A wonderful video:

Breathe In, Breathe Out

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The Road Less Travelled

Submitted by Lori Wikdahl
I was honoured when asked to do this guest blog, but was uncertain at the same time.  Do I have anything to say about anything?

As a person I am a painter, a parent and grandparent, an MS patient.  I am a walker who over the years has been blessed with feeling a part of the natural world I found myself walking in.

I lived in an area surrounded by wetlands for over a environment my heart longs for still, though I relocated three years ago.

I have talked to eagles, chatted with otters and been splashed by beavers.  I have enjoyed the banter of swans and the aerial antics of ducks and geese.  I short, I have found countless cherished memories I would never had experienced had I not ventured down roads less travelled.

I am a solitary soul.  An extroverted introvert as my aunt says.  Perhaps that was why it was so easy to lose myself out there for hours on end, just watching life and being;  the sights and sounds so awesome that I didn't want to leave.

My grandson and I have saved struggling salmon during the spawn and once watched cormorants fishing.  One time we camped out on the slough and the beaver scared the dickens out of us when they came on shore late at night to eat.  We've laughed at turtles fighting for spots in the sun and watched bears swimming to get blackberries.

Once I started down memory lane, there were so many of them I got lost.  The most important memory though is the beginning of the journey.

I was living at the end of the road, hopeless and despairing, feeling like a second hand person.  I was looking for an end to life.

Then God gave me a another chance.  He gave me second hand puppies.  They made me get up;  they made me get out of bed.

Like Aldous Huxley in the Doors of Perception, I found I was losing myself in the Universe around me.  My experience was not the result of mind-freeing mescaline taken in a rose garden, but rather lifesaving escapism from my pain and despair.  I'm convinced these experiences helped to save my life.  Death by misadventure kept getting put off 'until tomorrow'.

Once I began walking, my dogs and I spent hours and hours out and about on secondary roads.  Dyke roads, quarry roads, old highways and country roads.  The flora and fauna mesmerizing and mystifying me at every turn.  I lived for getting lost in life.

One of  the most amazing things I remember was the day the tide was super high;  the water in the slough smelled briny and brackish.  The dogs and I were taking a break when a seal swam by.  We were entertained for over 90 minutes as the seal swam about eating fish, playing and spying on us.

Thanks to those second hand puppies who became my best friends and companions for a decade . . . Rancho, Candy and I experienced the essence of life and I was able to share that in turn with my grandson and then my granddaughters.

My second chance at life came from needing to be loved and needing to love.  To feel connected to something.  Rancho and Candy needed the same thing.  God blessed us all.

The wetlands of the world are disappearing under development, and the rates for dogs in shelters grow daily throughout North America.

The diversity of life contained in a wetland and the essential service it provides for all species cannot be overlooked.  If you can visit one, please do.  You will get an opportunity to see an integral part of nature in action.  If you can join a conservancy group, do it.  Your membership fee alone goes towards helping them help nature, which is powerless against the human machine.

Wildsight, a conservancy group at is holding their first annual Bird Festival here in the Creston Valley in May, 2013.  Their website outlines the program.

If I could, I would take in every dog who needs a home.  Unfortunately, I cannot.  If you can help a local animal welfare agency, please do.  Even a bag of dog food goes a long way.  I go every day to the site to click and give animal food to shelters. Clicking 20 times a day gives 12 bowls of food.

Everyone and everything deserves the best chance in life, and we are all responsible for making it happen.  I'm happy to do all I can.  Already getting lost in nature . . . how about you?

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Our wonderful planet is a continuous miracle.


  1. I believe nature is the most powerful healer for us and reminder of the interconnectedness of all things. Where there is connection, there is strength! Thanks for reminding me of that with this blog!

    1. It's a true gift, isn't it Susan, for those who open it.

  2. another fascinating look into a friend and a person I have great respect for. Your story brought back memories that I really enjoyed reliving.

    1. Amazing woman, wonderful read.

  3. Wonderfully written Lori, you write with such vision and clarity that I could almost smell the warm summer air combined with the odors of the wetlands. These diverse ecosystems definitely are in danger of disappearing and we must all do our part to protect them and the many plants, birds and animals that depend on them for survival.