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.
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.
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.
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.
I took the backroads through orchards and farmland to East Kelowna, stopping to take pictures of the geese in the orchards.
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.
And the shot that I needed? I got that.