KAMLOOPS — Yesterday morning was a magical one. Snow and temperatures below 10 for a change after days of almost minus 15. Puppy and I found our way to Peterson Creek and, aside from snow, we found exuberance. It’s perhaps a stretch to attribute that to a silent landscape partially lost in snow, but it was there. We followed our noses up a trail as if on some treasure hunt.
The elderly gentleman we met on one of the higher trails and his happy Retriever joined us for part of the hike. We talked about dogs, the joy of having someone get you up in the morning with the most loving stare there is and no words necessary, and we talked about how walking can add so much goodness to one’s life.
The lady we met next was out with her bouncy 5-year-old daughter and an equally bouncy big Bernese mountain dog. We shared smiles, opinions about how every child is so beautifully different from all the others, and about how the bond between children and dogs is one to marvel at. When we parted ways, the sun was shining and the air was sparkling with tiny snowflakes dancing every which way.
It felt fulfilling to be there and see it all. I welcomed the break from everything that is usually playing tug of war with my mood. I am chagrined about many things. That we are still considering building pipelines and relying on fossil fuels when the urgency to address climate change should include anything else but.
I am chagrined that there are homeless people sleeping outside in this weather because there are not enough resources or availability to make the opposite happen or that the issue of homelessness has yet to be resolved. That there is hunger and abuse of all kinds affecting children and women and the elderly and there are people who suffer in silence, forgotten, and losing every thread of hope, that we are wasting so much of what we have instead of redirecting and making so many lives better…
The list is endless. And often time so is the sense of despair that overcomes me when I think of whether we will ever solve issues that cause suffering. The most visible ones at least, the most urgent, the most heartbreaking.
Truth is, there is little solving that I can do by dropping temporarily into the said pits of despair. Everything that can and will be resolved will be a together effort. When enough of us care enough things will happen. History, recent and distant, has plenty of examples of that.
Meanwhile, back to now. The snow gets thicker by the day. For part of this morning’s hike we followed the creek bed, plodding through soft new snow with the sounds of the water gurgles accompanying our steps. The trees were all draped in white, beautiful and silent, but one stood out: it was decorated with a few small Christmas ball ornaments. Just like that. I felt grateful for it, for the feeling of simple joy it elicited. It made me feel grateful towards whoever took the time to do that.
It made me think of the necessity of taking a break from all that overwhelms us at times so that we can continue to care. It made me think of the mornings when I snuggle with my little guy to read together, of the times when the four of us plus the dog take long night walks talking and strolling and decide to make the walk longer just because everything seems so right with being in that moment. It made me think of last night, when my husband and I found sweet refuge at Art We Are in the company of close friends, listening to sounds of old blues brought to us by an Australian musician and his banjo.
The windows were fogged up, the fragrant tea and laughter plenty and outside the snow kept falling. It felt soothing and necessary to stay a bit longer so we did. The troubles of the world continued during that time and they are still out there. There is lots to be saddened about.
But for the sake of finding reason to keep on going and for the sake of being able to replenish ourselves so that we can keep on being kind and caring, we must find islands of silence, gratitude and joy. We must find time to just be, whether alone or in the company of those who make us feel complete and grateful.
We must slow down to see. The good, the sad and the better ways to be…
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