The Boy and Me: Nature-ing

*ALERT:  This post ended up much longer than I anticipated…but, beautiful places, so make sure that you scroll down to the photographs!

This summer, I stayed around town.  There are still so many places I haven’t been…and, there are also beautiful places that I want to return to again and again.  I know that there are a lot of people who put up their noses about Calgary.  But, for me, Calgary is home and the access we have to genuinely wonderful experiences is right at our fingertips, should we wish to partake.  Because of the circumstances of early summer, I had opportunity to do a little bit of exploring with my son.  Before they disappear into the dark hole that is my desktop photo archive, I’m going to bring these snippets up to the surface.  And then, I’m heading out to the pond with Max.

McKinnon Flats.

“Archaeologists of Lifeways of Canada Limited have been contracted by Alberta Culture and Tourism to find out about early settlement at McKinnon Flats.  They’re part of Culture and Tourism’s three-year Post-Flood Investigation Program, which was initiated to record the effects of the June 2013 southern Alberta flood on archaeological and palaeontological sites along rivers such as the Bow, Highwood, Sheep and Kananaskis.  As a result of the program, 100 new archaeological sites were identified and additional information was gathered at 87 sites that had been recorded prior to the flood.  Many of these sites were found eroding from the riverbanks, with some in need of investigation before they disappeared entirely.

The McKinnon Flats site is one of these locations. Although it had been previously recorded in 1971, no-one realized that it contained deeply buried cultural deposits.  As a result of the 2013 flood, however, a ten metre strip from the front of the site’s river terrace was removed, leaving a 400 metre exposure in the river bank that contained cultural evidence. This evidence included broken bison bone, large stone choppers and rock that had been heated and cracked in a fire. Among the eroding finds were the remains of a boiling pit that had probably been used to cook meat and process bone marrow in a skin-lined pit dug in the ground.  Evidence of the pit was found in the form of almost 100 heated “fire-broken” rocks that were eroding from one of the riverbank exposures. Between the time the pit was observed in 2014 and the site was excavated in 2016, however, all evidence has been completely eroded.”

It was at this location that my son and I did a beautiful-weather-day hike and shared in a Spoloumbo’s picnic sandwich on the river bank.  A spectacular day!

Frank Lake

Frank Lake is located in the foothills fescue prairie ecoregion. The lake is a hemi-marsh, which means it roughly has the same area of open water as there is emergent vegetation. Vegetation includes mostly hardstem bulrushsago pondweedRichardson’s pondweed, and northern waterfmilfoil. The lake and its surrounding upland areas attracts many species of birds. Waterfowl and shorebirds and other birds use the lake for staging during migration, and nesting. Some birds that can be seen here include: tundra swantrumpeter swanCanada goosenorthern pintailFranklin’s gullring-billed gullCalifornia gullcommon ternshort-eared owleared grebemarbled godwitlong-billed dowitcherblack-crowned night-heron, and black-necked stiltBirdwatching is a popular activity.

The drive to Frank Lake was very relaxing, as was the walk on well-worn pathways.  Along the way, we only met two other people, so it really did give me the sense of getting away from the city and relaxing into nature.  Highly recommend!  Not to be confused with my daily pond walking at Frank’s Flats.

Nose Hill Park

I really want to get out to hike all of the pathways from all directions to the top of Nose Hill Park.  It is such a spiritually charged place!  It’s always been on my bucket list, but, living in the deep south of the city, I had to drive there, with intention and finally it happened!

The Leighton Center...I always take friends and family here.  Most of all, because of the huge dramatic view.  I feel the best of everything that is foothills living, when I visit the Leighton Center.  On this visit, I enjoyed the appearance of several Mountain Blue Birds.  I felt really excited about that.  The smoke from the growing forest fires to the west began to cloak the mountains in the distance.

Ptarmigan Cirque

Pretty much an annual hike…breathtaking for its pretty immediate views…a place to take visitors to Calgary because of the expedient pleasure in the mountains, with very little exertion.

Custom Woolen Mills

On this particular day, I had convinced my young adult children to drive out to the Dancing Goats farm, just a short distance from the Woolen Mills.  I thought that we would be able to visit the goat farm, but, was mistaken.  In fact, the owners were in the city dropping off product to a number of retail locations.  I spoke with one of them on the telephone, from the small town of Acme.

Instead, we ended up taking country roads to go to the Custom Woolen Mills.  I was happy that Ruthie was in the gift shop, so I got a wee visit with her and had a chance to take my daughter and son into the mill.  I feel so connected to the place.  I love it more and more every time I make the drive.

I also met the Artist in Residency…an amazing artist and knitter…I’ll just have to go back into my writing and figure out her name.

 

It appears that I had some amazing experiences this past summer, most of them shared with Cayley and James.  I realize that in this process of “Falling Out of Order”, there was an awful lot going on.  But, for this lovely Thanksgiving afternoon, and with a pond walk and a large plate of turkey leftovers under my belt, I realize that it is time that I settle down to mark some narrative writings by grade four and five students.

