Sunday, September 29, 2013

So, I shared my words yesterday ... and today, I wanted to share just a few of the pictures to go along with those words.  I have some great ones from this summer, so it was difficult to narrow it down to just a few:
Beautiful Peggy's Cove
Happy to be on the east coast!

Cape Split hike

Cape Breton

No trip is complete without several feet pictures! :)

Cabot Trail
Sunset in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
I love this picture of me and Tamara!  She had just sent a shoe, and then her glasses flying into the waves (both of which were safely retrieved!) - and we had the best laugh over it!  So many great laughs with this girl over the course of the two weeks!


Skyline Trail - AMAZING views!

Camping in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Green Gables - happy to explore in Anne's land!

Sand dunes in PEI

Lupins and red cliffs

Lobster dinner
Confederation Bridge
Hopewell rocks

And a few from the Gran Fondo too:

Team Slywka - heading out for a ride the day before
Up bright and early - and ready to ride!
Blurry picture - but I love this one of us Slywka siblings!

Our awesome fans - they were at several points along the route to cheer us on!

Team Slywka - all together at the finish line!

I can't believe that I haven't written here at all yet this year.  I don't write here for any sort of audience at all, but mostly as a place where I can record some of my thoughts and memories.  So, I guess the fact that I haven't written much means that I've been enjoying living my life, rather than worrying about having to record everything about it.  I remember getting stressed out as a young girl, about feeling the need to record every detail about everything in my journal.  And it just became too overwhelming, so I'd just give up, and wouldn't write anything.  But thankfully, I've outgrown that feeling.  I try to soak up life while I'm living it, taking note of the big and little moments, not so worried about the need to record and remember every little thing that happens.  And then when I do take some time to record things in my own words - whether that be on here, or in a journal, I am always grateful to have those words.  I love looking back through things I've written - and remembering that moment in time, and who I was when I wrote them.  So, all of that is to say that I've been feeling the need to stretch my writing muscles again.  I don't have anything profound to write about - but mostly, I just want to write.

It's been over four years now that I've been away from 'official' school.  Hard to believe, yes.  But in many ways, my mind is still wired to function along to the school schedule.  By the end of April/early May, I am so ready to be done with structure and schedules.  I want very few responsibilities.  I want flexibility.  I want freedom.  I want to just go - to get on a plane or in my car, and head away anywhere to explore.  And this year was no different.  By springtime, I was ready for a change in scenery, and this year, that came in the way of a trip to the Maritimes.  I got to spend two weeks exploring a new part of Canada, along with two of my very favourite people, Tamara & Matthew.  I fell in love with the east coast, and those two weeks ... well, they were just good for my soul.  I needed that time away more than I even realized - the exploring, the conversations, the laughter.  I came back feeling rejuvenated.

Following my east coast trip, I came back to the west, and my summer was full.  Full days at work, yes, but also full of good times and new experiences.  As opposed to last July and August, when I was away in a different place nearly every single weekend, this year, I stuck closer to 'home'.  Instead though, I spent my weekends exploring on my new road bike.  I pushed and challenged myself in preparation to ride in the Gran Fondo Banff at the end of August.  I loved it all, and I can now safely say that I am hooked on cycling! :)

But now, it's fall again.  And by the time fall rolls around, and I've spent my summer exploring and adventuring, I'm ready for a bit of structure again.  I still have the urge to explore - I think I'll always have that, but it's definitely more subdued.  Instead, I find myself more nostalgic - longing for all the places I've lived before, rather than wanting to go to explore brand new places.  I crave knowledge and learning and reading and writing and words.  I want to devour good books and good music.  I want to have deep, meaningful conversations.  These days, my mind feels like it's running a million miles a minute, as I try to take everything in, all of this life in.  I just want to experience it all, soak it all up.

So, that's where I am at these days.  Grateful for the routine of this fall, and some structure again to my days and weeks.  But missing home in Saskatchewan and home in Ontario and home in Estonia and home in all the other places my heart loves.  And yet, I am still always dreaming about exploring.  Restless to go.  Longing for new experiences.  There's always this tension in my heart between the desire to be rooted and the desire to be not rooted at all.  For me, I've been learning to live in the balance between those two desires.  Neither is wrong or right, and I'm learning that I can have both, but maybe just in different ways than I originally thought.  It's an ongoing learning process, for sure.

And to wrap this up, here's some words and thoughts that I found encouragement in tonight.  I was listening to some Andrew Peterson, and some of his lyrics, just really struck me as particularly beautiful.  They speak well to the tension that exists in this life - that this world is broken, and not always easy, and yet through this brokenness, there is always beauty.  Always grace.  I just need to look for it, and take the time to be grateful for it.

Can't you feel it in your bones
Something isn't right here
Something that you've always known
But you don't know why

'Cause every time the sun goes down
We face another night here
Waiting for the world to spin around
Just to survive

But when you see the morning sun
Burning through a silver mist
Don't you want to thank someone?
Don't you want to thank someone for this?

Have you ever wondered why
In spite of all that's wrong here
There's still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?

'Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down

And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother's kiss
Don't you want to thank someone?
Don't you want to thank someone for this?

Now I can see the world is charged
It's glimmering with promises
Written in a script with stars
Dripping from the prophets' lips

But still my thirst is never slaked
I am hounded by a restlessness
Eaten by this endless ache
But still I will give thanks for this

'Cause I can see it in the seas of wheat
I can feel it when the horses run
It's howling in the snowy peaks
It's blazing in the midnight sun