Second sip refreshes the soul

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 16, 2021

Cochrane artist/photographer Dawn Piche captures radiant early-morning sun rising above Riverfront Park, etching the landscape in hoarfrosted splendour and serving a cup of light to an uptight soul. Photo by Dawn Piche

While I was behind the wheel the other morning, December’s horizon-hugging sun did it to me again – right in my eyes! It reminded me of a similar moment I wrote about five years ago. Let me revisit my column for Dec. 8, 2016.

IT WAS A NASTY first sip of light for me that day. But it wasn’t until the second sip that I realized just how great a cup of light it really was. Yes, my first sip was rather bitter, but I soon realized it wasn’t the cup of light that was bitter, but yours truly.

Around 8:45 that bone-chilling –14-degree morning I took my first sip. I’d already grumbled my way through scraping the frost off our car’s windows.

My grumbling only got worse as I drove south on Hwy 22, across the Bow River, and started up the long hill toward James Walker Trail. As the highway bent toward the southeast, how I’d longed for some clouds. But no such luck! It was one of those amazing sunny Alberta moments, and the sun, barely above the horizon, hit me right smack in the eyes. Our sun visor was useless, and the driving was no fun!

Well, that was my first sip of light, a bitter sip on a bitterly cold morning.

About the same time, Cochrane artist Dawn Piche was driving to work. (See her watercolour Rainbow over Cochrane in my Feb. 18, 2016 column.) She didn’t realize it then, but she was about to tempt me with a second sip from that same cup of light. I’ll let her explain.

“I noticed mist rising off the Bow River and could not resist taking a closer look. It was at Riverfront Park east of the Highway 22 bridge. There is a small body of ice-covered water that just happened to capture a wondrous moment in time.”

The sun was just above the horizon, posing perfectly for a photo amidst the glittering fairyland setting. Even her camera got in the act.

“My smartphone camera created a phenomenon with the sun’s rays (lens flare, a happy surprise),” she says. “Hoarfrost was clinging to the grasses and brush etched in shadows. My heart smiled at the sight of some mysterious creature’s foot prints crossing the lightly snow-dusted pond.

“It was a sensory overload that took my breath away and warmed my soul with a renewed knowingness of my connection with the universe. All I can say is YES! And Thank You for this life and where we live. I had forgotten about the cold until I reluctantly returned to my vehicle to proceed with my day, my toes tingling, again acknowledging that I am alive.”

When later that morning Dawn shared her photo with me, I knew I had just been treated to a second sip from that cup of light – and indeed, it was anything but bitter, as you can see for yourselves.

Thank you, Dawn, for refreshing my uptight soul with that second sip. What an amazing cup of light!


© 2021 Warren Harbeck

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