Somewhere along time, in a whirlwind of growth and progress, we forgot to live. It got worse as we grew older and lazy evenings spent stargazing with our posse and positing terrible arguments on debates on life, love and all those cliches were soon muffled by the need to huddle with our ears plugged behind a screen. And in this monstrous scuffle to tire, unwind, repeat day by day by day; to wake up and grab a hurried breakfast before plummeting headfirst into a dismal and bleak routine of punching the calculator or the keyboard or the wall in displeasure and angst became no more than an attempt to distract ourselves from the fact that we no more than exist.
We breathe, we see, we taste – but how much do we feel?
And we tire of it all. Of course we do. And we deal with it with utmost sincerity and begin to draw up plans and calculate numbers and fix dates to drive out to a neighboring town (or across the world if we have the means). But we’re just lying to ourselves. We have our work files buried at the bottom of our suitcase (for emergencies, of course) and our temporary number is on every colleague’s cell-phone (for emergencies, of course). We may be a million miles away but our minds our forever preoccupied with the need of security and order.
Such thoughts and more ran through my head as I climbed down the steps at Surprise Corner. The “Mushroom Trail” lay ahead in all its alpine glory. I don’t know if it was the fallen pine cones or broken branches, the shadow of Tunnel Mountain or the “soft inland murmur” of the Bow River but with every step I took, I stripped off one thought after another.
After a beach, a log across the river and several branch duels between my friends I found myself with my feet dipped in the water, my mind stark naked.
For that delicate moment, as brief as it was, I found myself at peace. Anguish over my sighing wallet met with an dire concern over my toes slowly turning numb and reviewing things I had on my checklist for the day in my head became an inexplicable fascination with how perfectly blue the sky was that afternoon. In this place of solace and solitude I found what was most important to us all. It was not as dramatic as you might think, I did not return home to forget about the assignments due the next day nor burn my books in
absolute revolt against the regime. I reminded myself to notice the simple things in life that made it beautiful – from the road with the canopies from end to end or the smile exchanged with a stranger for a brief moment before boarding the metro.
Banff taught me to be, to stop and to breathe. Kick back in your office chair and try it sometime.