There’s something exciting and exhilarating about taking shelter in the back of a van, the back gate up providing a temporary roof, watching the driving rain come down so hard you don’t dare step out into it. It feels just a bit precarious when the lightning is so loud and close you take your feet off the ground just in case there’s a nearby strike. Wondering if the tent you’ve set up under the caraganas will hold up and stay dry (especially since your sleeping bag is already in the tent. You can see the fabric of the fly bouncing from the weight of the downpour, the heavy rain spraying from the roof). But it’s also, somehow, comforting. You are – mostly – dry, the threatened wetness in your boots and the moisture seeping down your back balanced by the carrot and coriander soup mixed with long grain rice (British Army rations) that you’ve saved from the fire and are now eating, steaming hot, straight from the pot.
I’m alive and well. Both. I’m learning once again that the two are not always the same thing.
After the rain, a rainbow comes out over the Frenchman River valley, also known as Whitemud. The valley is so wide you can see both sides of the arc touching down. Golden light floods the river plain from the west. There are horses – perhaps a dozen – charging around the field beside us, kicking up their back legs, perhaps in relief at the temporary respite from the storm. It’s one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, their manes and tails flying against the dark sky.
The clouds close again and the rain settles in – 7/10ths by morning. I’m awakened several times by flashes of light and loud booms, and sometimes by the horses in the Green’s trailer, whose movements also sound like thunder. At 6:45 am Hugh and I meet in our rain ponchos in the drizzle, trying to decide what to do. Bishop Don’s tent has flooded. The horse folks are calling it a day before starting and starting to pack up. It will be impossible to get through the riverbank grass and lower bogs in any case, so we decide to postpone the half-day river section of the walk. We confer with the rancher, Terry Jensen, a cowboy so stoic he looks as though he would be unperturbed if a spaceship landed on his property. He owns as it might be good to wait. We drive up and out of the valley before the road becomes impassable. It’s the first day we’ve had to change plans. Flexibility, I tell myself, is one of the marks of a pilgrim.
11 replies on “Alive and Well”
Fantastic! You look so happy and grounded in the photo. Blessings on your journey of flexibility…. Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 02:13:08 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Wanda! Every day a new adventure, but as you know, the unexpected is part of it. Buen Camino!
Thinkin’ of you guys out there tonight… as the Heavans roar, so does the Ground shake. Good to hear that you have moved to higher ground. Your update, like an arc… is welcome. Rick.
We’re missing you Rick. You would have liked the walk today….into a major gust, with mud under our feet!
… here comes the Sun…
Staying safe is always wise!
That rainbow pic is marvelous.
Thanks Robert Robert. Since my camera has been acting up, I’m using photos from others. That was taken by Bishop Don Bolen of Saskatoon, who was driving to meet us through the storm and saw the same rainbow.
Flexibility, essential to life.
Absolutely…especially during storms!
How Much this brings to mind, sinking slowly, traiing joy into into my very being. THANKS Matthew.