Category Archives: country escapades

Stayed up late enthralled with a new Joni Mitchell book. Delighted to rediscover in her a fellow dreamer –

 I intended to become a hermit when I bought my land in Canada. …

That was after I wrote “Big Yellow Taxi.” I bought the land a year or two after that. I was never going to come back. I was just going to live up there. I thought, “I will never get bored on this piece of land.”

It’s magical. It really is. The mundane aspects of it are magical and then there are two or three things every year that are spectacular — pink rainbow, comets streaking through the clouds, low to the ground. Amazing things. Not to mention I’ve got a blue heron that I have a relationship with, that lives in my bay – big bird. A robin followed me around one year. Everywhere I went, he was hopping around behind me.

From Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words, by Malka Marom (2014), 60.

First tree buds

2014 First Tree Bud Sighting

2014 First Tree Bud Sighting

At the neighbourhood park this week saw the very beginnings of buds at the branch tips of one tree – much further behind than this crowned glory, on March 31, who greets guests at the Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area trail head.

Geese flying overhead all week.

River clear of ice yesterday.


January Escape to Jasper

Taking the train across the northern prairies into mountain country is a delight: columnar conifers slipping by, lake surfaces luminescent in the moonlight…

We splurged on a winter deal at Jasper Park Lodge – admittedly a cushy way to experience the wilds of the mountains. From the Great Hall, crackle of fireplace nearby, comforting beverage in hand, bum firmly planted in cushioned armchair, this is the view that greets you:

View from Great Hall, Jasper Park Lodge

And then there’s the view from the trail. Worth getting up for!

Equinox Escape

Private Campsite

Private Campsite!

On the sun’s quarterly landmarks I take a vacation. I am learning new holy days, rooted in the natural rhythms of the universe in which I find myself. On these holy day holi-days, I devote a day to connect with nature directly. To remind my body and my mind what it is to be an animal in this world – away from the mental focus of my regular life.

Sunset from campsite

Sunset view from campsite

This fall equinox, I left the city behind and headed for the hills. Along the David Thomson highway, on the crown land nestled near national parks, there is a wilderness playground for urban escapees.

An informal camp site at the end of a rough road called itself “home” the instant I entered the space. Beside the swift mountain river and ringed with mountains, it made a luxury resort for the weekend.

Adventures in beekeeping

Honeybee working hollyhock with lots of pollen

Fuzzy as kittens!

I escaped the city for a few summers to work at a bee farm, some time ago. In the Honey House I delighted in watching individual bees, fuzzy and wide-eyed as kittens. As one would come trundling along the narrow path of a board edge, I would lower my face to her level at the end of her path. She would stop short and sit back on her haunches to study the new development.  After a pause, recognition would dawn and she would turn tail and flee, scurrying back the way she came.

They always seemed to be able to make out the monstrously large face of another being in my features. I was surprised that they related to their fellow creatures in a way that I haven’t noticed in other insects like moths, flies, or mosquitoes. Maybe it’s the social animal coming out in them?