..... taking pause and moving fast!
As I write this, we have moved out of February and into March. My husband calls it the "transition month". I must agree. Certainly winter is not over. Cold and snow will be around for some time where I live, yet the longer days are noticeable. When I turn my face to the sun I feel it's energy and warmth on my skin, bringing a lightness and sense of hopefulness into my heart. It has been a tough winter. It has been a tough year. In fact it has been a tough two years. Yet hope and happiness lay in everyday moments and simple pleasures.
It's true, I am not a huge lover of winter, to this I confess. I am ever happy when settled on a warm sandy beach at the edge of the ocean. However, I do have great appreciation for some aspects of winter. I love the beauty of fresh fallen snow, the magic of sparkly ice-coated branches and the energizing effect of cool air filling my lungs. These are powerful and wonderful experiences I am grateful to receive. So despite the length and challenges winter often brings, I look for moments of joy and fun to carry me forward.
It was a cold and brilliant day yesterday that beckoned me to get outside. So I reached out to a dear old friend, inquiring if she wanted to join me for a little field trip to Parc Omega in Montebello, Quebec. Parc Omega is a 12 kilometer Canadian safari and a place she and I use to take our young children many moons ago. Once at the park you are able to get up-close and personal with bison, wolves, fox, bears, deer, elk, moose and more. Always a family favourite and so much fun. Fortunately for me my friend was up for the challenge, and we soon set off on our childless adventure.
Reminiscent of my time on safari in Tanzania years past, I stood up on the car seats and squeezed myself through the sunroof window. With camera in hand and a few crazy long lenses (bequeathed to me by my recently deceased photographer-father) I snapped and laughed and fed (oh so many) carrots to the VERY friendly deer!
We meandered through the forest marvelling at the "crystal garden" we were in. The brilliance of the sun glistening on the ice covered tree branches and snow covered slopes, was both magical and uplifting. Mother Nature is truly a spectacular artist, ever inviting her onlookers opportunities for pause and wonder.
We spent the better side of three hours laughing, chatting and exploring. Enjoying our friendship with ease in this place of beauty. Just as we were coming to the end of our excursion we noticed dog-sledding tours on offer. How exciting! But as we approached we read a sign indicating they were SOLD OUT. We were crestfallen, but still stepped forward to take a closer look. Just then one of the mushers ask us if we wanted to go for a ride? Apparently she had one last spot in the final run of the day! Our smiles and enthusiastic jumping up and down brought laughter to everyone standing nearby. So, with the sound of jubilant dogs barking, we climbed into the sled, bundled ourselves up beneath piles of cozy blankets, and were readied for the ride. Oh what a ride it was! The speed and strength of the team drew us forward at such a pace that we squealed and whooped with delight. The blinding brilliance of the sun, with the crispness of the snow under the runners and the cold of the wind on our faces only served to heighten the sensory excitement of this experience. Exhilarating is the word I must use as a descriptor!
With only a few minutes left before closing time, we lingered to view a large pack of Arctic Wolves. We watched these strong commanding animals as they gracefully moved about from place to place and, after a time, finally settling into stillness. To our delight they lifted their chins to the sky and began to howl. Their chorus of baying voices in call and response echoed across the windswept fields. It was a impressive display and a potent sight. With no small amount of reverence we observed the togetherness and the collectiveness of their community. After some time and with some reluctance we slowly pulled away from this majestic gathering. It seemed our Canadiana wilderness adventure was complete.
Today I reflect on these experiences and ponder what lessons I might have learned. It seems I am reminded once again to be open to the beauty and opportunities that come my way. I am reminded to take action, both big and small, and to notice the joy, beauty and power that lies in friendship, in community and in the natural world, for all hold an incredible capacity to fill me up.
I invite you to take action and to enjoy the simplicity of pause from time to time, so you may bear witness to the abundance of beauty and joy that is ever present and always within reach.
In peace and friendship,