Isn’t life–

Oh, the prairie skies!

Have you ever walked into a place and felt it press its finger right on your heart?

If you look closely, there’s a faint rainbow in this picture

That’s what I felt when I walked into the Banff Centre for the first time. It was like seeing a cute boy at the bar that I desperately wanted to talk to (speaking of when I was single of course :)) and I got all gooey kneed and tongue tied. We drove out last fall for the Mountain Film Festival and met all kinds of climbers and National Geographic Editors and gear reps (all too cool for simple people like us.) The event was neat, but it was the place that grabbed me.

An arts centre in the heart of the Canadian Rockies?! It was like someone put all the things I love the most and delivered them in a glowing package on a shining platter.

So when I signed up to volunteer for WordFest (Calgary’s literature festival,) I wrote, Send me to Banff, please

View from the Banff Centre

I was so busy dorking out on meeting cool authors and gaping at the view that I’m afraid I wasn’t the best volunteer. I listened to writers talk about devotion and dedication and discipline, their mentors and inspiration. I get a real high from this kind of thing, folks. I think it’s being around people who love what they do and believe in bringing art into the world.

Dan and I stayed at a sweet little inn, which we never do. I came back buzzing about the people I met and the things I had heard, and Dan was buzzing about the people he had met and the things he had done around town. Let’s move to Banff! we said practically in unison.

Then we opened a bottle of wine and sat on the bed and buzzed on for a while.

It’s nice to do those little things you never do. 

We walked to town for dinner. Drank the season’s first pumpkin ale. Ate pizza with prosciutto and truffle oil.

Main Street in Banff

 It was one of those days where you’re…something a little bit more than happy.

On the rainy drive home, we said mundane things like, That was so fun. That was so great. I’m so glad we did that. But trying to put words around it broke it apart into something too simple. Sure, it was fun and great, but it was more than that. Like the moment when you find yourself kissing the boy you were sure was too cute for you at the bar.  As if your feet have left the ground. As if the world tingles at your skin.

It made me think of this little quote from Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party:

She looked at her brother. ‘Isn’t life,’ she stammered, ‘isn’t life–‘ But what life was she couldn’t explain. No matter. He understood.
     ‘Isn’t it, darling?’ said Laurie.

Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt

This weekend we went to the cabin for Canadian Thanksgiving.  The kids (our niece and nephew) kept asking us to make them a scavenger hunt. We never got around to it, but we went for a long walk and called it a treasure hunt. After all, anything can be a treasure, (most of them were lost golf balls.)

I loved these pictures of the kids searching the forest.

Their little red sweaters made them stand out in the trees.

It reminded me how the littlest things were the greatest adventures when you’re a kid.

Like finding the perfect stick.

Or walking through a tunnel.

 I love artists that make magic out of real life. Like this photographer.  

 She said she wanted to ‘remind others of forgotten magic and beauty’.


 I think I’d like to figure out how to do that too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Some movies we saw. A breakfast date I’ll never have.

This week, Dan and I went to the movies twice.  On Sunday, we saw Looper. On Tuesday, we saw Intouchables.

Looper is a dark story about the future. The Intouchables is based on a true story  and so warm and fuzzy you just want to roll around in it. 
Looper made me wonder what I would say if I sat down with my younger self over breakfast, just like the main character, Joe, sits down with himself at a diner over steak and eggs.  Older Joe tries to explain to young Joe what will matter to him in the end. He tries to warn him about the mistakes he’ll make, and the dangers that are yet to come. But young Joe doesn’t want to hear it. He wants to knock old Joe off because that’s what he’s supposed to do according to his contract. He cares about himself, now. “This is my life now,” says young Joe. “You had yours already.”
young Joe, old Joe
Sometimes, I go into a headspin about the choices I made. How I blew all my money on travel. How I didn’t take the time to build a career in the traditional way. In my twenties, I prided myself on these things. Would I tell her not to do what she did?
young Sky
Of course I wouldn’t. Those travels still define me. And even if I did ask her to just change a few things, she wouldn’t listen. She would be just like young Joe, full of pride and hope and naiveté. That’s ok. Sure, she made a few things more difficult for 31-year-old me, but things are pretty good, and I love her for who she is—innocent and wide-eyed and drunk on idealism.
Isn’t that how we become the people we are? By screwing up? By doing irrational but wonderful things? By offering ourselves up to the world? By fucking up a little and succeeding a little and then doing it all over again? 
old Sky
 It gave me this weird idea to start a blog of my adventures in South America (seven years ago now,) drawing from journals and old emails and blogging about it as if it were happening now. Day by day.
What would I do? Could I let young Sky just be who she is/was, or would I be tempted to re-write her? Would I love her, hate her, envy her, be embarrassed by her?  How strange it would be to write as 24-year-old me in the morning, and spend the rest of the day as a 31-year-old. Maybe she could even teach me a thing or two.
I wonder: would I—even though I know what happens—be surprised by going back there?
Would you if you went back?
But if you’re not in the mood for time travel, The Intouchables is perfect. Even the trailer will make your day.