When it’s springtime in Alberta, it can chill you to the bone.
Those words, written by Ian Tyson in his song, Springtime in Alberta, certainly have been true this year with the elusive butterfly of spring flitting away as quickly as it arrives.
And, even as I carefully pasted a Happy Easter banner complete with songbirds and flowers and soft yellow chicks all over my kitchen window, the scene outside looked more like Christmas.
Huge snowflakes casually drifted by the gaily decorated window, rapidly covering the ground below in a pristine blanket of white.
But the next morning, true to the good old Prairie soil on which we live, the clouds of yesterday parted just enough to reveal a pale golden sun.
And before we knew it, spring was back.
And wherever the sun managed to shine its face, the snow obligingly disappeared.
It was on a day such as this that we decided to go on a photo safari to see what we could see, and maybe, if luck was on our side, capture some Kodak moments in our camera lens.
“Should we go east or should we go west?” we mused as we started out.
West, we decided.
And so we turned our wheels west onto a grey ribbon of highway, now devoid of snow and ice, towards the pale, blue mountains, their jagged peaks just a faint outline against the distant horizon.
And, somehow as we travelled along on the road to anywhere, the ordinary seemed to morph itself into the extraordinary.
I think it started when we drove by my old swimming hole.
I frequented the spot in the days when I was a knee high to a grasshopper. In my mind’s eye, I could still see the brown-eyed Susans and buttercups growing wild and free on the riverbanks of that muddy, old river.
And I could see us all, the way we were back then, laughing and soaking wet, eating lettuce sandwiches and drinking Kool-Aid out an old jar as we sat on a tiny strip of sand, slapping away hordes of horseflies that seemed to want to eat us alive.
We stopped at the bridge and I inexpertly managed to video the simple beauty of the moving water.
Our next point of interest was a cow and her calf grazing docilely in a hay field.
I’m not sure why I felt so delighted to actually capture on video such a common rural scene as a mother cow tenderly licking her baby calf.
But, I did.
In fact, I felt like I was witnessing something quite remarkable.
We bumped along again. Our road trip was only interrupted by frequent stops to photograph red-tailed and rough-legged hawks.
I’m sure the magnificent birds had no idea that the fence posts on which they were perched served as perfect backdrops for impromptu photo shoots.
Along the way both my husband and I learned a great deal about our feathered friends, thanks to our driver and bird expert guy.
I can’t really remember when I ever took the time to observe so many different species of birds, probably, because I never did.
But, today was different. Today, I took the time. In fact, today, I lost track of time.
We took photos of pussy willows, their plump, grey softness perched precariously on the edge of a fast flowing creek.
And once again, I was surprised by a sense of awe.
The photo safari only lasted for one fleeting moment in time.
But, it was good and served as a gentle reminder that among the common, bread and butter days in which we live, there exists a natural, quiet kind of beauty.
It’s there for the taking. We only have to find it.
Treena Mielke lives in Sylvan Lake. She is the editor of the Rimbey Review.