When I need solace, I have always headed for the hills. When I was 18, I travelled out to the Canadian rockies for the summer. I had lost a good friend that year; he was killed crossing Mississauga Road after leaving a party. I had never experienced the death of someone so close to me before so I was a wreck. My friend, Beth, and I took a train to Calgary, and then thumbed a ride up to the Deer Lodge in Lake Louse. We had no job lined up; just the name of a friend who was working there to recommend us. We got jobs serving food in the cafeteria and were assigned spartan rooms in a building behind the lodge.
This was a dream come true. I, who had never seen the mountains before, went to sleep in a bunk bed with a view of the mountains. I worked all day in a cafeteria that looked out at Lake Louise through ceiling to floor windows that covered an entire wall. Lake Louise, a turquoise jewel nestled between two mountain ranges with a glacier spilling into the far end. I spent all of my free time hiking around the lake and up into those mountains; often alone. I came home to finish grade 13 feeling that I had found God that summer.
I don’t know how other people experience God but for me, it has always been through the earth. When our children were young, we took them to a nearby conservation area every Sunday morning. We joked about it being our “church” but there was more truth in the joke than we realized. To my husband and I, this was our spiritual practice with our children. We would spend an hour before the crowds arrived exploring a small lake; catching frogs, looking for the two snapping turtles with green moss on their backs, studying damselflies and dragonflies as they basked in the sun, watching for downy woodpeckers, chickadees and cootes.
This quiet time stalking wildlife was meditative; a time of discovery and wonder for our kids; a time of peaceful attentiveness for us; a time of joy and pleasure. This was our spiritual practice; it was our Sunday morning ritual; it was our time to appreciate the beauty in nature; connect with each other; and “touch the face of God”.
- Reaching For Another Hand Hold… (thewritelife2.wordpress.com)