“So do all who live to face such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,” said Gandalf to Frodo in Lord of the Rings as he lamented over his burden to carry the ring. In the movie, or book, the quote is in the context of grief; here I use it simply as inspiring quote about the power of choice. And, as a segue into today’s column which is about the things I will choose to do and appreciate while I am here in Moose Jaw.
I suppose I will start with the things I have appreciated thus far. Upon my initial visit to Moose Jaw the day before my internship was set to start, my girlfriend and I walked about Crescent Park on a beautiful autumn day. I’m not sure if it was the beautiful fall colours or the impeccable synchronized swimming of the many Mallard ducks about the pond that captivated me that day. In Regina, we can get close to and feed the Canadian geese, but I had never been so close to Mallard ducks and their beautiful emerald heads. They made for some great photographs, as did many things in Crescent Park. Now, whenever I have some time to kill or am in a particularly reflective mood, or just feel like going for a walk, I will go to Crescent Park — my sanctuary, or as I’ve come to call it, Rivendell.
Last Tuesday, you may remember, it was raining, as it has been this past Tuesday evening. Rain always puts me in a reflective mood, and after writing last week's column I was feeling particularly reflective — about the column I had just written, about the things I may write about in the future and about the things I may experience or get up to over the next few months. Being in such a reflective mood I decided to eat my lunch in the park that day.
It had been raining and snowing on the drive to Moose Jaw, but, as I had been prepared with a raincoat, the weather did more to encourage me than dissuade me. You may remember from last week my appreciation for the seasons; part and parcel of this appreciation for the seasons is an appreciation for the weather. I love being in weather, whether that be rain or snow or heat. Weather, as it is a part of a climate, as a climate is part of an ecosystem and as an ecosystem is a part of the world. Weather lets us know that the world is alive, and that in turn, so are we. As I sat and ate my lunch under an elm tree, its outstretched bow reflecting off the water in front of me, gulls flying about, squirrels scurrying the leafy ground, I felt alive in Crescent Park that afternoon, and that, I appreciated greatly.
Another thing I’ve appreciated is commuting with the sun at my back. I never realized this at first, but being a commuter is a lifestyle. I learned this when I began commuting to the U of R from Buena Vista. You have to live out of a bag and a vehicle; you have to leave an hour early for everything; you have to choose between going home to eat or shower and having a social life. There’s no running home quick after a long day of work or school, once you commute back home, you're stuck there — unless you don’t mind spending hundreds on gas or hours of your time driving.
But if there is one thing I appreciate about commuting, it’s seeing the morning and the evening sun hit the prairie landscape. Something I’ve come to appreciate about commuting to and from Moose Jaw is having the sun at my back both ways. Having the light behind you, as any with a photographic eye will tell you, makes everything more beautiful and perfectly lit. Suddenly, any standing tree anywhere is photo-worthy. Dilapidated barns, old houses, bails of hay, all become pieces of art when the light hits them just right from over my shoulder. The pinkish yellow hue reflected from a broken window in an abandoned farmhouse; these split second moments of beauty that I appreciate so much.
I also appreciate my coworkers and everyone here at the Times-Herald for taking me in and making me feel welcome, for not scoffing at my barrage of questions and offering their help as much as they can. Times-Herald staff, I appreciate you.
Now, things I intend to partake in and talk about in the future ... Every morning I drive by Prairie Storm Paintball, and it looks absolutely awesome — who’s in? I would also like to talk to some members of the Moose Jaw Bike Club and, if there are any cyclo-cross or mountain biking events this late in the year, go partake in some of those and talk about that experience. I’d like to attend some open mic nights around town at some of the local pubs, maybe even strum a diddy or two — any suggestions? I also plan on infiltrating the local snowboarding scene and finding some local jibs and jumps with the guys from New Board Shop. I also intend to philosophize and talk about many random things ... and I look forward to it all. Until next time.