Robins, buds, blossoms and Bow

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, April 6, 2023

Nature’s beauty celebrates return of spring along Bow River. Photos by William Hayes

How beautiful it is to be living in our part of the Bow River valley, and the arrival of spring has to be one of its best promoters. As evidence, all we need is a look at photos by our Cochrane coffee companion, 77-year-old William Hayes.

William loves long springtime walks along the Bow, whether along its north bank from Heartland to Mitford Park, or along the inviting pathways at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Just the other day, for instance, he encountered his first robin of the year perched among freshly budding trees. Below them was the now-ice-free flow of the Bow. And although he hasn’t encountered his first crocus of the year yet, he keeps looking really carefully, encouraged by memories of last April’s crocuses.

William immigrated from Scotland in 1966, already addicted to hiking. Soon after arriving in our parts, and wishing to continue his “lifelong addiction,” he says, he spent five days hiking the Canadian Rockies. “That outing convinced me that this is where I wanted to be.”

Now, after 57 years on trails in our Canadian Rockies, he says he’s “as thrilled today to be outdoors as I was on day one.” And his addiction is stronger than ever. Combining that with his love of photography, and reflecting on his joy in the beauty of our Bow Valley, he says: “What a great pleasure and honour I experience when I can share the incredible beauty of this creation with others” – especially at the arrival of spring.

About his photos in this week’s column? “It is my delight to share Mother Nature’s beauty,” he says. His feelings in these encounters “are sometimes beyond description – thrilled, excited, blessed, joyful, in true awe of Nature.”

In a world with so much staggering Social ugliness these days, and inspired by Mother Nature’s springtime beauty, let’s respond in the spirit of Mother Teresa’s healing words, “Let us do something beautiful for God.” For as Dostoevsky so famously said, “The world will be saved by beauty.”

Oh, and William’s amazing sunset shot from Glenbow Ranch Park? Yes, he did take it mid-winter. But I’m sure it was radiant in its anticipation of the robins, buds, blossoms and beauty of spring soon to bless once more our Bow River valley.

Thank you, William.


© 2023 Warren Harbeck

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