Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Winter Sunday

High on my list of favorite winter activities is a bike ride on a quiet gravel road on a cold, sunny day. 

Here are a few pics from the loop ride Val and I did west of Leduc on Sunday, starting at old Gnadenthal Lutheran Church, on the corner of RR 261 and TR 494.

What seemed, at first glance, to be a barren and desolate landscape turned out to be full of life. The many dogs of Leduc County were excited to see us; they greeted us enthusiastically. Only one gave us an actual scare, sneaking up on us in full stealth mode, not alerting us to his presence until he was on us. But even he was in too good of a mood to actually go through with anything menacing.

More surprisingly, we encountered no less than three horseback riders clopping down the middle of these country roads. Apparently we aren’t the only ones who enjoy a winter Sunday ride. 

But in the end it’s the sun--weak-ass as it is, barely able to peek over the trees by mid-afternoon--that makes a winter ride more than just pedalling. That muted light hitting the frost in the trees and the snowy fields or the glare off ice patches on the road or a country church spire--that’s the magic of this time of year.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Pit Stops: Lady Embalmer Park

In the heart of what we in Crestwood call “The Church District,” a two-block residential area with five churches (Catholic, United, Apostolic, Seventh-Day Adventist, Christian Reformed), sits a tiny parklet that I call Lady Embalmer Park.

It’s on 148 Street, just south of 99 Avenue, tucked into a large green space. There’s a cairn and two benches. A plaque on a cairn explains that Isabelle Connelly (1879-1963) was a pioneer teacher, community worker, and the first licenced lady embalmer in Alberta. LEP is directly across the street from St. John’s Catholic, which is not surprising, given that, as the plaque informs us, Connelly was awarded an honour by none other than Pope Pius XII (apparently a big fan of embalming, in general, and lady embalmers, in particular).