I visit Kananaskis Country often. For those who don’t know, it’s where the prairie skies meet mountain peaks. The foothills here are a little less rocky than the iconic Banff and Lake Louise. It’s usually a little quieter too. Between the lack of crowds and the shorter drive now that we live in the south end of the city, Kananaskis has become a favourite.
A couple weeks ago Nate and I bundled up and went for a walk in the foothills. Our pup ran laps around our path, dropping sticks at our feet before taking off again. We didn’t see another soul for miles, but we weren’t lonely because the river sang for us all afternoon. We wandered beside the river’s edge until the sun fell behind the trees.
Every time we visit the mountains, I leave a piece of my heart behind. I think I carry a piece of the mountains with me in exchange. Fresh air follows us back to the city. It fills our car and lingers in our home on a Sunday night.
Do you ever feel like the past is sitting just behind your shoulder, closer than it should be? But when you turn around, you’re still in the present. Or what about those memories from your childhood that feel less like memories and more like dreams. Do you feel them?
The line dividing fiction and reality blurs for me sometimes. Maybe because I spend half of real life either buried in books or writing new stories. The other half I spend outside pretending my life is a fairy tale. I blame Kananaskis for my sometimes loosened grip on reality. All of this space so close to our little townhouse in the city. All this room to wander. All these trails to roam.
I’ve learned that the sun sets differently in the mountains. It brings the whole world with it when it leaves. All that’s left is you and me and the moon, and the lone wolf that sniffed around our tent that one time while we slept on the ground. But that’s okay with me because I like when it’s quiet, and the wolf carried on its way.
There’s something about these trails. They’re healing, but addictive. They’re quiet but inspire so loudly; the trees and my thoughts speak different languages, but I’m desperate to learn. Even in winter there’s so much to see.
I don’t know many things, but I’m working on it. Everywhere I go I try to leave a little kinder; a little more understanding; a little more patient. We can learn something from the most mundane moments if we know how to look at it. Luckily, nothing about hanging out in the foothills feels mundane.
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