It’s a cruel habit that time has: speeding up when you are doing something you love.
It seems like just yesterday that we took our first (slippery) steps along the Bruce Trail in Queenston…….. (sound of a time warp as we travel back five years)…….
September 2012: An email was sent out to a group of hardy adventurers, offering them a seductive experience they would not be able to resist:
Are you looking for some excitement in your lives? Perhaps a thrilling weekend getaway or a love affair that lasts several years? An opportunity to feel young, vibrant & energetic?
Then let me introduce you to…. Bruce!
Bruce is handsome and rugged, strong and silent. Bruce has many moods, all of them enticing. Bruce will challenge you and energize you.
As many of you know, I have a long-held dream to hike the entire Bruce Trail. As it is now inescapably obvious that I am not getting any younger, I would like to get hiking now! The plan is to hike a section on one Sunday per month, throughout the year (winter hiking is awesome!). Obviously, the whole trail (885 km) will take several years.
You are invited to join in this project if it appeals to you. You can hike some or all of the trail as it suits you. The requirements are that you have a pair of sturdy shoes, an adventurous spirit, don’t mind sweat, bugs and rain, and are prepared to fall in love…. with Bruce!
I would like to organize a planning meeting for those who are interested, at my place, some night after supper. September 24 and 26 are possibilities. Let me know which date is best.
P.S. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested. Bruce can handle many women at once!
Over the ensuing five years, we doubled our numbers, recruiting new hikers wherever we could: symphony concerts, family reunions, sipping wine at a New Year’s party, huddled around the office photocopier. We wore out socks and boots, broke out in poison ivy, got accused of hot tub vandalism, sampled B&Bs all over the escarpment, and endured every type of weather known to humankind! It was all so good!
I had grown to believe that the trail was infinite, that we could continue forever with blissful weekends in the company of great friends and beautiful surroundings.
But the Trail has an end and we were about to meet it. This prompted me to reflect on the past five years and how this journey has transformed our lives.
It occurred to me that there are certain things that all people want in their lives. Across the world and through time, people have always sought things that fulfill us, nourish us, and reaffirm our shared humanity.
We want to be safe and to be loved. We want a place where we belong. We want to share our lives with others, especially the things that bring us joy and meaning. We like to know that there are others in this world who share our values. We enjoy feeling connected to nature. We want to be healthy and strong and happy. We would like to be surrounded by beauty. And we wish to be part of something that is bigger than our individual selves.
How fortunate we are, to find one pursuit that provides all these benefits:
Within the Limestone Ladies, we are safe and cared for and have a sense of belonging. We are part of something so much bigger and older than ourselves: a timeless energy that has propelled explorers and pilgrims and wanderers to seek the wonders of unknown places and the wisdom of the journey.
What is miraculous to me is that there was no rule book or recipe for this to happen. It was the alchemy of the group that created this special gathering. As time went on, each one of us poured her own talent and energy into the group and we grew stronger and richer.
Some creative hikers composed an original song for us to sing as we marched into Tobermory. At the trail’s end, we were met by a lovely couple from the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club. They did not recoil from our singing! They welcomed and congratulated us with a speech and kindly presented us with our Peninsula end-to-end badges. More than a few Ladies developed a case of the snuffles as we contemplated the significance of the moment.
So, we find ourselves at the end of something wonderful. Something that exceeded all expectations and has enriched our lives. But it’s not really the end. The Limestone Ladies will carry on and the Bruce Trail will still beckon hikers to discover its allure, so all that is ending is the intersection of the two.
Thank you Bruce, for fulfilling the promise of five years ago. You really did challenge us and energize us, charm us and delight us. You made us stronger, healthier and more resilient. You gifted us with new friends and time spent with old friends. Your blessings are abundant.
And it did turn into a love affair – a five year long love affair… with Bruce!