Yeah… February was particularly hard for my Year in Nature challenge. The goal is to get outside to walk or some other activity every day, but despite the unusually warm temperatures we’ve had this month in Calgary, February was a challenge.
We moved house (think days and days of crazy packing and moving), Baby J went through a wonder week where he was a bit of a beast, and the amount of boxes covering the floor of our new house was overwhelming. All I wanted was to tidy, nest and sort for mental clarity.
I didn’t honestly track how many days I made it outdoors, but I’m thinking we’re in the realm of 60%. Not good. Not where I want to be. Luckily we did make it out for a bit of a road trip that included many walks, but otherwise I stuck close to home. Instead, I had the joy of discovering different walks, my new neighbourhood and old favourites.
If you live in Calgary, the joke goes that you rarely leave your quadrant. I grew up in the southwest, worked in the southwest and recently bought our first home in the southwest. So, when a friend suggested we go for a walk in Carburn Park, I said… “where?” Yeah, Carburn Park is in the southeast, which for me is like a black hole.
Boy am I ever glad I branched out! Just off of Glenmore Trail and 18th Street S.E. Carburn Park is a little oasis. Hugging the river, there are both paved paths and little trails. With Baby J strapped into the Baby Bjorn carrier, I was able to join my friend and her daughter for a little off-the-beaten adventure. Had I been using the stroller, I never would have seen the great big tree overlooking the river, with a wooden plaque that read “For Mary, everybody’s best friend.”
The reservoir holds great memories for me. Even dusted with frost, I recall the first time I did the entire Glenmore Reservoir loop with my friend one day in fall. We hadn’t planned it, not at all, but once you go a certain distance, you can’t help but finish the loop.
With J in tow, I definitely didn’t complete the entire loop, but regardless, enjoy the walk. My favourite part was passing a section on the western side where we looked down at the frozen surface of the water and saw letters scratched into it. They must have taken ages to do, and probably not been the safest idea in the world. T-E-Q-U-I-E-R-O.
At first I was completely baffled, but one of my friends was able to translate. Te quiero. I love you. Now I can’t help but wonder who sculpted those words into the ice and who they were for.
Nose Hill Park
Previous to this month, I’d been to Nose Hill Park twice in my life. For shame, I know! To be fair, the first time was for a sunrise picnic with my Mom, and coyotes started eyeballing us… so I was in no real rush to return. In the light of day with many other walkers around us, I had no fear. Joining yet another friend for a walk, we were able to release some pent up stress about our work situations, while also talking about the opportunities that lie ahead.
It’s funny how often we’re kinder to others and more encouraging to them than we are to ourselves. Perhaps the key to motivate ourselves and brings ourselves up is instead to be around people who love us, not to isolate ourselves in times of stress (as I’ve been guilty of in times passed).
My New ‘Hood
Despite the stress of unpacking, I’ve loved near daily walks around the neighbourhood with J. Whether it’s to pick up dry cleaning, go for his vaccines, or to grab a coffee at the Farmer’s Market, I can see how neat this neighbourhood is going to be for both of us. I adore the Little Free Library, where I’m conveniently managing to send my completed (or not so completed!) books.
I can’t wait for J to toboggan for the first time down the hill or skate on the ice rink. As for me, I hope to use the park to my advantage and regain some of my running fitness. It’s a long road ahead, but I’ll get there. After all, I hope to have a lifetime in this house.
Here’s the thing about a year in nature – it’s so much better to do with people. Last year was a rough one for me, and I completely cocooned myself. For months I didn’t see friends, because I just didn’t want to talk about all the awful things going on around me.
With a bit of distance, I can see now how getting out daily, being with people, engaging, it could have made all the difference. I can’t go back, but I can make up for it now.
So… if you ever want to go for a walk with me, just say the word.