once you get to know them.
- A.A. Milne
I could feel the sweat trickling down my back. I could have rolled up the windows and put on the air conditioning, but then I wouldn’t be able to hear the crunch of tires on gravel, the creek rumbling in the canyon, or the crickets on the side of the road. I wouldn’t have been able to smell the road dust, the sweet scent of Cedar, and the fragrance of wildflowers. No, it was better this way. Besides, the higher I climbed on the road to Postill Lake, the cooler the air felt. It was still bloody hot, but every so often, a breath of cool breeze flowed through the Chevy, offering a taste of relief.
I hadn’t been out in a long time. The road trip to Vancouver must have taken a toll on the poor, old Rodeo, because it began to die a slow, painful death. It managed to hold out for a few more months, survive a move, and get me from A to B until I felt it just wasn’t safe to drive anymore. With the help of a few very good friends, I purchased a 2008 Chevy Uplander – a minivan. This was our inaugural back-road day trip.
I didn’t want to do anything crazy – a nice quiet drive up into the hills, see what there was to see. I knew there wouldn’t be cell service for much of the drive, so I didn’t want to deviate from the path I told Santana I would be taking. Just in case.
My concern was irrelevant. The Chevy did just fine. It was much quieter than the Rodeo was, and I thought there was a chance I might see some wildlife. But it was the weekend, and while not exactly busy, there were more than a few off-roaders. The most exciting wildlife I saw was a chipmunk, and a black cow I mistook for a bear.
But there were flowers. Not as many as there would have been in June, but enough to capture my attention. Oxbow Daisies, Cinquefoil, Siberian Aster… There were even a few wild strawberries still in bloom, and Lupine everywhere. I busied myself taking photos of the flowers, trying to exercise the photo muscles out of use for so long.
I made it to the lake, but instead of taking pictures, I bought myself a bottle of water and just sat there, looking out over the water, remembering how much fun Santana and I had during our stay there.
The drive back down was just as slow as the ride up. By now, not only was I taking photos, but I was also composing haiku, pulling over to jot them in my notebook as they came to me. I took a side road and followed it until it broke into two. One was sunlit and the other disappeared into the shadow of the forest. I sat for a few minutes, trying to decide which one I should take, and finally decided to leave it for another day.
My day was already full of joy and contentment, capturing small moments with camera and pen, bright bursts of colour and birdsong.
Some people may think of them as weeds. But I’ve gotten to know them.