I'm running late this morning. I woke at my normal time but turned the alarm off, rolled over and went back to sleep.
The day awaits, there's lots to do and I'm feeling sluggish, lazy, like I want to grab a good book and curl up in bed for a couple of hours.
Not going to happen.
I dropped Betts at the airport last night and we said good-bye. We both agreed it was a fun weekend, and one that's worth repeating, hopefully sooner than 30 years!. We also thought it would be fun to track down a few of the 'gang from Grade 7. There were about 6 of us who hung out. The 'In Crowd' as Bets called it. We were Betts, Georgette, Deb, Doug, Monty, Don and me. In Betts' memory, the crowd revolved around me. In my memory it revolved around her. "Oh no," she said, "I always felt like the outsider living on the periphery of the group." "Funny," I replied. "I always thought you were the centre of the group and I stood on the outside looking in."
There's that perspective thing again.
Yesterday, we drove south of the city into the rolling hills that nudge up against the feet of the Rockies. Bets exclaimed throughout the drive about the beauty of the scenery. The giant, razor-edged ridge of the Rockies sprawled against the western sky like a giant dinosaur sleeping beneath the fluffy white clouds that dotted the prairie sky in improbable perfection; an artist's rendering of what a perfect prairie day should be.
It was a day of adventure and relaxation. At a ford across the river, I hesitated, not sure of exactly how deep the water was. A man drove up behind me, his SUV equipped with running lights and fog lights. The roof of his vehicle was laden with a serious looking luggage rack, its heavy black frame capped with silver and chrome balls. "Oh good," I thought. "Someone who knows what to do."
The driver rolled down his window and shouted to me where I stood by the river's edge trying to peer into its murky depths.
"You crossed here before?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied. "But it wasn't this deep."
The man jumped out of his SUV. He was in his mid thirties, long pony-tailed hair, t-shirt, shorts and floppy sandals. He walked down to the water's edge. "There's supposed to be a concrete pad under there," he said, pointing to the point where the road disappeared into the rushing river waters.
"There is," I said. "But I can't see it. Not sure how deep it is."
Without another word, the man stepped into the water and began to walk across. He reached the other side, walked back towards me and as he stepped back onto the road, his legs red from cold, he said. "Doesn't look too bad. At the deepest it just comes up to my knees."
"Great!" I replied before hopping back into my Jeep. "Guess I have to go first," I said to Betts who waited excitedly for the action to begin.
She pulled out her camera. "Let's go!"
I put the car in 4 wheel drive and slipped into the water. "Klunk." I kept going. The water sluiced up around my front wheels. I watched for seepage into the vehicle compartment. I kept driving. Betts was laughing and clicking madly on her camera.
We reached the other side. I pulled over to the shoulder, Betts jumped out and started taking photos of the other vehicle crossing. The man reached our side of the river and stopped his car, jumped out and asked if we'd take a video of him crossing again.
"Of course," I said. "You waded across the river for us. Least we can do is take your picture!"
"Either of you want another ride across?" he asked.
Betts jumped at the chance.
I videoed. They crossed the river. Twice. We parted ways. A chance encounter between strangers sharing a moment on a river. We laughed at how such a simple act as fording a river could deliver such a sense of exhilaration, fun, excitement.
Perhaps its because we are so accustomed to staying out of the water when crossing over. Sort of like life. We travel its pathways and byways seldom stepping into the waters rushing beneath us as we skim the surface of life. It's only when we stop and step into the moment, let the waters rush around and through us that we feel the pull of gravity, that we get the sense of the power of life to transform every moment into an adventure worth living.
We had a great afternoon checking out scenery and art galleries. Cappucino in a Swiss cafe. A side trip down a dirt road that suddenly broke open when we reached the ravine that split the two sides of the valley apart. At the bottom, we found a Park that bore Betts' maiden name. We had to grab a picture of Betts' proudly standing beside a giant rock on which was affixed a bronze plague dedicating the park to her forefathers. "My mom would have loved to have seen this," she sighed.
I looked up into the sky. Grey clouds. White clouds. Blue intervals. A mottled ceiling. "You know Betts," I said giving her a quick hug. "You mother does. Remember, even when we were kids, she always knew what we were up to, but she never said a word."
We laughed. It was a memory we both lovingly shared.
Memories drift in and out of consciousness like the clouds. Some we share. Some are our's alone. But the people who have touched our hearts. Those who's memory warms us like cinnamon on warm butter toast, they are keepers. No matter how far from the past we've ventured, the memory of those who made a difference in our lives lingers on as we pull the threads of their voices through time, carrying with us the joy and knowing that they will always be there, tucked in the corner of our hearts, joyously warming our thoughts, even when the sky is cloudy.
It rained, and snowed, on our drive back. But it didn't matter. We were warmed by the memories we'd built this weekend as we shared a moment in time that will delight us in time to come.