April 24th – Spring has sprung!

I just got back from my daily walk. It is a beautiful, although extremely windy, day here in Fort McMurray.

The amount of dirt in the air is incredible. Thank God I wear glasses! And further thanks that I’m going to the pool tonight. That’ll get the grime gone for sure.

Here are a few pictures from the day. As you can see the river hasn’t quite broken up yet. It is actually looking pretty ugly. Up close and along the banks the water is like mud. The melting snow is black and sludgy.  I’m not sure, but I think the water level has risen a tiny bit.

Further downstream, near the bridge things are looking a little better, but not by much.

We need a good, cleansing rain to freshen things up. And start the trees budding.

A good community clean-up is in order, too. I’m going to check the municipality’s website and see if there’s one scheduled.

 

 

 

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Other than garbage this is all the colour we’ve got right now.

 

 

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River update – April 19, 2018

You can see that the ice is getting ready to break up. It’s got an opaque quality to it. Sadly, I’ll probably miss the actual break-up as we’re heading back to Bon Accord for the weekend. Ah, well.

I’m so looking forward to going home – even if it’s only for a couple of days. I’ll get to see my grandkids! And their parents, lol. I miss them, too.

I miss my house, my yard, my bed, my everything that became’ home’ over the past 28 years.

I’m getting used to life up here in Ft. Mac, but it will never be home. For now, it’s an adventure and I’m trying to make the most of it. Someday I’ll be able to say: Remember when we lived in Fort McMurray? And I’ll have stories to tell.

That’s pretty awesome.

Memories

Back in 2009 I took part in a poem a day challenge.  It was a lot of fun and a great writing exercise. I love poetry; though I don’t read nearly enough of it, and I write even less.

It’s a blah, mid-April day here in the Fort today.  For some reason this poem popped up in my memories.

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Water Tower, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Kathy Larson

©April 5, 2009

We’d see it as Dad rounded the corner on to John Street:
Unimaginably tall, bluer than the sky,
Thrillingly extra-terrestrial.
We’d all cheer and he would tell us to be quiet;
I’ll turn this damn car around right now, he’d growl,
And we’d hush, but we knew he wouldn’t.
Still, the threat was there. He was tired, who knew?
Mom, quiet beside him, readying to face her parents,
Another one of us added to her brood.
Us, squirming in the back on scratchy ‘Corinthian leather’,
Three days packed in mid-summer heat.
Endless games of “I-spy” and learning to hate Charlie Pride,
Conway Twitty and Connie Francis.
Always, someone would pee their pants,
Though they tried hard not to,
But Dad wouldn’t stop, and then, he would.
To late. We learned, over time,
To cover for one another,
Whispering: Watch for the water tower.
The promise of cousins, roasted corn and a trip to Pepe’s
Along magnolia-shaded streets could make us forget anything.
Tell us the story about Man’o’War again, Mom, we’d plead,
And she would, thrilling us all with a fearless girl-child vision of herself
Weaving between the legs of this mythical beast.
Grandpa, proud, terrified, calling her softly to him
As stable hands trembled, witnesses to the unbelievable.
He was a nice horse, she’d say, I knew he would never hurt me.
Then Dad would start in with his stories
Of the famous Indian braves, Falling Rock and Sharp Shoulders.
Along the way we’d get tales of the princesses Ida Know and Who-me.
Somehow, the miles melted away, ‘til, despite the fighting,
The stories, the laughter, the crying and the ‘claw’,
The water tower loomed before us
Promising sanctity,
Delivering us unto heaven.

 

Wow! Finally a really nice day.

As I said before I am going to post pictures of the Clearwater River that runs behind the apartment building Tim and I currently live in.

Here are pics from April 14th and 15th.

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The first and third pictures are from April 14th, the second and fourth from the 15th. It doesn’t look much difference, but trust me there is.

Today it was so nice that I wound up taking my jacket off and walking in just my t-shirt. Feeling the sun and the soft breeze on my skin was wonderful.

Here’s a few impressions from my walk today. I walked down to a place called Waterways. It’s in a rather precarious spot if you ask me – really close to two rivers, but it is quite a lovely walk.

First, I spotted two ducks! A mated pair checking out the ditches. I tried to get a picture but they spooked and flew off.

Then, a teeny black bug flew into my glasses.  Completely startled me.

Next, a little boy with a big rock. He was under the bridge with his parents. I’d heard someone tossing rocks as I approached the bridge and wondered who it was.  Seeing  this little guy struggling to carry his rock, then stopping every few feet while he contemplated throwing it, only to change his mind and grapple it back up into his arms, then toddle off after his calling parents just made me smile. A sure sign of Spring.

