This past week, much of the southern part of our province was devastated by floods. Including the area and trail we were planning to go to hang our prayer flags. A disaster of this scale, epic porportions, made the decision unquestionable - we weren't going near it. Safety was our primary concern, as well as staying away for the emergency workers to do their jobs.
However, being the anniversary of Cam's death, it felt really important to do something. So we changed our plans and went north to Jasper National Park. Our trip turned into a spontaneous adventure - not quite sure what we would do, or where we would stay. In the end, our weekend turned out perfect. I would hazard a guess that it worked out better than the trip we had planned.
We hiked up the Bald Hills trail in Jasper, which has become my new favourite trail! We reached the top, had a picnic, and then rested in the meadow - taking a wee savasana. We honoured solstice and Aborigonal day with an Iroquois Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Earth while sitting on a mountain top overlooking Maligne Lake.
After dinner, we hiked up to Mount Edith Cavell and sat beneath Angel Glacier at sunset, surrounded and protected by massive, powerful guardians of rock and ice. We hung our prayer flags there to be infused with the energy and light of the "supermoon" over night - the closest and largest full moon of 2013.
That night, we stayed at the Edith Cavell Rustic Hostel, on bunk beds, with a wood burning fire glowing in the stove. The next day, we went back to Edith Cavell to get our prayer flags. We wanted to bring them home, hang them in the yard, and be close to them for a while.
And, as if that wasn't enough, we made one last pit stop at Athabasca Falls. There is something so powerful about being in places that render you speechless for their beauty and power.
Our weekend was so deep. So honouring. I felt I had nurtured my mind, body and spirit. It was my yoga.
In A Grief Observed by CS Lewis he writes, "There was no sudden, striking and emotional transition. Like the warming of a room or the coming of daylight, when you first notice them they have already been going on for some time."
And, when I look back on the past 7 years - the steps forwards and the steps backward - I see that there has been net gain towards integration and understanding how grief has forever changed me...and what my changed self needs to find ways to honour that which has changed me...
...like the way a glacier carves it's way through rock - changing the landscape forever...
...like the way a mountain meadow bursts with wildflowers, seemingly with no warning except warmer days...
...the rhythms and cycles of nature...seasons...full moons...dawn...dusk...
....cold rooms warmed by glowing fires...prayer flags...