Thursday, August 14, 2014

first four days

owen, luca and dd post sulphur mountain.
we were delayed. the kids were extremely understanding and touchingly patient when i let them know that my love, andy, and his son luca were wanting some one on one time during the holiday. the twosome had been in vancouver for a spell, but had much warm company throughout. i dreaded letting the kids know - bear in mind they’ve been planning for banff this year since we came here last year. what it meant for them was that we’d be headed to banff a day later. they listened with big eyes and understood completely. not at all what i expected. incredible how flexible the young can be.

as we got here, it was to the pool and then the buffet at three ravens. awesome. we followed that up with the gondola, which was where we started losing things. the first was my good sense. andy, luca and our owen decided luca and owen could walk down sulphur mountain as a duo. luca is sixteen, but raised in toronto. he can figure out the TTC, but hiking? eep. owen just turned ten and he’s shy of his mega growth spurt. his brains and braun are mighty, but it’s all packed into a compact beauty brown boy. andy’s enthusiasm had me going along with this madness, though it was already nine p.m. so, off the boys went as darkness descended. we took the gondola back down with dd, our niece. she had a great time making the same joke for every ascending gondola car passing us “That one’s empty. They fell out!” she had new deliveries each time. we closed down the gift shop, and then waited outside for the mountain descenders as dd wrote her mom a postcard.

by the time luca and owen found a building, it was pitch dark out, and they had no idea where they were. well, they’d veered off track a little, so we caught up to them at the hot springs… eventually. luca rang his dad’s cell and let us know where they were. andy said we’d come fetch them in the car - my sister’s car. the four remaining gondola staff members were awaiting a shuttle bus that brings them back into town. luckily. we frantically searched ourselves for the keys when one staff fella asked whether we were looking for keys. he let us know they were “at the gondola.” i had visions of keys spotted fallen off the edge of the summit and madly squirreled away by a chipmunk. it turns out we’d set them down at the front desk when we paid. (well, andy set them down and i wasn’t tracking like i normally would.) the fella ran into the building and emerged with our keys. we zipped up to grab the descenders and took a victory photo. we looked at the hot springs, thinking we’d plan a trip for tomorrow. a bird’s eye view revealed pasty tourists lining the perimeter. “Dumpling soup.” we opted out.

the greatest thing i’ve felt from these few days is witnessing the way a child claims his/her/their space. they map out the land, find their brightest places and call it theirs. they share with their brother or sister. they want to show the people they love. they ask questions when something seems askew. these kids love the banff centre pool. they are baffled when an older boy leaps onto the dinghy they are using, immediately looking to see if i’ve witnessed this event. their wide eyes asking me “What the heck?” dd silent gasps and hides a long pointed finger when she sees a nude woman in the change room, utterly unashamed of her body. when the woman leaves, i tell my niece that one day maybe she’ll be the same. she assures me it is “gross” and always will be. she says it like she owns the place and her own mind. and she does. but she’ll share.

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