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.

One thought on “Isn’t life–

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