A Friend in Need…

A Friend in Need…

You know you’re having a bad day when you put “breathe” on your to-do list. My oldest child had gone home after an extended visit. I’d just finished writing one haiku per day for the month of February, and I received some bad news from the neurologist. I felt like I had lost my purpose, waking up every day wondering, what’s the point? Jaki thought we should go out. I didn’t want to go. I was feeling sad and lonely and just wanted to keep on feeling sad and lonely. Funny, that. Sometimes we get so lost in our heads it’s hard to find the way back out. I’m not saying Jaki pushed me, but there was a solid nudge there.

We were going to go check out a local birding spot in town but when Jaki arrived, I’d made up my mind – I wanted to go somewhere up in the hills, away from the incessant noise of the city, someplace I could check “breathe” off my to-do list.

“Yes,” Jaki said, and we were off.

I chose McCulloch Road because it’s beautiful, well-maintained and would take us up, but not too high. It is March, after all.

I suppose I was hoping to see bits of green – wildflowers poking up, ready to embrace spring. There was none of that. I was a little surprised to see how much snow blanketed the forest floor and tried to fathom how so much of it ended up there, through the thick canopy of trees.

The higher we went, the darker the clouds, the lighter my heart. This was good. I needed this.

“You know how everyone gets Imposter Syndrome? What if it isn’t that? What if you really are crap?”

Jaki didn’t try to placate me. She didn’t try to tell me how wonderful I was. She was silent for a moment. Then she replied.

“We write anyway. It’s what we do.”

That’s why I love Jaki.

I had taken the turn-off to Brown Lake but access to the lake itself was blocked by huge piles of plowed snow. There was a road here I’d never taken. Why not? Now seemed like a good time.

Snow was falling, but it was fairytale snow, the kind that makes you think of cross-country skiing, followed by a warm drink in the cabin next to the fire. I said so to Jaki and we briefly argued whether it was mulled cider and cookies, or coffee and a hearty soup.

All this talk of cookies and soup made me hungry, but Jaki came prepared. We shared a snack of crackers, cheese, and an orange.

The road continued to climb.

Eventually, I found a place to pull over, not that it mattered. We had seen exactly one vehicle since crossing the gate onto First Nations land. We got out to stretch our legs. The softly falling snow had turned blizzard-like, and the wind had teeth. I looked out over the horizon. It felt sad and lonely. I took a deep breath. I didn’t want to feel sad and lonely anymore.

By the time we made it back to the highway, I was a different person than I was when we started out. After hours of driving no more than 30 km/hour, it was hard to get back up to 90. But I was better equipped to deal with traffic and noise. Back in Kelowna, there was a light rain falling. The grass was greening, there were buds on the trees, and snowdrops were poking through the ground. Spring had arrived. Oh, I know it was there before we left – I just couldn’t see it. Thank you, Jaki.

Author: Featherstone Creative

Sally Quon is a photographer and writer living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, where she is blessed to live, love and grow on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx people. Her photography has appeared in Canadian Geographic Magazine and in Nature Alberta’s various birding brochures. Sally was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Forgiveness Fix and was long listed for the Vallum Chapbook Award. She is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. One of her photos was chosen for inclusion in the Photographer’s Forum “Best of 2018” Collection. She has two beautiful, almost grown children and a cat who loves her.

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