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Treks and Salvator ambulado

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES“Salavtor ambulado” (It is solved by walking)–St. Augustine.

Coming up on my 60th birthday in a couple months, and thinking about friends who have celebrated their 60th (or 65th) by heading out on a long trek/pilgrimage. I was feeling sad that I can’t do that just now … but listening to CBC radio early this morning, a piece from Australia about World Labyrinth Day and the new labyrinth in Centennial Park in Sydney …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhich led my fingers walking through some googled articles on “salvator ambulado” … and I realized that I can “trek” every day, even if only for short periods at a time. After all, I live in a perfect spot … beautiful community parks, oxbows, community food forest, wild meadow, walking trail along the river channel, all within view and within a 5 minute walk of my house … and Okanagan and Skaha Lakes within 20 minute walks north and south …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTime to stop dreaming of (or at least focusing on) ocean cabins and beach trails, and stepping out into what is right in my own backyard (including my sweet tiny backyard full of raised garden beds and a bistro set and comfy lawn chairs!). Combine that with my art supplies, camera, and beautiful new notebook … I AM going to trek … and solve … by walking, and sitting down and writing and drawing …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe articles I’ve been reading promise walking will help me move, get out of my box, let go, go with the flow of my imaginings, be shaken from my complacency and pride, take creative turns, live without regrets, listen, connect, feel more centered, bring clarity and peace and well-being, become reorganized and refreshed and revitalized, engage in new responses and perspectives, literally be moved forward, gain emotional and physical well-being …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESrestore resilience and focus, add mindfulness to life, stop anxiety-producing mental patterns and allow my body chemistry to return to health with stimulated circulation of nutrients, gain improved energy and mood and immune functions, push stress and tension from my mind, restore alertness, prepare for worrisome appointments or meetings, increase resourcefulness of body and brain, reduce illness and fatigue, feel better and perform better …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESreconnect with the things that are truly important in my life (spirituality, family and friends, health, writing and other creative pursuits, life-long learning and sharing), help tap into my creativity and wisdom and capacity for wonder, connect with what I really value, relax and clear my mind of jumbled and stressful thoughts, really attend to the beauty of the world around me, think deeply and efficiently, be lifted out of depression …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESbuild relationships and discover solutions and discuss life’s questions while walking with companions, become more generous and community oriented, improve my community and society by improving my own life since we are all inter-connected, force my brain to process my environment and engage it more fully, improve my cognitive performance (and stave off the horror I feel about the possibility of dementia down the road), become fitter, reconnect to my true self, personally affect climate change and other environmental factors by walking instead of driving (and cut down on personal financial costs at the same time!), hug some trees, lay on the grass and soak up the sun…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn one of the articles I googled, Arianna Huffington quoted a poem and then commented:

When you set out on the voyage to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
But over the years I came to realize that a journey — one that can also be full of adventure and knowledge — doesn’t have to involve planes and cars and passports. The benefits of a journey are always available simply by walking.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMaybe someday I’ll take a long trek like my friend Yasmin John-Thorpe did for her 60th when she  trekked the Camino or as my friend Robin Edgar-Haworth is doing right now as he treks across Canada to Ottawa seeking to Right the Wrong

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut right now, I can get up from my easy chair, put down my laptop, put on my walking shoes, put my backpack of journal and camera and sketchbook over my shoulder, and step out the door, wander through my little garden, and out into my neighborhood …

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSalvator ambulado.

Hike North of Skaha Bluffs

Another wonderful hike with my friend Cabrini, this one on November 26, on the hillside at Penticton’s south end (just north of the famous Skaha Bluffs).  Along the trails (which are mostly narrow “deer trails” in a very natural environments), you’ll find little rock towers left by previous hikers, to mark the way forward). The views of Penticton and Skaha Lake beach are spectacular–and on this late November afternoon, a brisk wind was blowing, and hardy sailboarders were getting lots of height above the water!

Twin Lakes November Afternoon Drive

Not far from Penticton is the “Twin Lakes” area, which includes the site of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. These South Okanagan back-roads are the perfect place for a pleasant afternoon drive from Penticton.  These photos were taken November 16. Enjoy!

Autumn Colours

Here are autumn colours in Penticton–taken in October, it’s true, but surely enjoyable to view on this gray, cold, late December day!

 

Gallery

Summerland Experimental Station Ornamental Gardens

When I was growing up, a favourite family activity — extended family including grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, and lots of friends — was to go to the Summerland Experimental Station (or “The Farm” as the older folks called it) for a big group picnic. The children would have a wonderful time running down the many paths, playing hide and seek among the bushes and under the huge weeping willow trees with branches hanging to the ground, and of course rolling over and over and over down the long, long sloping lawn. The young adults would meander among the gardens, while the oldest folks would sit under the shade of the beautiful trees and admire the gardens. Then we’d all gather together around the many picnic tables and have great picnic lunches.

