I’m sitting in a sunny spot on my yoga mat at the joining of two creeks, which run between two rocky bluffs. I have a little picnic, my meditation book, my journal and my thoughts. Perched atop one of the bluffs, directly in my line of sight, is a mountain goat. She’s been standing there for quite some time, staring down at me. On my way up the path on my search for a quiet spot, a couple of small rocks clattered down in front of me from above. Looking up, I see the inquisitive face of another goat, a young one (his antlers a couple of inches long). Left of him stood another, younger one, his antlers just little nubs.
I believe in the Native American tradition that every one of us has an animal spirit guide, and I have the feeling that mine has just been revealed to me. It makes sense, when I think about it- high energy, agile, curious, quick on their feet survivalists. Sounds very familiar. I had a deep knowing that spirit would lead me here this afternoon, to this very spot next to this creek, nestled at the back of K Country. The result of a decision made yesterday at the funeral for my colleague who passed away in a motorcycle accident earlier this week.
My boyfriend (who also knew my colleague through mutual motorcycling friends) and I had been planning to head out of town, direction west right after the service. The car was packed and ready to go. But then he learned of the ride that was going to take place as a memorial to Wade, past the place on the road where the accident occurred. It was clear to me by the look in his eyes that he needed to be a part of it. And as fast as you can say ‘plans change’, we were off, me to pick Jules up to make my solo journey and he to get his bike and meet up with the boys.
After a brief re-pack, car wash, and phone call to my massage therapist and hostess extraordinaire, I made my way out of town. My mind was heavy sorting the events of the day so far, sifting through and trying to make sense the emotionally charged days leading up to now. At the exact moment that I slow down to stop at the last set of lights on the west edge of the city, I think ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to see the guys ride by’, I turn my head to the right and six or seven striking racing bikes come into view. They merge in a solemn procession onto the highway and my light turns green.
It feels as though the oxygen has suddenly been sucked out of my lungs and my whole leg trembles as I press my right foot down on the accelerator. I watch in this breathless, quivering state as they glide along the curves and dips of the road, and take the Old Banff Coach Road exit in beautiful unison. I pass directly under the overpass as they cross above it, and in a burst of emotion I lay on the horn and give a wave out the sunroof.
It was a moving and fitting tribute to a man who lived his life passionately, expertly and without compromise or regret.
As his best friend recounted, his body hunched over the podium in the packed memorial hall, his voice cracking with emotion, Wade wouldn’t have wanted any of us not to live our lives to the absolute fullest, squeezing every drop of enjoyment out of it, leaping at every challenge or opportunity that presented itself. Honouring and being true to our authentic selves.
This in mind, I continue my drive out to the Rockies, enjoying the smooth, powerful German engineering of my Jules, awestruck by the awesome panoramic views of the mountains unfolding in front of me. I drink in the intoxicating beauty of the gentle giants that are slowly enveloping us and am again overcome with emotion and deep knowing that the universe is indeed perfect.
I spend the next 24 hours cradled in their omnipotent magnificence. “It’s much easier to be closer to God out here, isn’t it?” I remark to my rejuvenator hostess (also longtime friend and massage therapist) and she nods and smiles in return.
A soak in the springs followed by a massage and a steam. Sharing a good meal with an excellent BC gewürztraminer with her on a perfect summer’s eve. Singing along to my music as I glide up and down the twisty roads between my old friends, sharing the journey with other happy campers and motorcyclists.
It’s in these moments that I feel that I am fully alive. Sensing which muscles are being used to steady my wobbly legs on my first rollerblade of the season. Dipping my toes in the icy stream. Sipping a soy chai as I lounge in the sun basked window seat at the coffee shop while I alternately take in the view and flip through the local weekly paper.
On the second or third page I notice an article about a memorial service for a local woman who had gone missing while out hiking. It included quotes from people who were close to her, describing her with words like sparkly and bouncing. It seemed she had an unquenchable zest for life that just bubbled out of her, a joyful, unstoppable energy.
Although it is beyond sad that we have lost these people at such a young age, it seems that their passing is serving to remind us that it is our duty to live fully and consciously, EVERY DAY, during our precious and sometimes brief time here.
The creek continues to gurgle and wind past me and a butterfly flutters by. It is a spectacularly beautiful day in this corner of the earth, and I count my blessings, gather my things and head off to spend the remains of it with one that I love.
*addendum* the mountains called once again later that same afternoon. And I answered, riding on the back of the bike, holding on tight with breathless delight. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.