It Was All Just a Bit Too Loud (what I learned and gained from the silence)
Posted on August 30, 2020
Friday, August thirty first. We watched the sun rise over Lake Moraine. Mother Nature danced across the landscape with a mixture of colors as the sun rose up and up and up. Brian took a sip of his coffee and leaned his head back to accept the warmth of the sun. I stayed, watching him. Everything about that morning made me feel alive. The smell of the water. The chill against my skin. The breeze as it swept against my cheeks and kissed the clusters of lilac fireweed good morning.
You know, I’m a firm believer in signs. Brian hates when I talk about the universe and what he refers to as the meant-to-be-crap, but I really believe it. If you take the time to listen, you can find the signs which speak to your exact situation. It happened to me right before this trip, a little over two years ago. A lot had been weighing on me. I had been feeling cloudy. I had been feeling distanced. Then, one day, I was reading a book during my lunch break and the following words leapt from the soiled pages of a paperback: it’s all just a bit too loud.
That was it.
It was all too loud.
Brian and I arrived in Banff at a time when we needed it the most. We were at the tail end of one of the most difficult years of our relationship. For those of you who know, Brian and I decided to remain long-distance until he completed his medical residency. Facing three years and three hundred miles between us, we mulled over a multitude of factors before reaching this decision. To be clear, though, just because you make a decision doesn’t mean that it’s an easy one to make. This one?
This one was tough.
Being away from the person that you love is damn hard. I felt as if a piece of my heart was missing. It drove away with him that June and wasn’t returned until last summer. I felt myself change. The spark about me faded. It was difficult to carry the same conversations because, honestly, I didn’t have the energy. I would oscillate between periods of sadness and periods of gratitude. I missed him so much and yet felt grateful that I had him in my life at all. I consumed my mind with work because if I thought about him for just one second, I would remember how much I missed him. Ultimately, I began to fight against time. I wanted to speed it up and, then, I felt bad rushing it. I would cross each date off the calendar with glee, a fiery orange through the middle of each day. A bright color as if to make it more real.
I began searching for answers. How could I be present and savor time while looking forward with the same intensity? How do I find myself again?
Sometimes, you don’t find the answers that you are looking for until you hear them in the silence.
In the sound of the wind as it whispers to you at eight thousand feet.
in the smell of the water.
in those quiet moments right before a rainstorm.
Banff quieted the loud which surrounded us. In fact, the final leg of our trip included an overnight stay at the stunning Moraine Lake Lodge. We were given a gorgeous, one bedroom cabin overlooking the turquoise waters. The best part? There was absolutely no cell service. Spoiler alert: it was fabulous. Brian and I went to dinner at the on-site restaurant where we shared a bottle of wine and good conversation. We ventured back to our room, started a fire and spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing. In our little room in this small part of the world, all was quiet again.
Life is beautiful but it can be messy. As much as we may want to believe, there is no secret handbook to living your best life. It is a constant and ever-shifting lesson. Sometimes, we pass and we continue on the right path. Other times, we fail and we fall off course. For me, the silence taught me a lesson in positivity. In those sucky life moments, it is so easy to dwell on the negative. While others were posting about fabulous outings with their spouse on social media, I was at home watching Netflix with my dog (to be fair, he is a great cuddler). Woe is me mentality that I couldn’t shake. However, the reality is that I have this amazingly supportive husband who didn’t want me to lose the career that I worked so hard to achieve. A husband that stressed “we can do this” before he drove away that June. A husband that would text me “good morning beautiful”, every day, from three hundred miles away.
We found ourselves in the mountains that month and, on the third of September, we left. My fingertips strummed what remained of the mountain air outside the passenger window. I accepted it. One last time, I thought. The snowy peaks. The turquoise water. The quiet. It disappeared into the distance and melted into our memories. And, back there, somewhere in the middle of the clusters of larch pine, deep beneath the underlayer of aged leaves covered, soon, in the season’s first snow, lay our worries. We smiled at each other as we crossed into Calgary. We both knew. We both knew that a piece of our hearts remained at those rocky shores and that, one day, we would be back again to feel the chill of that mountain air.
Until next time,
P.S. A more in-depth travel post on Banff National Post to come. I hope you enjoyed my story!