Backroads, a pandemic, and spring in Alberta…
How It Started
Head back to May 2020… we’d been locked down for 6 weeks. Tax season was over (and my taxes were actually done before they extended the deadline.) April had sucked weather wise, and it was too early to work in the garden as frosty nights were still a thing! I’d been out once to deliver Easter goodies, and apart from walking the dog, hadn’t left the city! My restless soul hadn’t settled into a routine. My brain was firing on all cylinders wondering ‘what if’s’, ‘how is my industry going to survive’, and ‘I’m going to have to take the scissors to my hair soon!
All of that indicated I needed a soul soothing backroads drive! I decided to head east. It didn’t start completely as planned… The roads were deserted. I felt more like I was heading into a zombie apocalypse instead of Mother Nature’s beauty. After 40+ years of driving I took out my first gopher, and cried. I know – it’s a rodent, and he ran under my car. But still. It was another indicator of my fragile state of mind. Usually when I hit the road, I start to unwind after 15 minutes. It took way longer. Not all was lost. It was a great day for spotting raptors and other birdlife. I’d never seen a Kingfisher in the wild. Even took in a bit of bird porn! (If any of my birding friends notice a mistake in my ID, please reach out and let me know! I use the Merlin App, which is pretty accurate, but still occasionally goes off in the wrong direction.)
Feelings of Isolation
I struggle at this time of year with the ‘blah browns’ as I call them. But trying to remember they’re ‘soft golds’, in multiple tones, helps. The soft greys of an overcast morning set off field ponds. They gave way to brilliant blues with puffy white clouds suspended above. I didn’t meet a single vehicle in either direction. That added to the eerie sensation I’d felt all morning. I drove through one tiny village spotting only one soul – a gentleman with hot pink hair working on a classic Camaro. Hints of crops were starting to appear. Farmers working in the fields were the only sign of human life. Gas stations had closed public facilities so I was grateful I’d thrown my ’emergency kit’ in the car. (Passenger doors make a great private cubicle in the middle of nowhere!)
Finally Starting to Unwind
I’d been on the road for a good 3 hours. I passed through the village of Rosebud, normally a bustling little town, again shuttered and still. Decided it was time to head back. My shoulders finally dropped, and the tensions were leaving. Stopped for a bite and just listened to bird calls and the buzzing of insects. I embraced the simplicity of the gold in in the fields. The weathered wood outbuildings I’d stumbled upon. I spotted a Blue Heron near a burbling brook. Spotted a beaver there too, but it evaded the lens. The Meadowlark brightly singing it’s song there also eluded the camera. Smiled at the cute little digger left in ditch. And wondered at the adventures of a small child in such an out of the way place.
A skidding halt, and a quick reverse, led to the feature image at the top of the page. (Classic Alberta – Spring Gold). And a couple of my best images to date of a Red Tailed Hawk soaring above. Finally caught one of it in mid-call. Did you know that when you hear a Bald Eagle in a tv show or movie, you’re actually most likely hearing the call of a Red Tailed Hawk?
The journey back was a bit faster, but still with a few stops. The farmer whose hay bales hosted the Canada Goose – in protective hissy mode – said this was her second nest. (Yes, I actually talked to a human!) The first one had blown over in a wind storm the previous week. Probably why her sass was on level high even though we weren’t that close. Baby calves were out gamboling. A muskrat (my 3rd of the day) finally swam into frame – and out nearly as fast. The song of the red-winged black bird looking for the ladies graced the air. And we had llamas. I decided I need to add llama portraits to my offerings – especially on breezy days. That wind blown look made them into natural supermodels! My head was clear. I’d finally relaxed. And I’d had a great day out. Southern Alberta Scenery never disappoints.
FOR MORE INFO…
All my images are available for purchase. Some of the ones you see here will make it over onto the Fine Art page of my website, but if they don’t and you see one you like, please reach out. What is art to one, may not be recognized as such by another. Or may not have made it up there at time of posting!