Category Archives: musings

It’s a Bear!

I saw this lovely fellow standing next to the road leading from Wood Buffalo National Park. His coat was shiny and he was very healthy looking after his long winter sleep.

We stopped and then he stopped, and we looked at each other. He made no attempt to come closer, but just regarded us while I took pictures.

I am concerned at his lack of fear. Most of the bears in my locality quickly run away at the sight of humans, but I’m aware that on this particular road, tourists and locals alike will feed the bears, and they grow to expect that.

This is incredibly thoughtless and careless behaviour, because as the warning signs that are posted everywhere say, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” Bears need to be left alone to forage and to keep a healthy distance from humans.

Rocky Mountain View

On our last drive from the Okanagan to the Northwest Territories, M and I

stopped at the Overlander Hotel, just outside Jasper National Park.

It was a wonderful respite after eight hours of driving through the mountains. There was great food with a wonderful room in the original lodge that was built more than 100 years ago.

The view from the dining room is stunning, with the mountains gazing serenely from their redoubt.

Greetings from the beautiful Overlander Hotel.

Pausing My Life, Part Two

When I left off at the end of part one, my boss was becoming very ill but was still at work.

Her decisions had started to become dodgy and unreliable, a complete reversal of character and ability for her.

I needed a rest from the demanding situation and took my summer holidays, and while I was away, she suffered an embolism and was suddenly gone. It was extremely and very mercifully quick.

I rushed back to a funeral, a dazed and grieving staff, including three new hires, and a huge workload.

Despite the fact that everyone knew she was terminal, people were shocked; many had bought into the notion that she was curing herself through traditional medicine, a modality in which she had such complete faith that it bled over to others. (I believe. Do you believe? Or something like that.) The new hires were more shocked than anyone, since they hadn’t been aware that she was sick.

As a group, we started putting one foot in front of the other, and got on with it, in spite of feeling sad and stunned. We got going again; we had to. The work carried on.

I was placed in an “acting” role and I set about the business of wrapping my head around all the things that needed to be done. There were a lot of them.

In the meantime, however, a coup was fomenting. A couple of people who were “grieving” on the surface were planning to put their chosen candidate into the head role – a chosen candidate whom they could control.

20 days into my new job, I was sitting in my temporary new office at my temporary new desk, bordering on letting myself slide into a private little collapse. I perched on the edge of my seat, white knuckling the desk’s edge, breathing hard and teetering on the verge of just walking away.

I had a few hostile employees who wanted to replace me. Others were angry at my boss for dying, and for telling them that she was getting better when she wasn’t. We experienced all the stages of grief like we were on a rocket sled.

No one had any idea how much had to be done, the timelines involved, and the contingencies needed. People kept materialising out of nowhere, demanding everything and taking responsibilty for nothing. Criticism hung on the air like a fog. And, there was the imposter factor. I kept thinking that I didn’t know what I was doing, that I was a know-nothing kid dressed in her mother’s work clothes, that I was in waaay over my head.

So I did. I pressed pause. I shut the door to my office. I set the phone to voice mail. I sat, and I meditated.

After I got rid of the ex-narcissist out of my life, I had learned meditation from my counsellor, and in this maelstrom of work and emotion, I had stopped doing it. I needed to get back to it.

I took a break, I re-grouped, and I fought my way through it, day after day and week after week.

I focused on what was going well: top notch support from head office, a supportive spouse and friends and faith in myself.

I won the permanent position. I got my staff in line; the ones who are discontented are moving on, and new ones are coming in. But it was a hard slog and I had to get tough. The staff who failed in pursuit of “their” candidate were angry and bitter.

It’s getting better now. The learning curve angle is beginning to soften, and a good team is starting to develop.

But pausing my life? Yes. It’s necessary. Sometimes you have to stop, take a look, and decide if this is where you should be, if it’s for you. A realistic self-examination is key, not just for yourself but also for those you work with.

That’s something that I learned from this, both by watching it and by experiencing it myself. Being able to recognise your weaknesses and consider them is not shameful, and being realistic about your strengths isn’t shameful either.

What is your opinion?

Northern Garter Snakes

Caution: Just so you know, this post contains photos of snakes. 😳

The red-sided garter snakes of Wood Buffalo National Park are the northern-most snakes in the world.

In April, they begin to emerge from their hibernaculum to mate and migrate across the neighbouring Salt River for the summer.

These little snakes blend incredibly well into their environment.

This area of Wood Buffalo Park is riddled with small caves that go deep underground. The snakes huddle together and sleep through the winter, maintaining a temperature well above zero.

When it’s warm enough outside, they emerge. Over the next few days of April and into May, the males will coil into “snake balls” to mate with any available female.

Can you see the red markings on his underside?

These snakes will then migrate, spend the summer eating, and travel back to the park to give birth before returning to their hibernaculum.

These harmless little guys will stand their ground and hiss at you as did the one pictured above when I got too close. I backed off and gave him his space.

Snakes have gotten a lot of bad press, but in my opinion, it’s the humans you need to watch out for, not them. You can always trust a snake to do what snakes do.

For more information, please see the link below.

https://norj.ca/2014/05/red-sided-garter-snakes-make-annual-mating-appearance/

Greetings from the migrating garter snakes of Wood Buffalo National Park. 🙂