Every now and then I remember to be thankful for the beauty of the country I live in. I go about my life for weeks and months at a time without ever thinking about it, taking it all for granted. Then I get a chance to see Canada with new eyes and I am speechless.
The grandeur and wonder of the Rocky Mountains does that for me every time. I have driven through them, picnicked in them and skiied down them many times, but each time they take my breath away again. Each time I see them with new eyes.
This time they were especially beautiful – maybe because I needed the break, the rejuvenation of my spirit – so badly. We just returned from a five day break to ski at Sun Peaks, near Kamloops in British Columbia (two days driving and three days skiing – I once read that you know you are a redneck if you measure distance in hours – I’m not even sure what you call yourself if you measure distance in days?)
It was glorious. Lots of sunshine, amazing snow conditions, great skiing, wonderful hot tub at the end of each day to soothe aching muscles, and hearty home-cooked meals to share with loved ones. Also, clear roads for the eight-hour trip there and blowing snowstorm all the way home – just so we didn’t forget that winter is still here. It was all good.
The snowstorm that followed us all the way home yesterday, has stayed all day today and looks like it’s settled in for a long visit. But that’s okay, we have the memory of sunshine on the mountains to get us through it.
Before we left I spent a few evenings preparing meals to take along, simple food to nourish and energize us - hearty beef and chicken burgers to serve with bacon jam, a savoury beef and buckwheat chili, and sauerkraut with sausages and potatoes, along with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and snacks.
For breakfasts we fuelled ourselves with scotch oatmeal porridge or poached eggs served on toast with more bacon jam. Unfortunately, photos of our meals didn’t happen. We were always too ravenous, and I never remembered to grab my camera until most of the food was gobbled up, except for this last bit of our sauerkraut meal.
I had a slow cooker, microwave and electric frying pan to work with, but we ate like mountain kings. And slept like hibernating bears after exhilerating days of fresh air. Our rooms bordered the ski hill, so we could sweep open the curtains first thing in the morning and see the mist lift off the top of the hill, then look out into the dusk and see the last skiers streak by the window on their way to evening lodgings. It was a heavenly break.
I feel exhausted, energized, recharged and thankful. Thankful for our beautiful mountains, and yes, thankful for the winter snow swirling around outside, while I sit inside, safe and warm, typing these words. Winter snows mean the promise of a great garden, and a small sprout of anticipation for spring is germinating inside me.
We are on the downhill side of winter.