From Where I Sit – Small Treats

Is there anything quite so lovely as a bowl of freshly-washed cherries? Go ahead; pop one in your mouth. Savour the cool droplets of water on the dark burgundy skin just before your teeth cut into the rich, juicy flesh. Hang on to the stem as your tongue works the treat off the stone. Discard pit and stem. Repeat the process until your tummy hurts. Leave the bright red (and sourer) ones for someone else.

If your regular life doesn’t afford you the chance to see wildlife up close, plan to visit a national park or other such area this summer. During a weekend trip to Hinton, we drove the 75 kilometres to Jasper to check out the sights. On the way into the park, we saw two deer soaking in a pool of water, with only their heads visible. At the Jasper Park Lodge, Greg, Carrie, and Hilary went canoeing on the exquisite teal-blue lake it overlooks, while Roy and I babysat Grady. The only sign of wildlife at that moment was hundreds of goose droppings, but fortunately they have staff assigned to scoop up the mess.

On the way back out of the park, we came across a herd of mountain goats along the side of the road. The adults looked like they were wearing ancient, moth-eaten coats, but their young were incredibly cute. Dozens started across the highway, thought better of it, and returned. Vehicle traffic backed up in both directions. A female stopped on the shoulder to nurse her young, and we waited. I didn’t see any road rage or impatience there; maybe every city needs to import some wildlife to appear each afternoon during rush hour to help us all chill a bit. I also caught a glimpse of some elk, but had no chance to stop for photos.

Summer is likely to include weddings, parties, and family gatherings. Despite all the stories from hell from past shindigs, try looking at that group of relatives with a less-jaundiced eye. Maybe they (we) aren’t quite as annoying as we think. Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and parents have all shaped us for better or worse. So unless you completely hate who you are, some of the credit must be shared with these ?peeps.? Embrace their weirdness. Appreciate their finer points. Give thanks for their presence.

With time and finances seeming tighter than ever, many Canadians are opting for staycations this year. To help make that reality more palatable and satisfying, It’s essential that we look for and cherish the little things, the small treats that sometimes are overlooked or taken for granted: cherries, a brush with nature, and goofy relatives, to name a few. My hope for you is a succession of sweet surprises, unexpected blessings, and reasons to smile this summer and all year long. From fairs to festivals, books to barbecues, road trips to chaise longues, I see something affordable and special awaiting each of us, from where I sit.