Colorado


Pike's Peak in Colorado, USA.

Image via Wikipedia

While on holiday, we off-roaded, following the forestry roads high up the peaks into logging country. Tourist types typically keep to the highways and attractions requiring little physical effort. You run into, across or past them on the well-worn trails of 3 km or less and at the venues close to the main roads. You will not find them up a mountain. Especially this time of year with the Canadian summer only officially beginning.

Our first off-road experience took us to Fenwick Falls, a sweet little waterfall up past Canal Flats. Gravel roads and not another person for over four hours as Rob rambled us up and up the mountain in search of Fenwick Lake, a mountain lake that feeds the creek and falls of the same name.

At times, riding shot-gun, I could literally look out my window at the thin air followed by a sheer drop to the river valley below. I have learned though not to do this too much because it’s quite terrifying.

The first time I ever rode  up a mountain, seemingly on the clouds, was back in 1999 on my honeymoon in Colorado. Will decided we should follow the rest of the lemmings to the top of Pike’s Peak. There is a monorail, but he had an issue with heights and refused. He had to be in control to contain his pesky (and in his opinion not at all manly) vertical aversion.

So up the mountain we went and nearing the top, the road is bald, narrow and framed with air. The first time I glanced out the window, I was keenly aware that inches separated our truck from taking flight. And I burst into tears.

I cried the last miles and Will, who couldn’t turn back and couldn’t take his hand off the wheel to take mine because the traffic was too heavy, tried to console me with reassurances about his superior driving skills. Not once did he chide me or try to talk me out of being afraid. He just allowed me to be a girl about the whole thing and when we got to the top, he walked us around until I felt brave enough to ride back down.

Riding down is also hugging the mountain, which isn’t nearly as bad.

I tell the story only because Edie and Silver were also on holiday in the Columbia River Valley this past week and the campground they stayed in could only be accessed through mountain roads. Edie, at shotgun, discovered what I did long ago – shotgun riding up a mountain really sucks.

“She looks down and bursts into tears every time,” Silver confided to Rob when we stopped for a picnic during another off-road adventure later in the week.

When Rob told me, I smiled. I couldn’t help it. The women of men who drive trucks up mountains eventually cultivate some measure of zen though I can’t personally say I enjoy heights or living a bit dangerously, as Rob thinks everyone should.

It’s funny because I can ride up a mountain now and only just phantom brake, but I hate climbing or standing close to edges. Twelve years ago I couldn’t ride but stood on the edge overlooking steep canyons while Will watched nervously from a distance. Change is reversal? Or just change?

We hiked the Hoodoos and due to the erosion, some of the trail is narrow and slippery with sand. I was all for going around but Rob coaxed Dee and I out. I was vocal about my fear. Some of it is actually bad knees. Climbing – down especially – hurts and I am keenly aware that it wouldn’t take much to strain or pop something. But worry about Dee is also a factor.

When we discussed Edie’s tear bursts, I reminded him that just because I don’t cry doesn’t mean I am not frightened. I simply tell him when I am scared and/or uncomfortable. Voicing terror works wonders. It’s an age thing and it’s also grounded in the fact that I don’t feel a need to “man up” for Rob. He is well aware of my weenie side and apparently is fine with it.

Interestingly Edie also has the same trepidation about driving trucks that I had back in the long ago days. Will had a Silverado and I avoided driving it like she declines to drive Silver’s truck.

I didn’t counsel her about the shot-gun position. I could tell she felt a bit foolish. Indeed, it is not something I expected because she is so like my sister DNOS, fearless and strong. But she will be fine. Eventually, she will concentrate on the horizon or on Silver or – perhaps one day – wee people in the backseat and the sheer drop to her side won’t hold much power because it won’t have her undivided attention. Change. Happens to all of us.


fetus 10weeks

So here in Alberta the municipal  elections have come and gone.  In my own county of Strathcona and in the city of Fort Saskatchewan there are new mayors.  Both women.  And Calgary, to our south, now has a Muslim mayor, a Harvard grad who lives in his parent’s basement.

We are indeed the liberal utopia sometimes.  Aside from the long waits at the walk in clinic, the pig shit smell from basically unregulated mega-hog farms and the kow-towing to big oil. Little things really, “n’est-ce pas?”

But even with its imperfections Canada/Alberta rarely make me cringe in horror the way politics from down under does, and it makes the American mid-term election in a couple of weeks so much harder for my ex-pat self to stomach.

We bask in the light.

While they get ready for The Handmaid’s Tale.

What I don’t understand is how an ad that is more lie than fact gets aired, or what kind of mental defect a person must have to believe that granting legal status to fertilized eggs and embryos is a good idea.

Cue the goose-stepping pregnancy police, and get ready to smuggle birth control pills across state lines because the madness isn’t contained to Colorado. Nebraska is hell-bent on stripping women of their right to reproductive control as well. And I believe Montana is hatching up some personhood scheme along with a doubt-digit handful of other states.

Why? Because they’ve run out of other options. Unless they can somehow upend Roe v. Wade – not impossible but clearly too much work with Obama stacking the court with women – personhood is their last stand.

There isn’t a scientist or doctor worth his/her degree who agrees with the insane notion that life – people life – begins at conception. Not one. Not a shred of credible science to back it up. It’s all based on notions of God and soul, a realm that invites multiple interpretations as a matter of course with nary a hint of agreement anywhere unless it’s the Supreme Court giving the nod to the idea that businesses are a notch above the unborn in the eyes of the law.

And this is so not about saving babies. That’s the ruse. It’s about controlling women. Stripping of us rights and autonomy. Period.

How this is any different from the “socialism” people quake in their slippers about while huddled around the flat screen cheering on Hannity, I don’t know.

Clearly infringing on the rights of women of reproductive age doesn’t bother anyone on the right. But so much doesn’t bother them that I wonder if they’d even notice a regime change from “democracy” to “totalitarian state”. Maybe if the news preempted “Glee” or “Dancing with the Stars”.