This morning, as I opened my eyes, slowly adjusted to the ever-brighter morning that I awaken to, I cast my gaze across the* lake. I’m happy to enjoy a Christmas morning-like surprise of what the skies have in store for me as I prepare to rise and face each day. Some days it’s sunny, some are cloudy. Some mornings I can still see the moon as she hangs low, just above the horizon. Today, we were veiled in fog.
Judging from my six and a half months worth of experience of Okanagan skies, this seems to be a regular occurrence in the winter months. The skies are often grey and heavy with clouds. Sometimes they hug the surface of the lake. Other times they act as a scarf covering only the tops of the mountains, hiding the blue skies above. There are days that the clouds are layered like mille-feuille over the surface of the lake straight up to the tops of the mountains and then slowly disappear, level by level.
Usually, if John is also awake, it is at this point of my awakening that I make a comment along the lines of “someone stole the mountains.” It’s a silly joke we share between the two of us that dates back to when we lived in Toronto and our bedroom balcony gifted us with a view of the CN Tower. There too, when the clouds would hide that most beloved of Toronto landmarks, we would make note of the fact that someone had stolen the CN Tower too. Funny? Not very, no. But endearing to us? Yes.
Out beyond the clouds
I’ve developed a new habit here, on those days that the clouds have stolen the mountains. This magic act of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ makes me think of other things that are there but I can’t see them. And the things I think of most, by far, are my friends and family.
We are what sometimes seems like a million miles away from the people in this world we love the most, other than each other. Travel to visit us is difficult at the best of times. Let alone during a global pandemic with restrictions changing as often as a two-year-old changes their mind. We know it’s asking a lot for our loved ones to come and visit us here; time off work, travel time and of course the expense are each a big demand. Which is why we have been back already a couple of times; we’re lucky we can manage that.
But now as the mountains are hidden, knowing they are there reminds me that although my friends and family too are gone from view, there are as close as my cell phone to call or video chat with. Is it the same as being with them? No, of course not. But I don’t need their presence around me to feel their love.
It’s there as surely as those mountains are, hiding behind those clouds.
*It’s worth acknowledging here that I’m very close to calling it “my** lake” which, for anyone who has known me for a long time will attest is a remarkable change in outlook with respect to me and my relationship with nature. I think it’s further proof that you can learn and grow at any age.
**It’s also worth acknowledging that I know it’s not my lake but if stewardship begins with responsibility, then I think I’m on the right track here.