As I was a “July baby” we also celebrated many of my birthdays at the Station, along with my cousin Kathy, whose birthday was one week before mine. And our family had a special connection to “The Farm” as my grandfather, John Mott, had worked as a gardener there, and helped develop some rose varieties that later became widely known.  Also, my mom often told us of how, when she was young, they would walk to the Station from Summerland, following the railway track, and walk across the railway trestle — a very long trek from their home down on Sully Road across from the old Summerland Hospital.

The Summerland Experimental Station was also a great place for groups of people to gather for events like Sunday School picnics, and for school classes to go for field trips.  I remember, in grade 7 (spring 1968) our adventurous young teacher, Mr. Seymour, taking us on our very first school field trip all the way from Rutland to the Summerland Experimental Station (now known as the Pacific Agri-Food Research Center) and then on to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory south of Penticton. At the Station, we all got to eat apples grown there — new varieties not yet commercially available — and we got to see the “cow with a glass stomach.”  All very exciting!

Today, the beautiful garden and lawn sections of the Experimental Station are kept up by a group of enthusiastic volunteers, and are known as the Summerland Ornamental Gardens. They are open to the public most days, and are free to visit, though donations to their upkeep are of course welcomed — and most worth it.  My sister and I went up to the Station the other day and enjoyed the combination of xeriscape gardens and traditional gardens, and the many memories from our childhood which they brought back.  Please enjoy the following slide show, which features the gardens today, and snapshots from as far back as sixty or more years ago!

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Writing in Nature

Every year in May, the “Meadowlark Festival” is an South Okanagan highlight.  Last weekend, I took in the “Writing in Nature” tour of an untouched bit of South Okanagan wilderness, in a small ecological reserve in the hills south of Summerland.  Sadly, I forgot to take my camera, but I did take along my pen and notebook — and a couple of other tour participants took along their cameras, so I have a couple of photos to share.  Our guides were ecologist and writer Don Gayton, and UBC-O professor and poet Nancy Holmes.  It was a perfect day for meandering through the reserve, and for sitting on the hillside, tuning into nature, and jotting down our thoughts.  We also had wonderful conversation, and enjoyed lunch together.  Below is a snapshot of our group, and a picture of yours truly in writing mode.  And below the photos are snippets of my writing during the tour.  Enjoy!

Hillside,
Sitting quiet, still.
Eye level with grass tips
Wavering in breezy currents of gentle breath,
Airy ripples touching my skin
With transparent fingers.
Human voices around me cease
And into the sudden silence comes, unexpected,
Sounds of nature.
Stereo, then surround sound –
But effervescent,
Far off bird and cricket calls,
Bouncing lightly, responding,
Following the rolling slopes of the hillside,
Reaching out, echoing;
Mingling with long-forgotten scents,
Dry pine needles, fresh spring grasses.
Memories, haunting, of long ago
Childhood wanderings on long summer days
Through these very hillsides.
My eyes are drawn downward
To tiny white stars, yellowy soft fern,
Dandelion seed heads begging
To be wished upon and blown to the four winds,
Prickly clumps of cactus –
Oh my! I giggle…
Remember my cousin, not far from here,
Sliding off the blanket flung over the
Horse’s bare back,
And landing with a plop,
Seat down in an enormous clump
Of cacti needles!
The thought breaks my reverie,
Yet at the same time joins this moment
To the past,
To all my life.
To nature.

Wilderness in the City

One of the wonderful things about Penticton is all the beautiful wild green spaces tucked in here and there among human habitations.  Believe it or not, all the wilderness spots in this slide slow are located  within 5 minute walks north, south, east, and west of my very ordinary residential neighborhood in the middle of the city.

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Skaha Beach is Fun!

July 30, 2012

Hello again!  My name is Madison, and I am nine years old.  A few days ago, I told you a bit about Penticton, on my blog post, Here’s Penticton!    Today I am going to tell you about Skaha Beach at Penticton, and show you some pictures of it.

Skaha Beach is a really fun beach because you can go swimming.  There is a kilometer of sandy beach to sunbathe.  There are docks you can swim out to and jump off.  There are lots of buoys you can swim out to.  You might want to be careful because there are a lot of boats, jet skis, and parasails in the summertime, past the buoys.  Please keep an eye on the swimmers, because they could go missing, and that would be sad.

At Skaha Beach there is a tennis court, food vendors, and a little shop area to buy bracelets and all kinds of other things like hair feathers.  There are volleyball nets and there is a water park.  There is a big playground with slides, swings, spider webs, and other things to ride and play on.  There is a pond with two fountains.  You can fish in the pond.

At Skaha Beach there are beautiful lawns, shady trees, benches where you can relax and look at the beautiful scenery, and picnic tables where you can eat your lunch.

I love to go to Skaha Beach!

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Happy New Year Penticton!

January 1, 2012

What does New Year’s look like, the morning after?  Here are some New Year’s shots in and around Penticton…

May morning meander along an Okanagan River oxbow

May 5, 2012

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