Five Years in the Okanagan
September 15th marks five years since the day I moved to Kelowna. I moved out days before turning 27 and next week marks my 32nd birthday.
I still remember that drive out. Crying in Manitoba to a few girlfriends, "Will I ever have girlfriends that are like family there?" Crying to family asking, "Am I crazy for moving out without knowing a soul?" Losing Kitty in the parking lot of the Travelodge, a foreshadowing of the actual losing Kitty to come when I got here. The day I drove up, the first person I met is someone who is still a best friend of mine now. I remember falling in love with fall around the Okanagan. The vibrant reds and oranges and yellows....the coziest pumpkin patches...the wine and the late fall hearty produce. It was all so foreign to me then. It feels like forever ago, yet I can remember it like yesterday.
This weekend, Onyx and I celebrated by spending one night at the mountain, the mountain that has brought so much juicy creativity to my life, and then came to town to work a Volunteer Fair, for one of my great loves - IWEN - and then on to spend a night at the Wildcraft Forest. What better way to celebrate than to camp in the woods with big hearted community and starry skies?
Apparently, it wasn't a celebration.
It was beautiful for the first couple hours upon arriving. Onyx was in his glory, literally touching and talking to every tree, making me a proud mama. We explored the teepee, the tent where I spent serious growth time a few weeks ago, and every leaf and flower along the way. We watched the sun set and marvelled at the stars. And then I tried to put the guy to sleep. And then, before he would fall asleep in my arms, I ended up with a couple hours of food poisoning. Running to the bathroom and bringing your 1 year old to watch isn't the most fun experience I've had. When he finally fell asleep, I was still sick. And although the entire experience was cozy, in a warm trailer with big windows full of stars, we had a terrible night.
This morning as dawn broke, I figured that we would make the best of it. Get up, have some breakfast, and spend the day exploring the forest again with my friend who IS the forest. But Onyx had other ideas. He was treacherous, in the worst mood I've yet to see him in his little life. And so, tears streaming down my face, I packed up our car and we left with nothing but a quick coffee and a hug from my friends.
There's so many negative thoughts that could, and did, rifle through my head at that point. "I feel so sorry for myself, I am all alone with a baby, this is is so hard, why isn't he better for me, why did I get sick, how could I have been different, what could I have done to save this?" But what hit me hard was the words that I heard my friend Maria say a few weeks ago from the very trailer that i slept in, "Be like a river."
I realize that motherhood, and life really, is like a river. The more we think we have control, the less we do. So what if he had a bad morning? So what if I yelled at him and then cried at that? So what if I wasn't going to get to have the day I originally intended? Be like a river and flow. Feel what you feel and flush it. So I did the only thing I knew would get him down in an instant - put him in the car seat - I drove. I made a mama executive decision to abort the plans we had so we could get on with living. I got a strong coffee from the town of Lumby and I drove through magnificent golden fields with skies of pink above me. There is just something about an early morning fall drive listening to talk radio that makes me love life. I went from the Monashee mountains to the Okanagan hills and passed blue-green lakes and sleepy orchards. And I wept. Not at how sorry I was that I had to leave my original plans behind, but at the magic that exists in front of us at every single step we take, no matter how or why we get there.
I love life. I always have. I had parents that taught me to awe and marvel at all that is. And these learnings that I have taken on in the past five years in the Okanagan have only added to that. The past couple years have probably included some of the biggest teachings of my life.
And what a magic life it is.
Thanks for taking me in B.C.
Five years. Wow. We are in awe of our existence.
- Tamara & O-bear