Then there was the disheartening sight of all the garbage covering the ground that the melting snow has revealed. Ah, Spring!

And, lastly, the one sign of Spring that I could do without – the gagging smell of thawing dog shit.  I love dogs, I really, really do. I just wish they had better owners.

 

Numbah 99!

Holy cannolli, one more day to go!

Today’s post is going to be a short one. The last three days have been uneventful. I’ve continued on with internal purging, done some reading, contemplated signing up for a ‘free’ online workshop that promised to pinpoint my ‘blockers to success’, and done some actual, physical purging, as well.

So, a good three days, in my opinion.

Spring is taking her ever-loving time in arriving in our province this year.  Especially up here in Fort Mac. It’s mid-April and still not a blade of grass is to be seen. The trees are just barely starting to bud. The river is still frozen, though the surface is unstable and you can see  wet patches once the sun is high.

I have never seen Spring break-up, so I am very curious about it. Fort McMurray puts out public service announcements regarding the break up of winter ice on the rivers, warning of the dangers of flooding and how to prepare for an emergency situation. It’s really quite something. Until I witness it for myself, though, I guess I just won’t understand.

I’m planning to take pictures every day as the river changes. I’ll post some of them here. Here’s the first:

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April 13th. From our 7th floor balcony looking out at the Clearwater River.

There are five rivers that run through Fort Mac – the Athabasca, the Clearwater, and Horse, Hangingstone and Christina Rivers.  That’s a lot of water to be surrounded by.

This could get interesting.

Day 96

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As I get near the end of my 100 day challenge I’m contemplating whether or not I can classify it as a success.

Did I purge something every one of those days? Did I go for a walk every single day? Have I blogged about my experiences 100 times?

The answer to the first question is yes. I have managed, in a conscious and considering way, to rid myself of something every day. I’m amazed at that. Because purging is not easy. That I have learned.  It makes you look long and hard at yourself and where you’ve gotten to in your life.

A big – no, huge – catalyst in this exercise has been my impending 60th birthday. Add to that the death of my father and the conditions were perfect for some kind of reflective action.

There have been times over these past 96 days that I have been achingly sad, uncontrollably angry, incomprehensibly furious, deliriously happy, boisterous with joy, as well as completely ambivalent about myself, my life and what I’m trying to accomplish.

Whatever I was feeling I forced myself to consider why. In doing that I was able to see that I was carrying a lot of old baggage, stuff that should have been relegated to the trash heap long ago.

I just finished reading a Stephen King short story called The Road Virus Heads North. It’s your typical SK offering – darkly funny, horrific,  and yet, somehow, representative of the reality of life. Weirdly, I think that the ‘virus’ in the story is very much like the bad stuff we carry around with us. Eventually, it’s going to get us, unless we get rid of it. Or, better yet, never pick it up.

Sometimes, like the poor sap in SK’s story, it’s not so easy to get rid of the crap that follows us. You can give up and let it get you, or you can face it and send it packing. It might take more than one attempt, and it may mean accepting some uncomfortable truths about yourself, but, if you want free of it bad enough, you can be.

Am I completely purged of all the garbage I’ve toted around for 50-some-odd years? No. But I have rid myself of a lot of it. Purging, I’ve also learned, is a life-long chore. The good thing is it gets easier the more you do it.

Now, for my other two questions.

I did not walk every day. But I gave it a good try. There weren’t many days that I missed. When the wind chills were in the minus 40’s, when we were busy with company, and once or twice when I simply didn’t want to.

Walking is one of my favourite things to do. I love the feeling of my body moving and covering ground confidently and surely. It’s my time to think and work things out. (See above.)

Currently, I have a steps goal set on my phone of 7000 steps/day. It’s pretty conservative and I generally walk quite a bit more than that; checking on that goal at the end of the day always amazes me. Did I really walk that much? Where did I go and what did I accomplish? It’s a great reminder that I was engaged, that I did something. It also keeps me committed to my weight-loss goals. If i don’t get those steps in, the weight won’t come off. And, if I don’t keep moving, the weight I have lost will creep back on. That ain’t happening.

Finally, I’m at number three. I have definitely not written/ blogged 100 times.

Writing was something I had all but given up on. When I started this I was almost embarrassed to start. It had been so long since I’d tried to write anything. But the moment I sat down to start I knew – this is what I’m made for.

I may not be a successful author, I may not write the stuff that the world sees, but I write. And, I love it. It’s my form of expression, it’s my vehicle, it’s my voice.

100 is just a number. It was a great way to get myself motivated. Whether I’ve blogged 100 times or 10 times,  it’s me, writing.