Clearing my head

Sometimes, I just need to get away.

Sometimes, I just need to get out of the city and visit the mountains.

We have scenery like nowhere else in the world, just a 45-minute drive away. We don’t even have to go to Banff to grab a piece of heaven.

We need only head to Bragg Creek and slightly beyond to stand in the shadow of the breathtaking majesty of the Rockies.

We’re lucky for that reason (and many more) in Calgary.

The tourist traps were busy today, the Labour Day holiday … crap, I just wrote ‘day’ three times in one sentence. The parking lots were full every time I passed one – from Allen Bill Pond to Elbow Falls and beyond.

And I was in search of peace. I won’t try to tell you that life has been rough lately … things are still as good as they could be.

But it has been hectic. A broken crown, a five-day trip to Toronto for the World Hockey Summit, remembering how awesome my former sportswriting life was, coming back to my current marketing-writing job, helping to get a new side project going (stay tuned!) and having to get a tooth pulled.

No, really … I’m going to stop whining about that stupid tooth soon. I swear.

I stopped at Elbow Falls for a while, only because the scenery makes it so easy to capture a great shot. And it’s been some time since I practised my rushing-water photos.

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I love the silken look the water takes on when I pull out my shutter-release remote and slow down the shutter speed.

But then there’s the power displayed by the water crashing into itself when I keep the shutter speed quick.

It’s that something about water

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But there were people all over the place. The sound of the running water was overpowered by folks chattering and babies crying and timid people fussing over Shep, the wonder dog.

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It was time to head further down the road.

Nope, not there. Too many cars.

Not there either.

Or there.

Even Forget-Me-Not Pond is jammed with … never mind, what’s that? Three cars in a tiny little parking lot at Little Elbow.

And no one can be seen or heard, but for a couple of guys on mountain bikes. They pass by with a ‘hello’ and then disappear to the other side of the bridge.

It’s quiet.

It’s serene.

It’s my Zen.

We went on down the trail for a bit, but not too far because it was getting late and my stomach was starting to snarl with hunger for some soup.

Yeah, soup (soft food and nothing but for another three days; see Tooth, Pulled).

But with all that hectic stuff going on, someone has been getting neglected.

Someone hasn’t been getting his walks as regularly as he so richly deserves.

So he sees the opportunity to run forever and he jumps and runs and bounces and gallops and smiles … oh, how he smiles.

And it’s the kind of smile that lights up my heart in ways you can only imagine.

There’s a rock beach close to the Elbow River, so I found a rock to sit down and watched as my best friend loved the water as much as I do.

To my right, Shep cooling down in the icy glacier runoff and lapping it up to quench his thirst.

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To my left, the snow-capped mountains portray the quiet strength I often wish I had.

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And so I listen.

Just listen to the water rush by … and I let it rush through the crevices of my brain clearing out the tension and maybe even some of the confusion that’s been festering in there.

With some hesitation, I called out to Shep, knowing we had to head home soon.

The cold air was starting to bite through my thin shirt and the comfort of the seat-heaters were waiting.

But I turned and looked at the mountains and promised I’d be back soon. Maybe even next weekend, if I can.

Because a clear head is better than the alternative.

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