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MIELKE: Fall road trip for the soul

The days of October are spinning themselves out in a magnificent, breathtakingly beautiful kaleidoscope of colour.

The days of October are spinning themselves out in a magnificent, breathtakingly beautiful kaleidoscope of colour.

I need to remind myself to take a moment to appreciate all this beauty before it is replaced with the stark black-and-white landscape of winter.

Unfortunately, when I run to the store, check the mail, take out the garbage or do the million and one mundane tasks that go with living I’m not thinking about how gorgeous it is outside. Instead, often I find myself thinking of the one more thing I have to do.

However, the other day I did manage to still the busy voice in my head long enough to go for a drive with a friend down dusty, country roads looking for nice grasses and cattails. My idea was to capture a little bit of the splendor of fall and bring it into my living room. I had noticed such arrangements in retail outlets, of course, but when I checked the price tag of said arrangements, I cringed.

My goodness, with the price of groceries, how can one justify paying for fall arrangements that actually live outside and are ours for the taking if we are willing to travel down a few roads less travelled?

I convinced a friend of this very thing the other day and so armed with a utility knife and a vision, we turned our wheels towards the kaleidoscope of color and the magical tranquility of the country.

With the help of my friend, I managed to do exactly what I had set out to do. We captured a little bit of autumn, which, we found, conveniently growing in dusty ditches alongside equally dusty roads.

It turned out it was a road trip that exceeded my expectations, and, in the end, I discovered so much more than a dusty bouquet of cattails and grasses.

Somehow, in the quiet tranquility of the magic hour between daylight and dusk as I searched for the perfect bouquet, I felt a little less stressed and a whole lot calmer about life in general. And that was when I re-discovered that It’s those moments, those little insignificant moments that trump any to-do list. I thought about the phone call I received from my daughter the other day.

The boys don’t have school tomorrow, grandma,” she said. “Do you want to hang out with them?”

“Consider me there,” I replied. And so, it came to be that on one glorious day in October, time momentarily stood still while three boys, a golden labradoodle dog named Molly and a somewhat weary grandma spent a couple glorious hours traipsing through a sun-dappled forest.

So much for to-do lists.

I smile as I remember.

And then there was Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted it to be perfect. It wasn’t, of course.

But what was perfect was the fact that two beautiful young women graced my table, one of whom has already taken a few precarious steps into adulthood as a second-year university student, and one who will soon celebrate her sweet sixteen birthday.

I am still basking in their hugs, their smiles, and their laughter.

It seems, all too often, it is so easy to forget about those moments in time that come to us quietly, and without preamble.

Those unexpected moments. I’m thinking I might have a few of them happen today, I hope you do, too.

And I hope we are all wise enough to recognize, cherish and enjoy them when they do happen regardless of what we have checked off on our to do lists.

Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.