We started our year in Newfoundland.
We were house sitting a B&B and caring for five cats during a six week span, from November 2019 to January 2020. We welcomed the new year with Wreckhouse Winds and crippling anxiety to get back on the ferry home (a story for another day). There really is not much you can do under 80 to 120km winds per hour so many of our days were spent indoors, but we did manage to get out on some winter cat walks, a first for us both. We enjoyed a few local hikes and spent a chilly overnight in Gros Morne.
I did have the opportunity and great pleasure of meeting such a lovely island girl who lived closeby, on the ocean front and on water road. She floated on by like a mystic fairy sprinkling her pleasantries and sharing her contagious laugh. She also makes organic self care products… my personal favorites being “Being In a Body” balm, “Nettles In My Hair” hair rinse, and the “Bath + Body Oil”. Divine creations made in Justine’s magical kitchen. She is really such a sweetheart. (PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out her shop at wildflowercoshop.)
We had another gig scheduled for January 25, my grandpa’s birthday. We drove all the way back across the country in the thick of winter, somehow skimming the edge of each catastrophic snow storm along the way. In Ontario, we picked up two kayaks and made our way to Moose Jaw to find our that our axle was leaking; the fluid was leaking onto the break pads and consequently freezing to the drum. Upon repair we found out the leak had originally started in the summer, which to our amazement didn’t give us any issue until we were in Curts home town, where the previous truck owner / mechanic resides. That, my friends, is a horseshoe up your ass.
So we fix the truck and made our way to the Kootenays, where we house sat just outside of Nelson, on the water and along the border of the park. We were Kayaking in February. We sat an old Rotty named Spencer for the month, before making our way, finally back Home to Yellowhead, after four long months of winter traveling (through ice, wind, snow, and darkness). Asses clenched and tight, you bet.
In all honesty though being in Nelson in this beautiful couples home hanging out with ol’ Spence was a super great treat. We found a coffee shop in town that made delicious iced lattes and incredible muffins, I’m talking mango white chocolate with goji berry shit yeah (for anyone interested this place is called Empire.. I think 😅). I loved being in what felt like a grown up tree house. Oh not to mention – being in Nelson gave us the opportunity to finally start buying local meat! which we have been doing religiously ever since.
Coming home in March was the first true taste of winter we had together in this region, still missing the bulk of -40, and thank goodness because even at -25, Curt was stoking that fire every two hours throughout the night. We often traveled in to Jasper to get our groceries and use the pool up to four times a week. It was glorious being able to use a hot tub and sauna and then shower before coming back home for dinner. I loved cooking over the stove and having late night s’mores while playing Box or Monopoly Deal.
But when the rona scam became a thing in everyone’s life, our ability to shower came to a halt. We were told to lockdown so we stayed at Yellowhead full time and started sponge bathing. Boiling one pot at a time, using a small bowl for my hair and a small basin for my body. The first time I washed my hair this way was glorious, it felt so good to finally have fresh hair. Lord, I remember that feeling well. Once finished I’d scoot over to the fire to heat up for some time. The slowness and the silence of bathing myself in this way became almost a celebratory ritual, bathing myself became a beautiful act of self care – all a matter of changing how it was done (more time and energy spent) and the intention while doing.
We would rise and end our days with the sun, starting our mornings with a walk across the lake, ending each night by candle light. It may have been the most romantic set of months we have lived together thus far.
We had a theme going in 2020, which was making homes in different places, which meant constant change and adjustment. It was a pretty neat experience. It makes you realize much about yourself. Just how little you need to really get by… but also what is so terribly important to you that you need it no matter where you are. For me, that was Curt, obviously. But also a couple of rocks and some rings that a friend carved out of wood for us. They’re still nestle in a medicine bag now hanging off the rearview mirror in the truck.
At the end of April, we partly moved in to the compound cabin at Curts work, which is interestingly enough when I started diving into many rabbit holes – breaking from the matrix, if you will. Once Spring hit, we built a greenhouse at the cabin and began planting in June. We had it built in three days and saw beautiful harvest by September. We hiked Berg together a few times throughout the summer, and discovered God in the mountains by Curts cabin.
By May we partly moved in to a house across from the cafe at the base of the mountain. About a 45 second drive from the previous cabin. (Though we did have a quick week at yellowhead in-between).
