It was a rather chilly evening when Velvet and I headed out for our walk. We were following our traditional route through the ravine and down to the river valley. The skies were dark but we were being watched over by heaven's stars shining brightly down upon us. The constellation, Orion seemed to offer protection for our journey as we made our way along the snow covered forest path.
The trees were slowly swaying in the wind as if they were dancing to some song that was eluding my ears. You could hear the rustle of the branches and the sound was soothing...relaxing. I have always enjoyed these nightly walks and find them to be a chance to sort out all of the competing thoughts that pass through my mind.
I practice meditation....some sessions are more successful than others. It is a constant task to quiet those thoughts that seem to enjoy racing through my synapses at break-neck speeds. However, during these nightly walks I will sometimes let the mind wander and find it interesting where it will often take me.
On this night my thoughts turned towards my Dad. He passed away on Father's Day in 1993. That is almost sixteen years yet, in many respects, it really does not feel that long ago. During this walk I caught glimpses of Dad and some of the wisdom which he imparted to me. As a youth, I did not always listen to him but as I grew older I understood the wisdom of his words.
On this walk, I saw him setting up our old green canvas tent and getting the campsite prepared. We often went to Jasper National Park and would stay in the same campground on each visit. It was close to Jasper and during our walks along the highway, it was always fun to see if one could see the skytram making its way up or down the mountain. The sound of the Athabasca river would lull me to sleep after spending the evening sitting in front of a campfire.
My Dad was a pretty down to earth and basic individual. Little pretensiousness could be found in him. Dad was excellent with his hands. He could build just about anything with a high degree of craftsmanship. Once, I can remember coming home from university and spending the summer working in Virden, Manitoba. My Dad had a stroke several years before and was not as capable in doing certain tasks. I offered to assist him in renovating the house. He quickly learned that I had not inherited any of his carpentry skills.
Snippetts of thoughts. Vignettes of certain scenes would come to mind and play out as a little play. At times a smile would come to my face, at others I could feel the odd tear as a sadder memory played out in my personal theatre.
It was a chilly night, this 20th of January 2009 but there was some warmth in my heart. It was ninety five years ago that my Dad had been born and commenced, a not always easy journey, on this earth. My Dad loved nature and enjoyed being outdoors. While he was not musical he would sit in a chair and listen to songs of all genres for hours. Although my Dad has not been physically with me for many years, I still talk to him. Sometimes, just sometimes, I think he is still watching over me much as he did when I was growing up.
This night caught me in a reflective mood and thinking about my own journey. I thought I was lucky to have the parents that were given to me. A song for you Dad. Whispering Jesse by John Denver.