I’ve always thought of myself as a city girl. I love to dress up, eat out, look at art, attend theater.
But having just spent a week in the Rocky Mountains I came away so bereft at the thought of leaving them behind it was hard not to weep today when the Air Canada 767 finally took off from Calgary, taking me back to Vancouver for another week.
How can mountains, ones I didn’t even ski on or climb but merely admired from a distance, so move me?
Every morning, I opened my hotel room’s pale yellow striped curtains and stared straight up a steep, wooded mountain. If I peered off to the right, far in the distance, snow-covered peaks glowed rose in the dawn, disappeared into wreaths of snow or cloud, gleamed blue at dusk.
Having never lived near mountains, I had no idea how they change with every cloud and shaft of light, shifting shape and character hourly. Like an ever-changing baby’s face, I could watch them, mesmerized, for hours.
I had never felt such an intimacy with a landscape, enveloped by the crags surrounding me. I was up this morning at 6:30 to catch my bus, and ran about — my nostrils freezing shut, eyes weeping with cold, bare hands cramping, snatching earrings out of my pierced ears (they conduct cold!) — snapping last-minute photos. As the bus raced east, I shifted from one side to the other taking more images through its windows, oblivious to what a gawping tourist I was being.
Mt. Rundle, one of the peaks I stared at every day in awe, is 330 million years old.
As we entered the endless suburban tracts outside Calgary, a local woman — heading off for a week’s warmth in Mexico — pointed out a “sundog” — a huge rainbow encircling the sun, thanks to light refracted through ice crystals in the air.
It sounds odd to say I’ll desperately miss a pile ‘o rocks, but I will.
What landscape has so touched you?