My children live in Vancouver.
Like so many people I have been longing to see my family through lockdown, and getting to Canada has been a challenge.
But the pull of family is such that in June I set out for another visit, with a 14 day mandatory quarantine attached.
This was my second 14 day quarantine in Canada. All alone, with good intentions to be creative, but this time harder because of the extra testing, the three day hotel stopover and daily reporting required.
Somehow I wasn't able to find my creative flow, but I accepted this as a by-product of the demands of endless form filling, covid testing, anxiety about test results, and later lost test results.
I spent long hours sitting looking at the snow on the distant mountains from my daughter's Vancouver home ( she was away on holiday), and watching the sun and birds moving through the trees across the road.
I weeded the garden and driveway, glad of a simple task to fill some of my time.
I tried making images in the garden, photographing through plastic and under water.
But most of the time I was thinking about the mountains and cool rivers and streams.
Waiting to be released to walk in the forest and to visit the Rockies with my son.
Just as my 14 days confinement were up, and intense heatwave arrived. it was 39 degrees in Vancouver, and significantly more inland.
Wild fires broke out and a smoke haze engulfed the road east to the mountains.
After two days on the road, the mountains of Canmore and Banff were our home for a week.
Flags at half mast reminded of the recently discovered graves of lost indigenous children at a former residential school in British Columbia.
Canada Day was not quite the same this year for many.
My son and I hiked up to a glacier.
He was not impressed with my ongoing fear of meeting a bear. We had seen one from the car on the drive to our hike.
I carried 'bear spray' as one is advised to do.
We picnicked at the top of a long stony path.
Time to test the bear spray advised son. 'If you are going to carry it you should at least know how to use it'.
I tested the wind direction and stood ready.
Arm out, remove safety catch, press hard.....
And then, before a moment passed, I felt a burning in my eyes, and cowered to the ground, covering my face with my arm. My whole face was on fire, and I couldn't see a thing. If a bear had been there I would have been as incapacitated as it. Son poured water into my eyes. I washed my face in the glacial lake, lips burning from what felt like a hundred chilli peppers.
It took 30 minutes before I was able to behave normally again.
An experiment best performed in a less windy place.
Son managed to capture the whole episode on video; not one to share!
For the next few days, son worked and I explored. I found Lake Louise misty and moody.
My hike to lake Agnes was misty and beautiful. After relentless blue skies I was relieved to see some clouds.
Covid could not be entirely escaped.
There are too many fir trees for my taste in Canada.
Endless forest paths that feel much the same until you finally emerge above the trees or arrive at a lake. The climb can feel very challenging when carrying water, bear spray, lunch, spare clothes etc etc.
But I do love a bit of moss...
Lakes and rivers and in abundance. So much cool, crystal clear water to calm and refresh.
While away I read some books on life philosophy, including 'The Almanack of Naval Ravikant'.
I read these words, that resonated strongly;
'happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life'
- Naval Ravikant
I felt very happy in Canada.
I had resolved two things that had been missing from my life during the pandemic.....
These two things had been on my mind persistently during lockdown and are, for now, resolved.
Time, now, to get back to my studio and get creating!
Next week we have a show, and it is going to be a real live thing.
That is really something to celebrate.
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Caroline Fraser - an ordinary life
on life, suburban living, art, creativity, photography, book art and travel.
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Welcome to Caroline Fraser Photography
Colourful abstracted and traditional photographic landscapes, book art and workshops. Capturing the moods and beauty of nature whether in wild open places or in small sanctuaries in suburbia.