Leafing through September…


I’ve been collecting a leaf a day all month, to capture the essence of September on paper. Though most of the fall color here is shades of gold, there is plenty of variation when you stoop to see closely!


We had ourselves an easy hike in Banff this week, skirting Tunnel Mountain…


It was just the kind of hike that makes me feel so alive!!

So let me pass a glimmer of what I saw on to you ( :



Our destination was this little group of hoodoos…


which seemed rather lack luster to us, having seen Bryce Canyon in Arizona…P1220445

But that’s ok—the process of getting there was a treat (mostly).

A burning bush along the way:


I attended a watercolor workshop earlier that day in Banff.  This mountain was our subject.
A guest First Nations man told tales while we tried to capture the picture on paper…

Drawn Banff

He said there’s power in the mountains and some Indians, including himself,  aren’t strong enough to stand living here.  (He lives on the prairies.)  He alluded to a creator that noone really knows much about, except that he’s given us all this and there’s no way we can repay him/her.  So they revere the creation and have ceremonies acknowledging their indebtedness.  Meanwhile myths and superstitions have filled the void of not-knowing and many are the stories that are told, attributing god-like power to creatures and denying the Creator…

And I thought, how sad—to recognize the grandeur but miss the identity of the Creator  ‘for his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.’ 

And my thought is that if there’s perceptible power in these mountains it is just this—they speak of God’s power and majesty!  They are a constant reminder of  His nearness to His people.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people
from this time forth and forever
. Ps.125:2 NKJV

Meanwhile back home the skies and the meadows and the golden splashes of autumn continue to inspire praise!


And it occurs to me that perceiving beauty is all  about the way the light shines…


The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.Jn.1:9,10 NLT

But thanks be to God—

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. II Cor.4:6


I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Ps.142:5












Over in the meadow…

[Whoops! Please pardon my lapse in posting.  It’s not that I haven’t been getting out…]

And in fact I have taken a few pictures. How could I not?!   That crisp glory of fall is upon us,

and with it the first frosting of snow has fallen in the mountains round about…


After a stint of wet & cold, the sun came back to play.  I love the way it makes the trees seem to glow!


The weather has been splendiferous!


So we had the kids out for a visit and took them to one of my favorite places, what I call ‘the meadow’.


It lies on the bike trail between home and town—a well-disguised cover-up of the mining operations upon which Canmore was founded.  Here the men came day by day to the lantern house to fetch their lights and descend into the gloom…


Now we stroll along, or more often pedal along, and revel in the beauty of God’s earth…


These mountains are not just lovely they are also full of treasure. The range we see out our window is made almost entirely of Limestone—a boon for the cement industry. So… we went for a BBQ and  tour at the Exshaw plant just down the highway… Ya’ gotta love the centerpieces on all the tables:IMG_20160917_132505624_HDR

These are ‘clinkers’—the result of baking a crushed combination of rock (mostly limestone) at temperatures a third the heat of the sun!  Now you just take these clinkers, add some gypsum and grind ‘em to powder and you’ve got cement!

It’s a big operation,


but looks pretty cushy from inside this cab…


Well… we’re bracing for winter, so we did a little mountain biking at the local Nordic Ski center to familiarize ourselves with the trails…P1220175This’ll all be snow in another month…

And say, here’s evidence that I actually do know how to ride a bike all by myself:


We went exploring off-road on Jim’s day off and IMG_20160915_114258062discovered the Trans-Canada trail…

We didn’t go too far but we had a lovely time bumping along…


After refueling with a snack we rode along this canal that generates power by diverting water…Nevermind the technical stuff.  I thought the water was lovely ( :


But the rocky ROUGHness of this path was a bit much!


Meanwhile, back at home, our front yard was transformed into a CycleCross course for a race on the weekend. P1220364P1220351

That was more excitement out the window than I’m used to!

But today the quiet has been restored, and with it the regular rounds of a stealthy coyote…

P1220094  After he had passed today along came what I’m thinking was a fox, stalking and pouncing in the tall grass.  Sweet.

And always when one needs to think, or to suspend thinking,  there are my favorite trees to gaze at, now dressed up to welcome autumn…




I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

–Joyce Kilmer



The Sound of Autumn…

I heard them bugling with the light of dawn… an eerie hollow strained sound ending with a tinny whistle.
I snuck out of bed to watch them from the front window and then the porch—a whole herd of elk just outside my door, feeding on bushes and tips of spruce as they wandered along in the quiet of early morning… P1210982

The mothers keeping watch over their gangly half-grown offspring  eyed me suspiciously standing there in my pajamas…The buck noted my existence but seemed unimpressed… P1210981and then a second larger grander buck came striding intently across my line of vision oblivious to my presence. All the others cleared out of his way, the younger buck taking the lead, and moved along out of view around the end of our string of houses…  Rutting season has begun.P1210991





The following morning I came out to breakfast less impressed.  Not only are elk wild, majestic and awesome to watch… They also eat petunias, ravage lobelia, and generally have no sense of the aesthetic value of a profusion of potted flowers on an otherwise sterile porch…  They left me a straggle of  pansiesIMG_20160829_125702139 and a few token petunias, and the dirt.  The time for flowers is past.  Autumn is upon us, and with it, the elk.

So I took my camera and went scavenging for any remaining beauties in the meadow…

P1220042P1210999P1220003P1220004P1220008P1220014P1220016The bees are scavenging too.P1220019P1220028P1220030P1220038

We squeezed in another hike on a day of mixed sun and cloud…This time, Tunnel Mountain, which sits smack dab in the middle of Banff.  It reminded us of hiking up Scout

Here it is from the highway:

Tunnel Mountain Banff

And here’s the view from both sides at the top…

The Bow River, winds its turquoise thread through the valley


The one remaining highlight of the week was getting to spectate ( :  as The Tour of Alberta got underway on Day 2 from the heart of Kananaskis country just down the highway from us.

IMG_20160902_122656626_HDR Pretty neat!


O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Ps.104:24 ESV