whole bunch of ideas about creating).

Procter is about 40 minutes here - the journey means crossing Kootenay Lake twice - once over a bridge and once over a ferry. So we end up back on the same side of the lake. If we were ambitious, we could walk the train rails from Nelson and end up in Procter. But I don't, and I haven't.

There is an interesting phenomenon that I experienced when I first came to the Kootenays over 14 Novembers ago - as the air cools, the lake releases heat and we see this in the form of mist. Each year, I have made a mental note that I need to get my camera and capture the event. What I have found out over the years, is that capturing it is an elusive phenomenon in itself. Like finding sweetgrass. I can remember many years ago in my Manitoba days going into a field and catching the aroma of sweetgrass, so I looked down and walked through that grassland to find it. As I moved this way and that, the aroma would fade and then it would astonish me with the strength of the smell. But find it I did not.

And the mist was that fleeting. Days when I took out my camera, there was no mist on the lake, even though the conditions felt right - cold mornings as the days were getting shorter. And of course the days when I did see it, I had no camera in hand.

The first time I actually saw the mist and had a camera was last September when I volunteered at the Bridge to Bridge road race. That picture is on Facebook. I felt like someone who had taken a picture of Sasquatch.

And the second time was last Sunday when I was on the ferry going to Procter. What I found on that 5-minute ferry ride, is that the mist is always in motion. By the time, I had reached the other side, the mist was almost all gone.

Here is what I saw on that Sunday:

There definitely was a sense of spring on that day, as the sun shone the whole day. But when you live in Canada, and in particular, the mountains, there is always plenty of surprises when it comes to the weather. On Thursday, we woke up to about 20 cms of snow.

Here's the back lane on that very morning - minus my car, which has been put out on the street because the entrance to the alleyway has a pile of snow from the snowplows.

Looking outside on Thursday morning, I reached my tipping point and surrendered. I put on my hat, scarf, and yes, even long johns, rolled up my trouser hems and headed down the hill to work. Up to this point, I had dressed like a teenager, bare head and fleece jackets where ever I went. Two days before, I had my fill of winter and decided I didn't even want to wear my winter boots any more and put on my Brooks running shoes.

But on that morning, I even put on my Yak Trax, gear that is strapped over the bottom of footwear so one does not slip on the ice. I looked at all the wonders around me - the snow on the trees, and the amazement of where all that snow goes. I got to work and watched the snow flakes outside of my window and marvelled at the beauty. Later in the morning, as I sat at my desk, the clouds started parting and I saw blue. By noon, the snow was melting.

There seems to me a lot of metaphors about life when it comes to the weather. About going with the flow. About knowing when to surrender. And knowing that life is about cycles.

Now, I sit on this Saturday morning, contemplating my day, looking out the window and watching the snow fall.

I heard someone say once, "Winter is not done with us yet."

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