Serenity Sunday: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Revisiting Banff National Park, if only through my photographs and memories. These were taken in May 2016 when we were evacuated from Fort McMurray due to the wildfires. There was a lot of stress at the time as we didn’t know if the house we lived in was still standing or when we might be able to go home. Banff was a much needed break. I remember how beautiful the mountains were and how comforted I was just taking in the views. It truly was balm for my soul.

We stayed in the small town of Canmore, which is actually inside of Banff National Park
This is a view from our hotel window
It was a very cool and overcast day, not the best weather for taking photos
The mountain peaks were still snow-capped and there was a fair amount of fog
a small stream flowing down the mountain side
The buildings in the town proper are quite beautiful

taken from downtown Banff, which is, of course, encircled by mountains
I was wishing the sun would come out, but even on a cold, foggy day the Rockies are amazing
Rivers run through the park rushing over the land in rapids and cascades
taken from the opposite direction – so beautiful there
taken from the car as we drove into the park
You may be able to make out the hawk flying out of the fog. I took this from the car so it’s not great quality but I was trying to capture the hawk…..
I would have liked to hike up into the mountains, sadly I was unable to take the opportunity at that time
Craggy peaks, covered in snow

I am not a professional photographer, but I hope you enjoyed this little trip in the Rockies with me. If you ever get the chance to visit Banff you will not be disappointed. My photos hardly do justice to this national treasure. I am so grateful I was able to see the mountains and hope to return one day soon.

To hell with being informed. It’s giving me a headache!

Oy! As this pandemic worsens nations are circling the wagons and attempting to block companies that produce personal protective equipment for health care workers from exporting these items. I do understand it. Fear, stress, anxiety, etc. etc. are not the monopoly of the rank and file. It sure is exposing weaknesses in the supply and demand way of doing business. Demand is certainly outpacing supply. As multinational companies moved to produce items at the lowest possible cost and for the highest possible profit; As globalization left governments at the mercy of big business the general population was left vulnerable. That cannot be clearer than it is right now. Nations that were once dependent on one another for goods and services are now throwing caution to the winds and practicing more and more of a protectionist mentality. I don’t pretend to have any answers, or even to have a really good handle on it all. All I know is that it is all very worrisome. And the more I read the more depressed I feel. Is being informed a good idea right now? Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. I think I need to reverse again and go back to my fast on the news! I have a headache!

Birds in the bush

These are a few photographs I took last June 2019 of cedar waxwings in the crab apple bush out front of the house I was living in at the time. With spring just around the bend I thought you’d like a break from corona-virus posts. Nature always cheers me up and soothes my soul.

Handsome dude, isn’t he (she?)

What is better than watching a bird in the tree?

Two birds (actually it was a flock, but I only managed to capture two

These cheerful fellows can be seen in woodlands pretty much year round according to the Cornell lab. They also visit suburban areas as well, eating fruit and or berries wherever they may find food. These fellows returned to the crab apple tree again and again, even though the apples were last year’s crop they didn’t seem to mind. A feast is a feast I guess.

The “What Ifs?” Of An Insomniac

The amazingly wise Celenia writes a timely and much needed post here. Please do check it out. It is extremely helpful and so down to earth practical.


I’m someone who feels my feelings. I don’t run from them. I name them and confront them and sit with them. I’ve learned to be with whatever comes up emotionally. I find that the feelings eventually dissipate if I take this inviting approach, rather than an evasive one.

I am also someone who tries to find the silver lining in any experience. “What’s the lesson here?” I often ask myself, so that there is at the very minimum, a bit of personal growth.

And yet, I wake up in the middle of the night these days with troubling questions that don’t yet have answers. “What if this…?” “What if that…?” (which is all about worrying about what might be).

I decided to list them all. Just let them spew. I named every worst case scenario that swirled through my brain. And then moved into the antidote to “What if…?” which…

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Always here

As the world mourns mounting deaths and sickness

You are here with us

You are always here

Help us remember in the midst of fear and terror

That you are here, always, always here

And let us be comforted

Let us remember past ages

When plagues swept the globe

When all was dark and gloomy

When the pall of death cast a wide net

And people were afraid

But you were there, always, always there

Help us live with the many unknowns

Help us place our trust in you

Until the dust has settled

And the sun comes shining through

Can we just give our heads a shake?

