We are vacationing in Banff, Alberta.
To our family, the most beautiful little corner of the world.
Smelling the sun-baked pines as we hike.
Tasting the pure, clear water.
Renewing our up-close-and-personal relationship with the mountains and all things forest.
It is our 22nd year at the Rocky Mountain Resort.
Our family was raised here.
Our kids learned to swim in that pool.
Lob tennis balls across the net in that court.
Work out in that gym.
Follow those trails.
Paddle down that river.
Wonderful, sunny, happy times.
Anticipated throughout the year.
Enjoyed fully and completely.
And given a fond farewell until the next time.
This year is a bit different.
Many of our kids are here.
With their kids.
Our little two-bedroom apartment has, of necessity, grown to three similar-sized units.
With a different family filling each one.
There is much scurrying down the porch or across the bridge to the other apartments.
Much giggling and laughter as the cousins play together.
Movie night takes up one entire living room/dining room/kitchen.
Just to accommodate the excited little watchers.
And we fill the pool.
One of our granddaughters, aged five, is just learning to swim.
For the first time, she announced that she no longer wanted to wear a life vest.
I was standing at one side of the pool as she swam to me from her mother on the opposite side.
“Kick your legs!” I called to her.
She swam furiously, finally touching my hands and standing up.
Glowing with accomplishment.
And quite suddenly, I was remembering saying and doing the exact same thing with her mother and aunts and uncles.
In the exact same spot.
I'm sure it was just yesterday.