It truly had been a few years. Ok, it had actually been a few decades. I had fond memories of my trips to Banff. It was one of the highlights of my trips, anytime I visited my relatives in Alberta, Canada. And, it was especially fun when all of us cousins got together, to go to Banff!
When I was small, the highlight of the trips to Banff were the hot springs. I mean, I thought that the word, “Banff,” and “Hot Springs” were synonymous and was quite surprised to find out that they were not! As soon as we would arrive in Alberta, Canada, we would start planning our trip to Banff and I would start unpacking my swimsuit to pack it in my little day bag ready for the long trip out to the wonderful “swimming pool” in the mountains. Back then, the short trip from Calgary to Banff seemed like a long trip, but, chatting with my cousins made it go by faster.
It was a bit different this trip. First of all, I was able to enjoy it with my husband, Michael, who hadn’t had the experiences of going to Banff growing up. And, my dear cousin went along with us and blessed us with a tour of this beautiful place, allowing us to re-discover its elegance and quiet majesty, and to do so in the best of company.
We took the Gondola up the mountain, able to view the Banff experience from the sky. I had thought that I was afraid of heights, but realized that I was so mesmerized by the beauty of the mountains and the vegetation that hanging mid-air was actually a delight. I enjoyed the chit chat as we looked, snapped pictures and road our way up the mountain, hearing stories of my aunt who used to sweetly ask her children to sit still and not swap places on the Gondola car while it was in motion. Thinking of that, my only hope was that if this tin-can-in-the-air did happen to snap from its cables that it would be quick and painless. But, who could think about that with so much detail and yet, grandeur to appeal to our senses?
I scarce could take it all in, with the minute detail of fresh animal tracks in the white, untouched snow, the green, graceful branches of the towering trees, almost close enough to tease us with the edges of their long arms, reaching out to us in a sort of hug from nature. And, to take a deep breath and just hold it, the freshness permeating my whole being.
Such an interesting view, to be able to see the fresh, soft snow, and yet the steam coming off the Banff bath, as we gently rocked and floated further up the mountain and into a bird’s eye view of the entire Banff area. Were there enough hours to truly take in its beauty?
This trip to Alberta was not like any other trips in the past. It was almost like a homecoming. No, it wasn’t just Like, it really was a homecoming, a connection with my roots, and this trip to Banff was no exception to that experience.
The squeals of children running around the quaint town were replaced with a new-found respect for the area, a breathing in of the Banff fullness, but something that permeated deeper into my being to appreciate what it was that I was experiencing, with the colors and the textures and the glory of the creation. It was like walking into a picture book and being able to experience the beauty with every sense and every fiber of my being, and yet, at the same time, rendering me almost speechless with the intoxicating beauty of it.
While it is true that I have a very talented photographer for a husband, and a picture is worth a thousand words, that day, with him, and with a dear cousin that is more than just a cousin, I was able to experience an almost healing of the soul, something that flat imagery would not be capable of reproducing and something that even the human mind has difficulty recording in memories, beyond the deep heart-felt calmness that is brought by the healing touch of places like this, a place called “Banff.”