Whenever I go through the process of archiving the experiences I enjoy in surrounding areas of Calgary, I realize how blessed I am. Yes.  It’s possible to travel the world over.  But, sometime it’s a blessing to realize what treasures lie very close to you, treasures to be uncovered.  Today, I feel grateful.

A Reality Tour

It was January 21, 2004 and I found myself sitting next to my daughter, Cayley, at the Dome, somewhere up in the nosebleeds awaiting  the entrance of Macy Gray.  Her set leading up to David Bowie was short but so overwhelmingly energetic that the distance between us and her was not existent.  I’ll always remember the power of her vocals and her entertainment factor.  Gritty, joyful, her performance was spirited and authentic.

Tonight I had intended to drive to the core to attend an event at the National Music Center, but am I just becoming a home body, when on a Thursday evening, I don’t want to go back out onto the roads?  I just want to stay home.

I decided to pull out one of my journals labeled Winter 2004 2 and to skim through until I found my notes on David Bowie and his performance.  With today’s news of the passing of Alan Rickman and a key historical player of the Stratford Festival, Brian Bedford, both from cancer, it causes me to take pause.  I think that Bowie’s 2004 concert was well-named.  I think it’s important to check in with ourselves over the course of this New Year and decide what it is in life that truly feeds the soul. What is this state that we refer to as REALITY?

There was a break as the stage was shuffled about and prepared for David Bowie.  Cayley and I sipped on our traditional two DOME cold beers and chatted.   Some time during that intermission, a woman with a huge roll of tickets came up to us and gave us two new tickets.  She said only, “David does not want any one sitting this far away.  He’s moving you up.”  Well…was that ever a blessing!  We had ideal seats one section above the stage on the left.  And so the music began to fly.  That night was a healing-night for me…hard to explain here, but it’s true.

I’ve taken photographs of my archives and while I wrote a lot about the music, I’m just going to post the visuals and maybe a video of the song that really moved me that night.

Eternal rest grant unto them , O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them .
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Live rightly.  Live justly.  Give to those in need.  Respect your body. Cherish your loved ones.  And…dance.

Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 021Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 020Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 019Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 018Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 016Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 015

Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 017Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 013Kath's Canon, January 14, 2016 Bowie and Memorabilia 012

 

 

 

 

Always buy the t-shirt!

 

Art and Connection

The day was a chilly and wet one, but filled to the brim with connecting, whether that was with people or art.

I got Max out in the early morning.  He was in his typically joyful place, leaping through the air in order to retrieve his Chuckit! Paraflight Fetch Toy Frisbee Disc.  He loves it!  It’s durable and I concur with all of the points made in the following review.  I try to alternate his types of work outs each day, taking him out onto trails on his own or doing work outs such as this toy provides.  I call this toy a whizzo…and I pick them up, two at a time, when they are on sale and keep them in stock in my front hall closet.  Max seems to go through about two a year.

While you play this sort of game with your energetic dog, you need to remember to temper the height of your throw in order that your dog does not experience long term wear on his hips and joints.  Border collies are so active, agile and obsessed that they have no limits on what they choose to endure, so you, as an owner, must set the limits.  It is a difficult thing to watch your very active dog succumb to arthritis at some point because you chose to be an ‘over achiever’ with him.  A side note here is that I have developed very beefy arms in my years of training and owning this breed. Certain dogs require hard work every day.  My boy would be one of those.  This work needs to be varied so to remain interesting and so sometimes making your dog sit and stay for 45 minutes is another alternative, particularly on bad weather days.

I dropped Max home and headed to meet with my retired teacher-friends for a coffee.  I treasure these friends so much and felt absolutely blessed as I left yesterday morning.  Our conversation was varied and enthusiastic.  We had opportunity to share both joy and pain and were there for one another to celebrate and support, both.  I continue to be surprised with the human resistance to retirement.  There is so much that happens in the world beyond ‘the job’.  Thanks to my friends for sharing your interesting lives with me.  I am truly blessed by your smarts and your wit.

From there, I jumped on the C Train and got off at the City Hall stop.  After a warm chicken salad sandwich, enjoyed in our central public library, I headed over to the John Clark exhibit at C2.  I found Jeffrey Spalding in an intense conversation with a couple of people and so enjoyed my encounter with the images on my own. I love the synchronicity of the entire event….CTrain City Hall Chicken Salad, Clark, C2…it was a C sort of a morning.

The exhibit is a beautiful collection of works by John Clark.  The collection, available until August 31, is another amazing tribute to a person with a unique statement about his surroundings and experience. I was most emotional in front of a huge canvas painted in 1989, the piece that appears at the complete right of the following photograph.

??????????The following image was acquired via the University of Lethbridge Lasting Images linkArtist-Photographer, Arnaud Maggs, passed in 2012.   May 2013 edition of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.

