B is for Beadlust, which swept me into a glorious beaded pathway back in 1985. Beads are my passion. Mary, a reader here, sent me a surprise package of beady treasures, which arrived yesterday. Oh heavens, it was grand! I’ve bought beads from traders and in China and in all of Eastern Europe; and bought beads at countless conferences from countless vendors; and bought beads from bead shops in countless states; and bought countless books and magazines about beads… You’d think maybe I’d seen them all. But no! This little package arrives, and beadlust bursts forth as I examine each of the precious little treasures within… all of them new to me… not one of them a duplicate of beads in my more than ample stash. Don’t you just love it!!!! Thank you, Mary!
B is for Bike, which I have, and Biker Babe, which I guess I am. The gentlewoman in me doesn’t like either of these terms and would prefer Motorcycle and Motorcycle Rider. But those words don’t start with B, so for now we’ll go with the vernacular. The picture below shows me with my third motorcycle, a Suzuki 800 Intruder, which I bought in 2004 and have ridden a little over 5,000 miles since. Generally when I tell someone I ride a motorcycle, they will say, “Oh! Do you ride a Harley?” With apologies to Janet and her purring cat, Harley, my response is emphatically, no! I rode on a Harley once as a passenger… one time was more than enough. They are excruciatingly loud, vibrating, testosterone-loaded pieces of junk. Do I have a strong enough opinion on that one?
B is for British Columbia, the westernmost Canadian province. Riding two old (1979) Honda Goldwings and my Suzuki, Robert (husband), Matt (brother), Karen (Matt’s wife, riding as a passenger), and I just returned from a 7-day motorcycle ride through BC and the Jasper-Banff part of Alberta. The second day out, riding from Pemberton to Lilooet, was BC at its scenic best. Here are a couple of pictures from that day.
B is for Beaver. Robert has a special affinity for beavers, and has been collecting Beaver Wood for some time now. Many barkless, tooth-marked branches and sticks with chewed ends embellish our property. They are branches with remarkable history… once a growing tree, then part of a Beaver building project, then washed down some stream into a river, then flowing into the sea, then found by Robert on one of our beaches, and now standing as a reminder of Beaver Wisdom by our front door. As we drove by Green Lake off the Cariboo Highway, Robert noticed some Beaver Work. A few minutes later he pulled to the side of the road and requested that we return to take a better look. And pictures. Of course, a couple of the chips came home in his pockets. Could Beaver be his totem animal?
B is for Beautiful. So many things are beautiful, although many times it’s an inadequate word. For example, if you’ve ever explored the 150-mile Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff, you know what I mean by running out of beautiful and all of its synonyms in the first 3 miles. In 2000, Robert and I (as passenger) did the ride in sunshine. We could not go a half a mile without stopping to snap pictures (film cameras at that time). Our fingers were sore and we’d each shot over 400 exposures by the end of the day. Clearly, it is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. This time, the weather turned early winter with near freezing temperatures, rain, sleet, and even some snow around the ice fields. This is challenging on motorcycles, and requires full involvement on the part of the drivers. Yet, even with that, it was beyond beautiful… the way the clouds wrapped themselves around the mountains, the way the rocks glistened with wet, the way the new snow glowed even under dark skies. Robert (whose passion is photography) took many more pictures than I did, and maybe when he gets them processed I’ll share a few of them. Meanwhile, here is one of mine. As good as any photo may be, the amazing beauty of the mountains, streams, glaciers, fall colors, smells, wetness, snow, straggling wildflowers, and wildlife remains way more clear in my mind than in our images.
B is for Bull Elk. On the grounds of Becker’s Chalet, our lodging near Jasper, a herd of elk has made a nest for themselves over the past year or so. They seem to have no concern whatsoever about all the tourists with their cameras. You can see one of the calves and a cow below. It’s rutting season, so the Bull of the herd was a bit testy, putting his head down and starting a charge toward the camera crowd on several occasions, driving people to hide behind trees or shrubs, or flee to their cabins. The evening of our arrival, a smaller Bull came to challenge Mr. Dude… quite a visual and auditory spectacle! For hours we heard the other-world sounds of them bugling at each other, and sometimes the crash of their antlers. Mr. Dude ran back an forth along the boundary of his turf, in the woods just beyond our cabin, keeping Mr. Intruder to the other side of his cows and calves. Mr. Intruder attempted again and again to get through to the herd, but failed on this day to get past Mr. Dude’s ample rack. I tried to take pictures, but didn’t get any good ones due to the distance (I wasn’t about to get closer!) and the speed of the Bulls.
B is for Back Roads. We love Back Roads, Blue (on the map) Highways with only two-lanes and no traffic, the sounds and smells of wildlife, farms, streams and rural living, the slowed down pace, both physically and mentally. We ride the Back Roads as much as possible. Here is a picture taken just beyond the Washington side of a little-known border crossing, Nighthawk, west of the main highway down the Okanogan Valley. Imagine stopping along a narrow road by a small building, waiting for the one and only customs officer on duty to appear. Not a single other person or car in the vicinity. Sweet!
B is for Birthday. Today my odometer clicked past number 63 to the 64 marker.
B is for Blessings. Sixty four years filled with more blessings than I can count, including you, dear readers! I’m Blessed to have had a Bountiful life so far, with eager anticipation of more ahead and no unresolved regrets.