Back in the Saddle

It’s the beginning of February, and the warm, high winds are reminiscent of the Chinooks I knew when I lived in Alberta.  I listened to them whistling high in the trees outside my window, and felt an inner longing – although for what, I’m not exactly sure.

The one thing I am sure of is that it’s been far too long since I went out into the world, just because.  There was a lot of snowfall this winter, and the car I brought back from the coast wasn’t up to the task.  Rather than risk some kind of incident, I put my road trips on hold until I either bought a new vehicle, or the snow melted – whichever came first.  I didn’t expect it to take this long.

This week, I had to get out.  It’s not as though I had cabin fever.  In fact, it was almost the opposite.  The more I stayed at home, the more I didn’t want to go anywhere.  Then my car was broken into.  Foolishly, I had left my camera bag filled with specialty lenses under a coat in the back set.  Of course, it was taken.

My initial reaction was that I might as well give up.  I wouldn’t be able to replace those lenses, and without them, I wasn’t going to be able to take the kind of photos I wanted to take.

But somewhere inside a little voice was telling me I was wrong.  My vision didn’t depend on a specific lens, it depended on me.  My camera is part of my life.  I needed to feel the weight of it in my hands.   I needed one picture that spoke to me – just one – and I’d know everything was going to be okay.

And if I couldn’t head out into the mountains, there were still places I could go.  The city of Kelowna is an interesting mix of residential, farmland, orchards, beaches and wild places. I would find my picture out there somewhere.

I started out on Lakeshore Drive and followed it to the end before turning back.  I stopped in Cedar Creek to take a picture of the park.

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I stopped at the beach access, where I was intrigued by the wood washed up on shore.  There were many other stops I would have made, including a stop for a small herd of mule deer, but traffic prevented me.

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From Lakeshore I headed to the pond on Hull Road.  This was the very first park I visited in Kelowna, while looking for a place to live.  I was hoping that, like that day, there would be swans on the pond.  I found Buffleheads instead.

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I left Hull Road, and made my way to Myra Canyon Road.  The rule I made for myself was that I would keep driving as long as I could see the road.  Unfortunately, although I could see the road, it was covered by ice and slush.  The higher I went, the worse it got.  I turned back.  The only stop I made in that area was KLO Creek, beautiful as it carved its way through the ice and snow.

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I took the backroads through orchards and farmland to East Kelowna, stopping to take pictures of the geese in the orchards.

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I arrived at Scenic Canyon in Rutland, but didn’t take any pictures.  I was standing there, looking at the snow, and wondering when the last time I threw a snowball was.  I was overcome with the desire to do just that. I made snowballs and threw them as hard as I could toward the river, laughing till I was breathless.

It wasn’t until I was on my way out of the park that I realized there were people in a parked car near mine.  I wonder what they must have thought at the sight of an overweight, middle-aged woman throwing snowballs at nothing, cackling to herself.

My final stop found me back at one of the small beaches off of Abbott Street.  I took pictures of bark and sand, but mostly I sat there, looking out over the water, at the gilded clouds and the blue mountains, remembering how lucky I am.

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And the shot that I needed?  I got that.

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Author: Featherstone Creative

Sally Quon is a photographer and writer living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. When not out enjoying the splendors of nature, she likes to spend time cooking, reading and painting. Her photography has appeared in Canadian Geographic Magazine and in Nature Alberta’s various birding brochures. Sally was recently awarded a Judge’s Choice Award in the Ontario Poetry Society’s Ultra Short Poem Competition and has an essay coming out in Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Forgiveness Fix. One of her photos was chosen for inclusion in the Photographer’s Forum “Best of 2018” Collection. She has two beautiful, almost grown children.

10 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle”

  1. I’ve missed your photos and musings, Sally. Glad you got back out there and explored our amazing little city with your keen eye. Also glad to hear you weren’t running around outside in your flip-flops while we had the cold weather!

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  2. Good one. Glad to hear you are back at it. Looking forward to more. Snowball throwing can be great therapy! Go for it

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