Sheltering – A Date Afternoon

Movie? Romantic Restaurant Meal? Friends Over? The options have narrowed; all but essential businesses are shut down and restaurants are curbside and takeout only.

Stay home. Hunker down. Self-isolate. But a drive and a walk in the country? Allowed and when you live in rural Alberta, there are places where chances of running into another soul are slight. Yesterday we did just that and it was a date afternoon that the dogs could take part in, too. A quiet walk in the country.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Not to discourage anyone but the excuse for the walk was to scout a possible wilderness site for a lunch when the weather at last warms up. Yesterday the wind was strong and bitter. Even the 0 to +1 temperature felt cold. We wore out winter coats and were glad of them.

Our drive took us into an area of “heritage rangeland.” It is an arid place where trees are twisted and dwarfed. The wind has scoured the land, scooping out depressions in the sandy soil. The snow and ice persist and the ground is rough. We park and head out, Gary scanning for the best lunch spot that might be out of the wind and exposed to the sun.

The road in…

Our Jack Russell runs eagerly over the rugged terrain, casting for the scent of gophers or mice. There are none but she is not discouraged. My little guy (under 10 pounds) picks his way gamely through the ground cedar, short shrubs, and dead burr plants. Gary spies 2 or three possible sites for our next date afternoon and asks which I prefer. In all honestly, they’re equally bleak. We get back to the truck and the decision is left for another day.

Scruff checks it out.

Glamourous? No. Exciting? No. Costly? No. Date afternoon despite the chill, the desolate landscape, and the wet feet (mine), was still a success. That bitter wind? Cleared the cobwebs and made the cab of the truck warm by comparison. Brown, depressed scenery? Made you appreciate the tenacity of the wildlife that survives; there was plenty of tracks. Sooo… no movie, no candlelit dinner, no visits – but one day soon, a romantic al fresco date lunch. A simple outing to anticipate.

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