We visited with Carlyn while she was at the summer music session at the Bamff Center. We got to hear and see her play in two concerts. In one of them she was principal cellist for a Brahms symphony.
Carlyn and the music brought us to Bamff, which is in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta. Lory worked out a plan for our weeklong visit – Iʼve never been so taken with a piece of geography. I tried to stop saying, “Wow!” I failed.
At one point I reminded Lory of the wonderfully moving lines spoken by Emily to the stage manager in Thornton Wilderʼs Our Town, which Lory directed at the church 20 years ago and I played the stage manager:
Emily exclaims, “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?”
He replies: “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
We drove, hiked, walked and rafted in the most breath-taking terrain Iʼve ever experienced, and we were ʻconscious of our treasures, every, every minute!ʼ It was spiritually uplifting with sermons in snow and ice, in magnificent mountains and waterfalls, and rivers that have been carving canyons for thousands of years. Millions of years, actually.
On the first day in Bamff we planned to take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, so named for the hot springs on its lower slopes. We were told the wait for the next gondola was about 90 minutes, so we asked about hiking to the top of the mountain and taking the gondola down. “It takes about an hour and a half to two hours, but it’s very do-able with lots of switchbacks.”
It took us two hours to climb the 3.5 mile trail – Lory would have finished in 90 minutes, but she waited for me – I slowed down as the air got thinner in the higher slopes. The view was as breathtaking as the hike up. We were glad to take the gondola down!
During the next six days we visited Lake Louise, Muraine Lake, and Jasper, each of which is as beautiful as Bamff. We hiked every day, including a tour of the Columbian Icefield where we walked on ice we were told was a thousand feet deep. The icefield is atop a triple Continental Divide whose waters flow to the Hudson Bay on the east and ultimately to the Atlantic, as well as flowing to the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.
Now weʼre ready to hike into a new church year – to continue to explore and to re-examine all weʼve been taught, all weʼve come to think, to believe and to re-think all weʼve come to reject about traditional religious beliefs and, perhaps, to see new, deeper truths emerge. See you soon.