Daylight Savings Vote

A few of my friends and I met up earlier this evening, er, late in the afternoon for an after work run around the neighbourhood.

As the winter approaches, daylight runs are going to get increasingly rare, and I’ll need to fish my running headlamps from storage and make sure they are charged up.

Of course, the unusual hour for our meetup prompted a long conversation on the subject of daylight savings time, that twice-per-year ritual of shifting our clocks by one hour.

Spring ahead. Fall back.

And also because tagged onto the upcoming municipal election ballot for next Monday is a province-wide referendum on the very existence of daylight savings time asking the population of the Canadian sliver of this timezone if we wish to continue the ritual.

Perpetually staying on one time, never shifting to adapt our clocks to the shifting wax and wane of the seasonal daylight flux would be less exhausting for at least two days of the year.

I would also mean that the diminishing daylight hours would lock into a regular cycle wherein the sun may not rise until late in the morning during the deepest days of winter, or alternatively set in the middle of the afternoon.

I’m used to running in the dark in the winter, but even I have to pause and wondering what the right answer will be when I vote on Monday.

Or what I’ll tell my grandkids some day: y’know we used to flip flop our clocks back and forth twice a year, everyone was late for work and grumpy, and then one day…

spayed

This morning I made a heart-aching drive to the veterinarian clinic to drop off a one-year-old puppy who, over the past almost-a-year has filled that same heart with joy … and for whom I’m returning the favour by having her reproductive organs surgically removed.

As per our agreement with the breeder, and in consultation with my friend-now-vet, the day finally arrived for this simple yet important procedure. We’re having her spayed.

spAd

It’s for her health. It’s for her happiness. It’s for her well-being.

I had thought the term was common, but my next door neighbour had never heard the term before and I had to spend a few minutes explaining it.

Any time a friend or family member (and a puppy is both, isn’t she?) goes under the knife it gives one pause for reflection and soul-aching empathy. My (very human) daughter has had minor surgery twice in her life and both times, even years later, are etched into my memory as if carved into steel with a diamond chisel.

The risks are, of course, the surgical process itself and the lingering feeling that I’m surgically altering my friend for what (at this exact moment) feels like a bit of a selfish, very human reason.

The benefits as I understand them are important: lowered risks of infections and cancers, and simply a life with fewer hormonal fluctuations. Plus, she can then safely attend daycare or local indoor dog parks and play with other dogs in a warm indoor space even as the winter rolls into a deep, immovable cold.

In the next few days we’ll be resting and recovering, chilling with lots of attention and careful pets … and maybe a few less belly rubs for a week or so.

Hiking: Johnston Canyon

During the summer of 2021 we took a pair of casual family vacations to the mountains. The first and more southern of these was a trip to the proximity of Banff National Park. Four nights in Canmore, Alberta a mountain town just outside of the national park boundary served as the staging point for a number of family hiking days in Canada’s keynote wilderness area.

for whatever one photo is worth:

The effort it required us to reach the trailhead of this meandering family hike belied the apparent popularity of this mountain attraction.

Johnston Canyon is among the original generation of tourist hikes in this part of the National Park. Where most hikes in the area are marked by a small parking lot and a wooden sign at the trailhead, Johnston Canyon had a large paved parking lot, a tourist information kiosk, a plumbed bathroom facility, a teahouse, an ice cream shack, a restaurant with a balcony, and sat across the road from a medium-sized hotel. All this roughly thirty kilometers outside of Banff, down a secondary highway (which happened to also be partially closed to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists during the pandemic) requiring a lengthy (but very scenic) drive to reach.

The canyon itself is the showcase of the hike.

A small river with a series of small waterfalls has spent millions of years cutting a jagged gash across the face of the mountain, and the multitude of family hikers walk alongside, into, and over said canyon in an effort to reach the epic upper falls (or further for more adventurous sorts with more time on their hands to complete the extra four kilometers in each direction.)

To assist with the experience of closely encountering the scenery (and likely to avoid losing tourists to off-trail tumbles over cliffs, et cetera) a large stretch of the path is composed of suspended walkways clinging to the cliffs, concrete and steel spiked into the granite and welcoming tourists to explore nature in a kind of sanitized yet surreal safety mode.

We strolled up to the various waterfalls, took many photos, and found ourselves carrying the dog along most of these steel walkways (thank goodness she’s only four kilograms) because the gaps and the noise were a little too overwhelming for her little puppy brain.

On the way up we seemed to be ahead of the bulk of the crowd, only meeting a handful of descending adventurers. But on our own descent we passed literally hundreds of people, usually in groups of two, three or four, often want to meet our dog as they passed, and all slowly making their way to bear witness to and snap a selfie with the marvel of nature.

I find that it is a conflicted sort of thing for me to visit these places.

On the one hand they are popular because they are amazing and accessible and worth visiting, and have been that way for a long time, allowing many people to experience something awesome and inspiring.

On the other hand, the Disneyland-style crowds one can encounter in a popular hiking area spoils the very thing that one goes there to see, the majesty of nature and the tranquility of such an epic space.

Maybe if it wasn’t so hard to reach, it would be more of these all of things, and probably both better and worse for it.

Short: Dusting

The inevitable happened.

We woke up this morning to the first snow of the season.

True, it wasn’t much more than a light dusting, bits of white clustered onto the outdoor furniture and holding stubbornly onto the shady places in the still-green grass.

But it was snow.

Just a little bit.

Though enough to signal the end of something, and the start of something else.

Something a lot chillier.