We were in this ~fifth homestay~ from May to very end of July. We partly flipped the house by giving it the best cleaning it has had in possibly 5 to 20 years; we spent hours scrubbing the walls to the ceilings and every thing in between, cleaned up the yard, fire safed the property… and of course took lots of time to swoone over the gorgeous willow tree above the house. I was once visited by a black bear while I was painting a portrait of Curt at Fitzy. We were also visited by a ghost in that house who gifted us water after our first day of cleaning. Story for another day?
In August, we moved to the nearest community, Valemount, so that I could take a gig at a cafe. Also a story for another time. The move to a town after living essentially off grid all year was excruciating lol. Everything was so obscurely noisy. The fridge, the charge in the wall, the energy and thoughts from everyone around, the train passing through with its boner horn every single night. In the next four months, I dedicated a lot of energy in the wrong places and I began a walk through grief as my grandpa passed on August 20th. When I returned home from the funeral, which was by far and wide like living in a different timeline for a week (flying from BC to Ontario mid rona scam hype), Curt and I brought Summit into our world and we are blessed by that meeting and bonding every day of our lives. He came at the perfect time. Before we met Summit, our intention was to find a dog who we could train to be an emotional support dog, if at all possible, so that Curt could bring him on Trail and Summit could assist with any potential emergencies and/or triggers. He surprises me, you know, it’s like he was born fully aware of our intentions. He is by far and large our medicine dog. Our sweet Blue Healer.
By December we were offered a break from all that trouble and noise. A total pause and time to settle in, relax, and release. It felt like it was meant to be, ending the year in another house sitting situation. We took care of a farm house with two cats, three horses, and nine chickens. Solar power, red clawfoot bathtub, night time pee pot, spiral staircase, darling crafts, books on natural medicine. Truly a dream. I spent most of my days lounging in the day bed with the cats and Summit and layers of blankets, on blankets, on blankets. One day I took some of Pepe’s ashes on a walk in the pasture, and on a hill with a beautiful mixture of deciduous and coniferous abound, tiny little guys just coming through the snow; I released his ashes in the wind and I thanked God for the life I’ve been given.
We were at the farm for ten glorious days where we celebrated Christmas. On our last day, we decided to follow our stay by staying a night and thus celebrating New Years where the “great awakening” all began for me – back to Mount Robson. Not only that but, Mount Robson was the mountain in the rusted frame back in 2017 that inspired me, that drew me in closer to Curt (check previous blog post for more on that diddy). We brought in the new year under the mountain that brought us together.
So there we were. Full circle. 2020 in a roundabout. The many homes we have made and so much we learned and definitely un-learned, so much gained, and of course, I must also acknowledge the terrible loss. But in that loss came a beautiful relationship I’m blessed to develop over time. My sprituality is something I deeply cherish and experience in ways I never could have imagined. In that loss also came the discovery and realization of true compassion and forgiveness. If nothing else, 2020 has shown me great gratitude. And so , so much beauty, everywhere I am and everywhere I have been and will go. I think it is my purpose in life to take stock of those beautiful, simple moments. All the moments, from the undertow to the peaks and all the in between.
We spent our first day of 2021, or what feels like Year One to me for a reason I’ve yet to fully discover, hiking to Kinney – Summits first 8km hike. It felt so good to dedicate the first day of this year at one of our special places, with the intention of spending most of our 2021 under the trees and stars. 2020 brought in great periods of pause and reflection, but I am ready to dedicate myself to creation, to action, and to honoring both God and Gaia. To me that means being outside and living the most simple, nature based, self sustainable life. Presence is something we all deserve, it’s where we can find and feel the magic of being alive. It’s in each breath, you just have to dive in.
Maybe the Year One is a telling of my intentions – I wished upon the new and full moons, during my solstice ritual, and christmas prayers that I may leave all of the muck in 2020. The muck being of course, all belief systems that do not belong to me and that do not serve my highest good. A release of all negative loops and thought patterns, expectations, limitations; everything that holds me back and puts me down, I chose to release in 2020. I walk into January first, year one, 2021 with a clean slate, with an open and a full heart. Just being. That’s what I’ve been wanting all this time, to just be here and enjoy it. The greatest magic is in the smallest moments, the delicate silence of mother earth is where I find it.
To the beautiful, ethereal, and abundant year ahead. And all the many beyond. There is but one thing to remember, that love is the answer.