11 August, 2010

Whirlwind summer

I am... spending this summer in the strangest of ways: hiding in my apartment, begging for cool air during the week days, and running like a mad, wanderer towards the sun in the hopes that it'll slake my thirst during the weekends. I don't know what this is. Perhaps I am feeling the crazed cabin fever of working in the city full time. Perhaps I am falling victim to the apparent truism of living in cowtown: the best part of city living is just how close it is to everywhere else. ... except I'm not really taking full advantage of that. I have gotten out to the mountains less than a handfull of times this summer. And I'm only recently starting to discover the outlying (but fantastic) communities and areas. I desperately want to travel the Cowboy Trail.

What have I done this summer? Attended the Calgary Stampede rodeo, Hiked to the Plain of Six Glaciers, visited the Millarville Farmers' Market, attended two folk festivals, and spent a weekend throwing horse shoes and enjoying a family reunion.

... all the while, I'm starting to be called a *gasp!* Calgarian. ... and have ended up vehemently denying that fact. It will take a vast many years for me to adopt that label. ... just as it is taking me forever and a day to remember that "home" is now here instead of there; though really, home has always been there.

My apartment is slowly becoming somewhere I actually like... but I need to address the last few remaining boxes, and actually lay claim to my storage space in the basement. Getting rid of all the suit cases and some of my rubbermaids of field gear and camping supplies would be a good thing.

... field gear. Oh, how I long to be out in the bush. It is funny. I feel like that oft-used phrase "you can take the man out of the x, but you can never take the x out of the man"; except, well, obviously I'm a woman. ... and the x for me appears to be field work. More and more, I am finding myself wrapped in thoughts, particularly at the doldrum hours of the afternoon (2-4pm). Thoughts of what I'd be doing if I was out in the wilderness somewhere. A large portion of the time, I feel glad that I have found something positive like this job to keep me going, and to remove me from the death risk of surprise anaphylaxis in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, however, I don't care. I'd take on all the wasps and hornets (and bears and cougars) in the world, just to spend another week outside. ... though I do remember just how exhausting the fear was. Bears and cougars are one thing. I carried a shovel, and bangers, and a knife and often bear spray. Wasps and hornets are a complete other. Being helplessly unable to do anything, not even breathe, and also hundreds of kilometers from a hospital (or tens of kilometers from a reliable road), well, that's something else entirely, and I couldn't put my coworkers through that risk any more. There were too many close calls, and I don't want to be the epinephrine-fuelled burden I would be were things to go wrong.

But damned if I don't miss it. I'm going to have to find some way to get involved in winter or late spring outdoor work, as a volunteer, or as a casual weekend adventurer, just to slake my thirst. I miss it so much. In truth, I miss it enough that I am second-guessing my decision. It's not as though I'm an amputee, it's just an allergy, and it's just fear on the off-chance that I'll stumble upon a wasp/hornet nest and get stung somewhere important like my face or throat. No, forget it, it's too stupid, but can you see how one would get wrapped up in this sort of thinking? Being OUTSIDE! ALL DAY! Oh, how I long for it. The urban, concrete jungle is just too depressing.

Anyway, those are my ramblings and musings. Here are some photos of the other ramblings I've done:

EFMF main stage view from the hill
The Edmonton Folk Music Festival main stage during the day. It is hosted on a ski hill in the heart of the city.

Family quilt
The massive, multigenerational quilt from my family reunion. It was assembled for our millennium reunion in 2000. Were we to do it today, there'd be more rows of squares to add.

Bull Rider (Rodeo day 8, Pool B final)
Bull riding at the Calgary Stampede

Mt. Victoria and the Victoria glacier.
The Plain of Six Glaciers hike near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta.

forget me not
Forget-me-nots on the trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers

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