Walk Leader: Karen Gummo
Text by: Karen Gummo
Photographs by: Karen Gummo
We gathered at 9 a.m., a group of friends and neighbours, in front of the doors of Banff Trail School. After a rousing crocus chant, we headed off along Morley Trail, originally a footpath made by the early peoples here, possibly as long as 1,000 years ago. We found old farmhouses and secret pathways. In Triangle Park, we met a representative of the Alberta Plantwatch project, who gave us a spontaneous talk about plant phenology.
As we walked and talked, we discovered many connections between us: brothers were married to sisters of friends, children played hockey together, a daughter’s fiancé went to school with the son of a neighbour, people worked as school aides together, one walker’s uncle was coached by another’s father, and so on. A young woman who is relatively new to our neighbourhood, and who came to Canada two years ago from Hong Kong, followed the chalk footprints, caught up with us, and made new friends. Our newest neighbours were our border collies. It was their job to keep folks together, and we were proud to have them in our midst.
When we got to Canmore Park, we were struck by the beauty of the prairie crocus. They were pushing up through the brown dry grasses in a burst of energy, alone or in a crowd, with their blue purple petals, the golden sun at their hearts, securely wrapped in a robe of fur. It was a marvel. I offered the listeners the Blackfoot story of “How the Prairie Anemone got its Fur Coat,” a tribute to how we find refuge and peace in our natural world.