Following the light

Instagram gives me severe fomo. With each scroll down, I add new destinations, activities and experiences to my ever-growing list of things to see and do. Every so often, I’ll invite Roger to share in my panic as it threatens to bubble over. But, as ever, he calmly assures me that we have lots of time to explore. Why doesn’t he understand?!

Each time I open Instagram my list grows exponentially! We’ll never be able to keep up. There’s Aurora Borealis-chasing in Iceland; reindeer sledding in Finland; roughing it in a log cabin in upstate New York; an island holiday in the Caribbean; experiencing arguably the world’s most breathtaking views in Banff, Emerald Lake, Peyto Lake, Jasper National Park, Nova Scotia, British Columbia. And, closer to home, there’s learning to ski, ice skate and snowboard, tubing downhill in winter, stand up paddle boarding and tubing down the river in summer, and camping in every beautiful National park within a few hours of our home. And we haven’t even started on the maritimes or the territories!

We haven’t been sitting idle though. We take every opportunity to experience as much of Canada as we can. It may not be ice fishing on Crystal Lake, or dog sledding in the Yukon, but we have been getting out there. Just last weekend we packed the kids into the car and drove over an hour north. There’d been reports of strong electromagnetic activity that would make the Aurora Borealis visible from areas in Southern Ontario. Although we were just slightly south of the visible band, I thought we had to try. We will never see the Northern Lights from our couch! And, worst case scenario, we would get to see some pretty magnificent stars. I couldn’t sit still at the thought of being able to try out our new DSLR camera. I’ve been playing around with it and doing some online tutorials, but I really needed something out of this world to photograph.

We checked our emergency survival kit to make sure we had enough blankets, water, snacks, extra gloves, hats and scarves. Then we bundled the kids into the car and … set off to the car wash. That’s right – at 8:15 on a Friday night we were sitting in a line of about 6 cars waiting our turn to get under the sprays. For those who aren’t familiar with driving in snow and on salted roads, they create a lot of mush. The melted snow and ice and dirt creates a brownish gray clay-like substance that sprays up from the roads and coats your car – all over. If you don’t take good care of your car and wash this gunk off regularly, your car begins to rust. It’s such a thing here in winter, that you get car-wash season passes.

With with twinkling stars reflecting off the car, we hit the streets and headed north, our spirits as high as the kids’ voices as they sang and yelped in the backseat, beyond excited for their adventure. As I slipped my earphones in my weary ears, I noticed, with a sinking heart, that the clouds were blowing in. Never mind, I thought. It may still be clear in Elmvale. So we continued our drive, me enjoying another My Favorite Murder podcast, Roger ‘enjoying’ the kids’ singing as they shared the songs of their people.

As the kilometers sped by, the children quieted down and eventually passed out. Roger and I, noticing the desire to slam our heads against the dashboard had abated, realized the kids had fallen asleep. Aurora Borealis or not, sleeping kids is a win in itself! We arrived in Elmvale to find a completely overcast sky. Not a single star could be seen, never mind the Auroras. We drove to a nearby park, away from the bright lights, just to make sure. Then we turned around and headed back home.

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