The milestone came and went. It was a fabulous day for fun, reflection and gratitude. Everyone kept telling me that 50 is the new 35 and quite honestly, I have to agree with them. Perspective is everything and there was no better way to celebrate my day (it’s actually a month-long celebration) than to be with the one thing I adore that has been growing, changing and allowing me to exist: nature. I decided last weekend, I wanted to visit a very old friend to help me celebrate the occasion. As we drove out of our beautiful valley, I reflected on the fact that the Purcells’ predominantly granite rock formations are many millions of years older than the neighbouring sedimentary and metamorphic-formed Rocky Mountains consisting primarily of limestone. To say I was excited for our road trip would be an understatement. The first time I met my friend was in 1980 and the last time we visited was in 1992. I wondered how much has changed over the years. My excitement grew as we crested the hill on the highway and drove down into the parking lot. Immediately, I could tell that 22 years had indeed changed the face of my friend.
My eyes feasted on the grandeur and beauty of the Columbia Icefields. With the warm wind in our faces, we began the short hike up to the edge of the glacier. It was incredible to see what the glacier had revealed since my first visit 34 years ago. There were mountains of rocks and boulders with the characteristic glacier scratches, left in the wake of this receding giant. Park information describes that over the past 125 years, the glacier has receded over one mile! My disappointment came at the top of the trail when I saw that a fast-flowing river of water prevented me from placing my hand on the cool, ancient ice. But I smiled, knowing that, from here on, I would love and appreciate my friend from a distance. There must have been hundreds of people visiting that day and yet, as we all faced the mountains and the glacier from the trail, there was silence. I took a few moments to reflect on my first 50 years and realized how excited I was for what was still yet to come. Fifty might feel like the new 35, yet I wouldn’t trade the people, places, events, learning and wisdom I experienced in those 50 years for anything. As we descended the trail, I glanced back over my shoulder one last time and realized that for all of us, with age we get to create our legacy and, over time, much is revealed.
Elizabeth Shopland is a horticulturist, a certified Solution-Focused Coach, and the owner of Banyan Tree Solutions. She can be reached at 250-342-8978 or www.btswellness.com.