I take deep breaths throughout the day.

In the morning, walking the dogs in the park across the street, I admire the pine trees with Mount Lady MacDonald framing them and I breath deeply five times. It’s a conscious and slow breath, the feeling of clean mountain air filling my lungs. It helps me center myself in the morning, mornings not being particularly great for me.

At work, periodically, I breath deeply. I do it without thinking, often a heavy sigh with my shoulders slumped and my chest sunken inward. My rib cage expands through my back and then collapses on itself. An email comes from a colleague to tell me something isn’t working properly. A text arrives with a self-appointed “High Priority” issue. Sometimes if I think about it, I’ll sit up straight and breath consciously, but most of the time my mind is preoccupied.

Today I found out a friend has been placed on medical leave for an indefinite period of time. I’m breathing deeply trying to control my emotions and trying again to center myself. I’m looking out the window at the mountains that are still covered in snow and the sun is casting short springtime shadow across gully and ridgeline, over the forests. Below Canmore Wall the crown of an avalanche casts shade on the runout zone. It must have been a big one.

The little things that pick away are mounting. They’re coming in faster with each day and my time for repair and recovery is falling short. I’ve waited out a long, cold winter and then a long, cold spring to find some peace in the warmth of the sun but it isn’t working. I feel weaker everyday. I know this is just “one of those moments”, but if I’m completely honest, when I’m in these moments I wonder which one will be my last.

It’s a perfect day. Warm, mostly sunny. The robins are active and singing, people are out in t-shirts and smiling. There is laughter in the streets and I’m breathing deeply trying to make it last. Trying to absorb it all. I want to help.

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