Today was a day full of emotions.  In response to my province’s health orders yesterday, I spent much of my work day communicating with tourism operators about how and what the newest announcement means in terms of daily operations over the next two weeks.  There is an immediacy to what is happening, and there are many long term consequences to all of the things that we are being told to do.  It is difficult, for all of us (I think) to make sense of the news and interpret what we are hearing and make it applicable to our current reality, while still trying to plan for next month and next year.  I missed a webinar that I was excited to be part of because the needs of my day job overtook my professional development time today.  And that’s okay.  It’s not okay every day, but it was okay today.  

As I organize my days and weeks, blending in personal and professional priorities, one trick I’ve found useful is colour-coding based on activity.  My pink pen is leisure, blue is work, green is volunteer (volunteering is leisure for me, but I still draw a distinction between the two).  In my green pen notes this week, Campbell River Salmon Foundation takes up most of my volunteer time.  And I had a walking meeting with Martin, Salmon Foundation President, scheduled for today.  I debated this morning as I read and re-read our PHO about whether or not walking outside was okay.  I talked on the phone with a few trusted peeps who assured me that it was, so I’ll keep writing…

Walking on the trails of the Campbell River, talking about salmon with Martin, who knows so many things about so many things and is so very generous with his time and teachings, was such a lovely way to spend 90 minutes today.  Most of our communities have these people who have spent countless hours volunteering and moving projects that benefit so many people (places, ecosystems, environments, and more) forward with very little recognition, and I feel honoured to learn from and be part of what is happening.  Martin is one of those people to me.  

As we walked and talked, I learned about the flora and fauna of the Campbell River, stories of people in conflict and in partnership, the impacts of decisions made by higher ups, and the tenacity of residents who care so deeply about the natural world that they’re willing to listen and sit with those who are on the complete opposite side of an issue in attempt to come to a shared understanding of what needs to happen.  I love going out for coffee and chatting, but something different happens when you walk and talk (and we would not have met for coffee to talk today in light of our new PHO, so another bonus to planning an outdoor meeting) – Martin spotted a spawning salmon from a spot of the trail 20 metres above the river! As he carefully pointed it out to me, while keeping our 2 metre distance, I was amazed that he had even seen it.  This female Chum was a very similar colour to the gravel and rocks in which she was digging a safe place to release her eggs, and while we couldn’t find the males who would fertilize her eggs, we were fairly certain (and hopeful!) that they were just out of our vision.  On our return down the trail, we saw her again, carefully and patiently creating her place.  Another 100 metres along, we encountered a black bear sauntering along the river bank (opposite side of the river from the trail), sniffing the air, looking beautiful and peaceful (obviously I don’t know if he/she was really peaceful, but I like to think that’s what he/she felt), climbing over rocks and across a log, then selecting a mostly-intact dead salmon from the shore and walking back into the woods.  Such a gift to see and be in nature!  As our global health pandemic continues, I hope I can continue to experience walks and talks safely.  I encourage you, if you are able, to make time for MORE WALK MORE TALK.  Dr Bonnie Henry wants us to Be Kind, Be Calm, and Be Safe.  Respect the trails, respect the rules, respect the environment.  Connect with people how and where you can.  

#IlovewhereIlive   #whatsyourleisure