We have gathered our first day at a Franciscan retreat center outside Cochrane, Alberta. We have already shared stories, food, good cheer, plans for the journey, and a sunset over the Rocky Mountains which span the horizon, almost ghostlike in a gray mist, dark shadows that suggest HUGENESS.
I am grateful for this good company.
Tomorrow we head into the mountains, to the Columbia Icefields, the origins of the Athabasca River, Alberta’s longest. I was there once before – 40 years ago. I am already aware that the glacier has receded significantly since then. But it will be glorious to see again in any case. Tomorrow night we will shelter at a wilderness hostel on the river, pretty rustic, no running water or electricity, and undoubtedly some other interesting travelers.
The signs of the Calgary’s enrichment by way of the oil industry is obvious. Around Cochrane, population is growing quickly. A new very dense high-end housing development comes right up to the edge of the Franciscan property and one wonders what this beautiful open land will look like in another 5-10 years.
And so the pilgrimage begins in earnest tomorrow morning. Look forward to sharing it with you. Please share this blog link with your friends, communities, and networks.
For my own thoughts as this journey begins, check out this essay on my own project blog, Spirituality and Ecological Hope.