Arnaud Maggs, John Clark in his studio, 1988. From the University of Lethbridge Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 1989.

Arnaud Maggs, John Clark in his studio, 1988. From the University of Lethbridge Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 1989.

I continue to long for a greater connection with the University of Lethbridge since attending during the years 1973 to 1977, and so I really enjoyed this piece, I believe to be titled Bird and Bridge.

DSC_0256An excellent tribute to John Clark’s life and exploration…beautifully displayed and worth our admiration.  Gratitude to C2 and also the various contributors of the pieces featured in this exhibit.

DSC_0254 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ??????????From C2, I headed over to the Glenbow Museum to enjoy the Bee Kingdom’s:The Iconoclasts in Glass.  AWESOME!  Get out to see this one.  I have written several times about the Bees over these last several years, but, please DO enjoy this elegant display of a very comprehensive collection of works.  Such a clear vision was evidenced in this body.  A pleasure!  Congratulations and shout out to Phillip, Tim and Ryan!

DSC_0277

Phillip Murray Bandura

DSC_0268

Timothy Belliveau

Timothy Belliveau

Ryan Fairweather

Ryan Fairweather

I hung out in the museum for a little while…thinking especially about Marion Nicholl’s work for some reason.  I thought she was such a phenomenal visionary.  I don’t wish to get into the generational and gender ‘thing’ here…but…come on!

DSC_0266It just wouldn’t be right to be so close to create! at the Golden Age Club, to not walk over and see what was cooking.  I enjoyed a coffee and rice crispy square with visionary and facilitator, Wendy Lees; artists Margaret, Lorna, Jo-Anne and Les and got filled in about all of the recent goings-on including the creation of a Little Library and another zine.

I met up with my daughter after jumping on the train and rockin’ my way to the ‘burbs’ from the core.  After yet another Max-event, Cayley and I met up with a beautiful friend of ours at the Blue’s Can and I spun some circles in the dance floor to the all-so-familiar tunes of Tom Phillips and the Men of Constant Sorrow.  The day could not have been more full, rich and beautiful.

After all of this, I remembered to take the garbage out for a Friday morning pick-up.  And, after reading a few fantastic pages of Carol Shield’s Small Ceremonies (Karen, get this book!), I was off to sleep.

Calgary Folk Festival: Jumbled Musings With Iron and Wine

Initially, I thought that I would search out alternative music to place over top of this short film, taken at the closing of the festival last night, but in listening to the shared-experience with my daughter, I found bits of it to be so endearing…I know that I will treasure this account forever.  Love you, dear girl of mine!

The Trapeze Swinger by Iron and Wine

Please remember me, happily
By the rosebush laughing
With bruises on my chin, the time when
We counted every black car passing

Your house beneath the hill and up until
Someone caught us in the kitchen
With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
A vision too removed to mention

But please remember me, fondly
I heard from someone you’re still pretty
And then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates
Had such eloquent graffiti

Like ‘We’ll meet again’ and ‘Fuck the man’
And ‘Tell my mother not to worry’
And angels with their great handshakes
But always done in such a hurry

And please remember me, at Halloween
Making fools of all the neighbors
Our faces painted white, by midnight
We’d forgotten one another

And when the morning came I was ashamed
Only now it seems so silly
That season left the world and then returned
And now you’re lit up by the city

So please remember me, mistakenly
In the window of the tallest tower
Call, then pass us by but much too high
To see the empty road at happy hour

Gleam and resonate just like the gates
Around the Holy Kingdom
With words like, ‘Lost and found’ and ‘Don’t look down’
And ‘Someone save temptation’

And please remember me as in the dream
We had as rug burned babies
Among the fallen trees and fast asleep
Beside the lions and the ladies

That called you what you like and even might
Give a gift for your behavior
A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
Swinger high as any savior

But please remember me, my misery
And how it lost me all I wanted
Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
The colored birds above their running

In circles round the well and where it spells
On the wall behind St. Peter
So bright on cinder gray in spray paint
‘Who the hell can see forever?’

And please remember me, seldomly
In the car behind the carnival
My hand between your knees, you turn from me
And said the trapeze act was wonderful

But never meant to last, the clowns that passed
Saw me just come up with anger
When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot
Had an element of danger

So please remember me, finally
And all my uphill clawing
My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates
I’ll do my best to make a drawing

Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
An angel kissin’ on a sinner
A monkey and a man, a marching band
All around the frightened trapeze swinger

Images Harnass Love So That We Remember

Gramma and Grand Daughter

Album:  ‘I’m a Mountain’, ( 2006 )

When the days close on the memories that you’ve acquired
And your body cannot hold your soul inspired
You are here and not alone
Everybody has come home
There’s a bed made up upstairs
If you get tired

All the heaviness around you will get light
And your worry lifted up into the night
Left with nothing but pure love
Left with all you are made of
Can I stay around awhile
Is that all right?

Oh lives don’t end
Goin’ out to be brought back again
Our lives don’t end