We can see the stars here. We drove from the sunset into black skies above flat prairie lands towards the bright welcome to Red Roof Studio sign that welcomed us to our new home for the evening. Greeted by a celebration of pheasant hunters and rural business award winners, we were escorted through the dark of the night to a gallery bursting with plastered statues of goddesses in a myriad of dancing shapes. Canvases and keyboards snuggled by two dogs and two cats.
They oozed exuberance, living with a passion and excitement for life. Through wine soaked stories of art communities in the Canadian prairies we watched two lovers show us that there is no end to this journey. “Every day is a party” she exclaimed smiling behind her twisted jewelry and colorful blouse. With feather earrings hanging from the walls and accidental portraits of ‘self-pleasuring’ women assigned to the staircase to their bedroom, the home is a wildly whimsical wander into another reality. “So its not just a myth? You can create art, create community, live in a beautiful home and have labyrinth in your backyard?” Shannon was flabbergasted. Tears of awe and inspiration flowed down Jordana’s cheeks and Ashley spent every solitary moment tapping away on the keyboard. This place brews creativity.
We awoke to a sweet sunrise and wandered through the circles of labyrinth, meditating in the middle. With fresh coffee brewing, we were served “happy pig” bacon and farm fresh eggs from a neighbor down the road.
The man of the house, a researcher turned photographer, drove us through the country’s biggest irrigation systems lined by transient communities for temporary oilrig workers. We stopped in horse fields to take photographs of dinosaur sculptures his wife had hoisted onto rocks that he proudly showed off to people like us who dropped in for a visit.
We followed him to Canada’s badlands at Dinosaur National Park. 13,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, water from melting ice carved out this impressionable valley where the Red Deer river flows.
The landscape is plastered with moguls of dirt and rock etched so deeply into the landscape. As we hiked up these cavernous heights, we arrived on the perfect edge of the world. Here, I unraveled my yoga mat and with beautiful bald eagles soaring above me and my writers’ imagination running wild about the dinosaurs that once danced on this rickety land, I dove into a yoga practice on Evolution.
My heart and soul beat hard as the wind whirled my hair and toppled our camera. Despite “technological difficulties” this practice was a dream come true. Meditation and yoga in sacred places like this is the greatest gift a woman could ask for. I feel blessed.
Cowboys in Calgary
Calgary was a different story. Having lived with artists and dinosaurs and prairie grass for the previous few days, dropping into Calgary was harsh. We were struck with culture shock instantly. Cruising into a local hipster café our ears cried as the indy music blared while people talked and smoked and starred and … we had to leave. We found a precious little restaurant down the street called FARM that served us big kale salads and let us sit in a quiet sunlit patio. As we sat starring at the streets, we were locking eyes with men in big trucks, blonde girls and zombies (indeed the zombie walk was in town). We met with old friends and though exhausted and overwhelmed by the urban vibrations, we shared tales of our adventures. “I didn’t realize just how much of a triad we were,” giggled Shannon in hindsight. We had become a true wolfpack, sisterhood of the travelling pants, bffs, whatever you call it, we were a team and everything is awesome when your part of a team. (Click the link to see what I mean).
We rolled into the newly renovated Calgary HI hostel, where we were greeted by slews of young handsome men on vacation or staying at the hostel while they looked for work in Calgary. Greeted with friendly smiles and a lovely back porch, we spent the afternoon napping and restoring our bodies to prepare for a night on the town in Calgary.
Jordana had always dreamt of being a cowgirl, a true country star. She had the long blonde hair and the sense of fashion but she never got a taste of true cowboy culture. So tonight we would go to Ranchman’s and make all of our cowboy dreams come true.
“Why are you all wearing blankets?” asked a leather jacket clad 20 year-old cowboy impersonator. He teased and tested our limits with cities after such a peaceful and ego-free period in the kind and loving rural communities of Canada. Alas, Shannon forced us to go along for the ride, and so, there we were, dressed like Carrie Underwood and with a drink in hand, we spent the evening bruising our inner thighs on mechanical bulls and learning to two-step on stage with local oil-riggers (we had NO idea men could dance like this, getting flipped and flopped and spun … and dropped every now and then).
We spent the whole night dancing and woke up with headaches and maybe some heartaches (darn cowboys that kick us off stage and bands that don’t let us sing Bruce Springsteen … FYI, Shannon nightlights in a Springsteen cover band). Before leaving Calgary behind we spent the afternoon watching a horse jumping competition at Spruce Meadows and moved onward to beautiful Banff, where we may have met Canada’s version of THE DUDE… stay tuned for that story & more.
It’s been a wild ride…