Just before 7:00 this morning I humped up an asphalt path through suburbia to the large grass and aspen bowl that sits on the side of the hill immediately to the west of Nose Hill Park. It was cool too. It must have come close to freezing last night. Mist rose from a schoolyard soccer field. I had been up at 5:00 for no particular reason, but the sun is pretty pokey these days so I had to wait until 7:00 to see what the day held.
Over the fifteen or so minutes it took to pass through a couple of neighbourhoods I saw no one else. A month ago the same path would have been busy with dog walkers and runners. The flip has switched. Summer is over, but I’m not despairing. Fall has it’s merits.
The path to the top of the bowl passes through a couple of hundred metres of meadow. Mostly it’s non-native grasses, Buck Brush (or Snow Berry) Wild Rose and wildflowers like Smooth Aster, Gaillardia, and what I believe is fleabane, but maybe I just hope it’s fleabane, because I like the name. To the right a draw held a copse of Aspen trees.
At the end of the trail I come to a pile of boulders, excavated I assume by builders when they cleared the neighbouring land for houses. They would have originally arrived with a glacier bizarrely named the Jasper Tongue, which my reading tells me brought these great erratics south from the Jasper area some 15 or 20,000 years ago. In other words when I was still very young.
From the top of the hill the Calgary skyline was lit up by the rising sun. To the west I could see the mist that concealed the Bow River.
Apart from the view the highlight was to kick up a covey of Hungarian Partridge. First, two exploded from the grass along a fence line. Another ten or so flushed out of an adjacent backyard. That set my blood pumping and I thought of long ago hunting trips with my dad and brothers.
Telling you this has no real point except it occurs to me that despite what happened a decade ago, life can still be good. I’m onside with the idea that the best way to honour the memory of the dead has something to do with living well, making things better for others and being grateful for whatever we have. Not that I’m an exemplar of any of that.