Driving up Highway 5A towards Kamloops, after lunch at the Quilchena Hotel, I felt my heart open up, my lungs expand. The days have been full and I haven’t taken time to pay attention to the sky lately. Haven’t noticed grass. I am not a techie and wouldn’t know what to do with an IPod if I had one. (I don’t even have a cell phone.) But years ago, when our internet connection was still powered by hamsters on a large wheel (too slow for any kind of music download) and Angelica was at UVic with a high-speed connection, I asked her to find some songs I wanted to burn onto a cd (see? That’s me operating at my highest skill level…). She did and then I sort of forgot I had the cd. But it’s perfect for road trips and so it was our musical accompaniment to Highway 5A this afternoon. “Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands” as we passed the townsite of Upper Nicola where much of my first novel, Sisters of Grass, is set and I remembered all the times we camped nearby, stayed in the Courthouse with friends for extended weekends, watched our children grow. Their shadows still linger on the hills beyond Nicola Lake. It was where they wanted their birthdays, weekends in every season, and even now I’m plotting for a way to show my grandchildren the erratics in the field on the road to the campsite, the cows in the fields that all have calves at their heels or else tugging at their milkbags, and maybe buy those grandbabies each a pair of cowboy boots at the Quilchena Store. (I sussed them out today and they’re beautiful.) Then, approaching Stump Lake, it was Bruce Cockburn:
Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by
You never get to stop and open your eyes
One day you’re waiting for the sky to fall
The next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all
And as a non-Christian, it might sound hypocritical to say that as we drove the last stretch, near Knutsford, I felt like I was knocking on heaven’s door. Or I wanted to knock, to see what might still be inside.