The Road To Ruth Station

“Omagod, omagod, omagod!”

My hands gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white. I was coming down the mountain at what looked like a 40-degree angle, entering a hairpin turn on shiny, white, snow-packed ice.  I could feel the wheels of the Rodeo slipping toward the edge as I fought the urge to slam on the brakes. I had the four-wheel drive locked in and I was in the lowest gear I had, but it still wasn’t enough to keep from sliding.

I had texted Bear from the parking lot at Ruth Station, sending him a photo so he could see how much snow was still on the ground. 

The last message Bear sent to me was, “Don’t die.”

Now it looked like I might.

At the last possible moment, mere meters from the edge, the Rodeo found the sweet spot and straightened out. Relief filled my mouth, tasting of clear water. I should have been paying more attention to the grade of the road on the way up. I wasn’t trying to be reckless.

I just wanted to be living.

I’ve been thinking a lot about living lately.  Well, maybe not living so much as quality of life. Wondering whether I have any. I’ve had two sleep studies done in the last six months.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea – I knew I had it, but I didn’t realize how far reaching the effects.

I suffer from 80% of the conditions on this chart. So far “Death” isn’t one of them, but if I don’t do something, it will be.

In the meantime, what am I doing to ensure the life I’m living is all it can be?

It was time to leave the comfort of home, get back to the forest.

I had plans to go out with Jaki later in the week.  I had plans to go out with Santana sometime next week.  But this day was for me.

Sometimes, you need silence to hear your heart.

I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. The sun warmed my shoulders, and the sky was a brilliant blue. When the road narrows and turns to dirt, I am breathless and exhilarated.  This is my religion, my place of worship.

I stop for trees.

I stop for rocks.

I stop for a look at the city on the lake from above.

I stop to watch a Dark-eyed Junco forage in the gravel.

I stop for rocks and moss and spider webs on branches.

No matter where I stop, I am elated–to be here, to be free, to be alive. I needed this reminder.

There is active logging on this road.

The scent of destruction is sweet, sweet in the way a mint leaf is strongest after being bruised, or a flower when crushed underfoot. There is beauty, even in death.  I’m just not ready for it yet.

Author: Featherstone Creative

Sally Quon is a photographer and writer living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, where she is blessed to live, love and grow on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx people. Her photography has appeared in Canadian Geographic Magazine and in Nature Alberta’s various birding brochures. Sally was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Forgiveness Fix and was long listed for the Vallum Chapbook Award. She is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. One of her photos was chosen for inclusion in the Photographer’s Forum “Best of 2018” Collection. She has two beautiful, almost grown children and a cat who loves her.

9 thoughts on “The Road To Ruth Station”

  1. Another lovely post, Sally. I’m so glad you had the wisdom to refrain from using your brakes as you slid down the mountain–I bet I wouldn’t have! Sleep apnea is no joke. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the deadly and toxic toll it takes on our mental and physical health. Hope you can start sleeping better soon!

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  2. Sally. I love the way you write. I was in that van with you. Oh that urge to slam on the brakes… man oh man. I’m happy that you’re not ready for death yet as I don’t think we’ve seen all you have to give. Such beautiful images both physical and in words…
    This line struck me…
    “Sometimes, you need silence to hear your heart.”
    It’s so true. Hugs. Hope that sleep comes to you. xo

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