A friend texted me, asking if I was planning any mini-breaks. I told him that right now my world is within the distance I can run. I feel like I’m digging in for winter. Maybe when spring comes, I will look beyond the mountains, but right now I am happy to remain routed within the town site of Banff National Park.
Last April, my running buddy and I signed up for the 5km run in Glenveagh National Park in the Northwest of Ireland. It is a treasure not far from my home but which I rarely visited. It poured down that Sunday Morning. It was a type of rain I have never encountered in Canada, the kind where you were soaked in seconds and the choice was to soak it up or stay in bed. We are the soak it up kind of runners. With hundreds of other women, we ran our hearts out. I find short and fast very difficult, I’m built for endurance not for speed. I pushed it, pushed my legs, pushed my lungs. The whole time though, I was looking around. There are a few cottages on the main thoroughfare. Flowers and hedges and whitewash were kept impeccably. All through my 33 minutes, I wondered what it is like to live in a National Park.
Unplanned, that is what I am now doing. My world extends to the top of Sulphur, the top of Tunnel, across to the Fenland Trail and out to the Rocky Mountain Resort where I turn, and run up towards Tunnel. I don’t venture further, and it is only the odd occasion where I push out to the edges. It doesn’t escape me that this time is about travelling, but this is exploring; seeing another world, another way, and limiting my world to that where my legs can carry me seems a nice variation for someone who loved her car. I realise I am in a tourist haven, with the associated facilities but it is worth noting: there is no shortage of things to do within this space.
My life is a simple one. Without my usual life, the usual routine, I had to build my days from scratch. Just like I had to clear my wardrobe of the accumulated clutter and fit the stuff I love into a hold-all and a satchel, so to with my time. I fill my day with what I choose. I run, I read, I practice yoga which I had never the opportunity to do before. I work to make this life happen. I write. I sit and look at the mountains. I smile at this thinking of how friends would roll their eyes at me. I go to the library and listen to book reviews. I join in. Today, a customer has invited me to her exhibition in the Banff Centre, and it is time I explored Cultural Banff. I watch the people on the streets and the next table.
What I’ve noticed is that I rarely wonder where my day went but see the different things that I am happy to invest my time in. Time still goes fast. I don’t wish my life away here. I don’t wish for the weekend or next month. This is partly because I don’t know what to wish for. I know the big stuff, happiness, passion, health, love. But the little details, the plan is still invisible to me. A few weeks ago, this scared me and I got very unsettled, asking questions, not sitting still, worrying but not really knowing what I was worrying about. I have settled back again. It’s not that I am not planning, it’s that I just don’t know what to plan andfor the moment, I am afforded time out in a national park.
A girl I shared an office with once gave me a quote:
When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.
All I know is what I want to do today, so that is what I will do. Yoga, a prayer, an art exhibition, run. I’ll write and read. I’ll call home. When I go to bed tonight, I’ll be happy. What more could I want from my little world?