I rose with the sun this morning and hit the trails early, in order to leave most of the day free to link up with my brother and pay a surprise visit to our dear ol’ da’ on Pender Island.
The hours alone tracing ribbons in the dirt gave me time to reflect on the day and the men it celebrates.
So I ran through the woods accompanied by the times my dad and I have shared similar places, those memories standing out as they do with the greatest relief in the landscape of our history.
My mind ran along the trails of Lake O’Hara with my father-in-law, the economist, feeling the value of those memories increasing with every stride and every day now that their supply has been cut down to zero.
And I thought of all the memories I have the privilege of creating and sharing with all the young dads in my life, who open their homes and their families to me and by their example provide inspiration every day for a belief in Goodness.
This one’s for all of you, with thanks.
My flatland friends can get haughty about big prairie skies being where it’s at, but I think we do alright out here on the left coast. Juan de Fuca Strait from Moss Rock Park, Victoria, BC (iPhone).
Day 13, 30 x 30 Nature Challenge: Summit Park, Victoria, BC. (iPhone)
I dove through a break in Victoria’s torrential rain today, landing - with mutts in tow - at Summit Park, the 23rd of my victoria.amongnature.ca locations. The moment I stepped into the understory of tall grass and wildflowers beneath the undulating groves of Garry Oaks I was hit by two sensations: The first was wonder: the park is perhaps the most stunning example I’ve seen of our local endangered Garry Oak ecosystem; with the camas carpeting the understory in profusion and dozens of swallows doing gymkhana through the boughs it was an absolute marvel today. The second sensation was that totally unconstructive human feeling of regret at opportunities foregone: What the hell had I been waiting for? I’ve lived in Victoria for 15 years and never before visited this amazing spot. How many of these moments have I missed?
The whirring of the birds by my head was a reminder of my past - swallows were one of my study subjects when I was doing toxicology research on the oil sands a lifetime ago - but also brought me back to the present and to a reminder of the Johannes Eckhart quote:
There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.
I can’t claim to possess more than a momentary grasp on Eckhartian Zen, but the birds gave me a tour of the park Now. So introduced, I have a strong feeling I’ll return for a few more visits during the next thousand years.
Day 12, 30 x 30 Nature Challenge - Mother’s Day Walk: Spectacle Lake Provincial Park (iPhone)
Day 11, 30 x 30 Nature Challenge - trail run: Gowland-Tod Provincial Park (Partridge Hills). All photos iPhone. Photos: (1): Trail running with Tim is always an interpretive exercise in respect of the “trail” part; (2) Salomon sent me some new shoes, the Sense Mantra - I’m no speed racer, but they look and feel pretty speedy themselves; (3) Tim & Lola are here probably 4 times a week, making this very much their de facto backyard, and definitely their happy place; (4) the view north from the high point of land, looking towards the Gulf Islands, once again striking a bit of a Takao Tanabe pose.
Day 10, 30 x 30 Nature Challenge - urban parks (8) link-up run through Vic West and Esquimalt, BC. (iPhone) victoria.amongnature.ca spots hit: Macaulay Point Park, Fleming Beach, Memorial Park, Highrock Park, Esquimalt-Gorge Park. Photos: (1) Though not one of the parks, the Songhees Walkway and Victoria Inner Harbour have a natural aesthetic about them; (2) not even close to a park, but if there are deer hanging out in the Department of National Defence family housing subdivision, doesn’t that make it nature, de facto? (3) Macaulay Point Park; (4) Highrock Park; (5) the view along the Gorge waterfront of Esquimalt-Gorge Park; further down the Gorge, Banfield Park.
Day 8, 30 x 30 Nature Challenge - Dog Walk: Island View Beach Regional Park, Central Saanich, BC.
Walking an old dog along a beach is an exercise in changing pace, a meditation. I too-rarely make the time for times like these, times without measurable outcomes sought; times where goals may be as concrete as the next headland or the next clump of seaweed to sniff, but as changeable as the next incoming wave. To do so requires intention. While doing so I realized how few opportunities like this that I likely have with my old friend. Having done so, I won’t be giving it back.