FTLComm - Elfros - September 10, 1999  
Having had only three hours sleep and driven for seven hours it was time to take a break and I pulled off of highway #3 just North of the junction with the Yellowhead and found myself in this truly interesting place.

Some time ago, forty or so years, this was a gravel pit. Judging from the material in some exposed areas, a very low quality gravel pit. The gravel had been excavated from the land leaving artificial ravines in the ground twelve to fifteen feet deep. In the course of time the forces of nature have reclaimed this place and turned it into an island of tranquility in a prairie field.

Aspens and some other varieties of trees have claimed the sandy soil as their place to live and grow and without natural drainage the water stays there producing a solid growth of both trees and grass. One can see that over the years the
vegetation has simply spread itself over the devastation that had occurs, so that now it is hard to see the way thing must have looked when it was an active gravel quarry.

I followed the trail on foot through the length of the area and was overwhelmed with the peace and calm that seemed to permeate every shadow. Though the sky was drenched with golden early autumn sunlight, the wind was nearly thirty knots and in the open it was a less then ideal day. Yet here amidst the trees and with the distorted ground forming a wall around the area it was placid, warm and utterly silent.

It took a few minutes to emerge onto the harvested wheat field at the end of the trail and it was mostly down hill back to the van. I got out the cameras and repeated the journey stumbling down into the gullies and meadows along the way. Being nearly out of memory on the digital camera I used the
video camera to catch glimpses of the light flashing through the trees and of course the harsh contrast produced some rather poor pictures. But unfortunately for you the sights are less then half the story. The whole length of the site is filled with the rich aroma of a variety of plants. Spearmint grows everywhere but dozens of varieties of flowers added to the bouquet mingled with the sharp smells of thistle and grasses. Only a few insects were about as this time of the year is time for them to end their domination of this part of the planet, but there were still butterflies.

The natural process of land reclamation had occurred here quite on its own. So many people condemn humans for the damage they do to the environment and of course this criticism has merit, but at the same time we must remember that humans are a natural part of the ecology and it just
seems appropriate that things will clean up and improve on the waste left by human activity. This, perhaps is one of the things humans have in common with beaver. With a little time things will be sorted out by themselves.

The setting along this trail was a tonic that will last me for weeks and perhaps longer. Better then sleep and more refreshing the shower, this place washed over me and reawakened my awareness of the relative insignificance of technological confusion that had lead me to make the journey of the past two days. The profound realisation of how fortunate to have made this choice to stop where I did seemed beyond luck and made me ever so aware of the blessing of being able to walk, see and smell this resilience and determination of these trees and plants.

Only a couple of miles North after I resumed my journey
I was smiling from the elation of the experience, my smile was returned by a driver who waved to me from his hearse.

Walking and running through this little wood was the highlight of the week for me. More then a passing moment of calm but an experience that can be savoured and considered for some time to come. The scent of the spearmint had sent my mind reeling back to my childhood, the wood and the warm afternoon fall light was harmonious with other childhood experiences in places very much like this one and I realised that what separated me from those days and moments was the confusion of the present. Why had I not done this before, why do we as adults fail as living organisms to remember the good things that are all around us and let us free our minds from present concerns. Each of us was once a child, what superior therapy to allow ourselves the luxury of once again opening ourselves to warm sunlight
cheerful trees and the strong smells of flowers and leaves. The only thing that stops us from fooling around is our selves and some strange notion that we have to act like what we think adults should be.

The message for me is loud and clear, the moments of wonder occur only now and then in life because we fail to let ourselves experience wonder. Fall has only occurred for me now fifty five times and of those times, so many of them were spent inside, doing what I was suppose to be doing. This one was a bonus. I am convinced I need to savour the setting sun and rising moon if you are not, do something about it because it is about time you did.

Just like this little patch of ground we all can reclaim ourselves and keep on becoming.