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, keep that computer going, rawhide! Okay, so you may or may not get the reference. Rawhide was an American western television show that aired once a week from 1959 to 1965 and starred Clint Eastwood and Eric Fleming. Yes, I know, I am telling my age. I really don’t care about that. As I started writing this post (which has nothing to do with the t.v. show) that theme music played in my mind and so I had to inform you so you know where my brain is at. Sort of.

My brain is doing its best to pick sense out of a news story I read this morning. As self isolation has us all going a bit batty, I thought I’d share a couple of observations. Yes, these are stressful times. For sure. No question, whatsoever. And we are seeing the very best and the very worst of humanity. This post addresses both, but just a little bit – no long soliloquies here.

So, first the bad news. (I promise I will finish with the good stuff.) The story that really bothered me was one about how a cluster of positive coronavirus tests started with people gathering for a funeral. It was early days and governments were scrambling to put protocols and regulations in place to deal with the pandemic. Apparently at this funeral there was an individual who would later test positive for the virus. Let me stress here this individual did not attend the funeral with any sense or knowledge they were sick. Okay then, damage done. Of course, it spread, like it has anywhere there’s been social gatherings including an infected person. I needed to get that out there first and foremost. Where the story went from there is truly disturbing.

The story went on to say that the bereaved were then taunted and bullied online for bringing the virus to the area. And, by the way, it was not any of the bereaved who were infected but a friend or relative that attended. The person who had died did not have the virus but had died of other causes. A person who was in relationship with the deceased received notice from the local grocery store that they would not be allowed to shop there.  And on and on it went listing the many people, including the funeral director, who were ostracized, singled out, and victims of needless emotional and mental abuse. As a friend of mine would say, “Give your heads a shake, people”.

People who are already grieving and emotionally vulnerable should never have to deal with such ugliness. But we are only human. Some react to fear with anger and hatred, others with loving kindness.

The good news is I have read far more stories focusing on the loving kindness, empathy, and compassion humanity is also capable of. Like people jumping in cars to drive by their local hospitals with horns blaring as a salute to the medical staff. Like a twenty-four-year-old American now living in Canada lauding and praising Canadians for their kindness and consideration of one another. Like the quick response of community-minded people organizing help for senior citizens and home bound vulnerable people who cannot get out for groceries and necessities like medication. Like children drawing hopeful messages on sidewalk with chalk. Like Jon Bonn Jovi washing dishes in one of his restaurants he runs for the homeless. Rich and poor alike, people have reached out to help one another through this. We each have a choice as to how we will respond. I am grateful that the good far outnumbers the bad in all of this. Yes, self isolation can drive you batty, if you let it. But it doesn’t have to. We do have a choice how we respond. May our choices be positive and life-affirming. May we come out the other side of this able to face ourselves in the mirror. Be safe. Be healthy. Be blessed and please, be a blessing for others.

Dialysis Days and Covid-19

Dialysis days are always fraught with the unknown. He can come out of a treatment feeling just fine, but other days he’s weak and prone to dizziness. Some days his heart rate is fine and his blood pressure steady, other days not so much. Today was a dialysis day. It was not one of the “good” days. He’s resting now while I write. That’s good. He needs it.

One of the added stressors to going out for treatment is the fact that the unit is on the fourth floor of the local hospital. Hubby is one of the so-called vulnerable. His health is fragile and under normal conditions that’s challenging enough. Then along came a pandemic to add even more layers to an already precarious existence. Although neither of us spoke of it we were both anxious about him leaving the house at all, but dialysis is not something one can afford to miss. However, the added stress was allayed somewhat when the powers that be set up a coronavirus testing clinic across town and far from the hospital. In addition, nobody can enter the hospital without being questioned at the door. A hand sanitizer is ever present and the public are commanded to use it. There is no choice given. That has also made us both feel a bit better.

So far, we have been incredibly fortunate. According to the municipality there are only four confirmed cases of the dreaded covid-19 here in our fair city. I do have to give a shout out to the mayor and councilors for doing a stellar job. The city moved fast to make sure the pandemic didn’t get a foot hold here. I am glad they took the precautions they did. Yet, as we all know, the virus is a sneaky thing and can lay in wait in people who display not a single symptom, yet can infect others. The coming weeks and months will tell the tale. But, so far, so good. Here’s hoping for continued good fortune, even while I am heartsick at the stories coming out of major cities around the world. My thoughts and prayers are with them all, especially the most vulnerable whom I identify with most closely. God help us all.