We all have a spirit animal. For Fernie Mountain Mamas it is often the majestic and graceful Gran-Mama. Our saviour. Our calm amidst the storm. Our inspiration. Many people count down the days to Thanksgiving or Christmas. I, however, count down the days to when Nana is coming to town. My mama is visiting Fernie this month and I look forward to seeing my home through her eyes. A new guest offers a new perspective and a break from the norm. My son lights up when he sees his Nana. There is a unique love and bond between them: an inherited spirit.
My mother, too, shines in her grandson’s presence. She feels that they share the same spirit and stage in life: Retirement and infancy. More similar than one might think. Both individuals are free from deadlines, jobs and expectations. Nana and baby are free to immerse themselves in the spirit of the day. Able to venture wherever the wind takes them and nap when needed. Their day is centred around joy, play and curiosity. Not bound by a schedule, they each revel in the gift of free time. Time to explore, observe and wonder. To take in their surroundings and try to make sense of it all.
Nana is a poet and finds her muse in nature. The pair spend most of their time outside, exploring and giving Mom and Dad a much needed reprieve. Nana Susan loves walking and wandering through Fernie with her grandson. Basking in the wisdom of the old growth forest or watching birds take flight along the Elk river’s edge. She describes the Fernie spirit as welcoming and feels that there is a “distinct guardianship of the community and the surrounding natural elements.” The volunteers and champions of this town, who give their time to ensure that the trails are well kept and managed, inspire her. By growing up in Fernie, she trusts that her grandson will inherit the Fernie spirit: a genuine care for the town and its environment. “The animals and the plants can’t do it by themselves. They need protection.” Nana knows that initiating a love for the outdoors will encourage the next generation to preserve it for their children, making the natural world a part of every family.
I’ll leave you with a poem written by my mother, Susan Stenson, when out playing in Fernie.
On top of these mountains
Happiness, high up!
Are you also a Fernie Mountain Mama or GranMama? Please feel free to share your outdoor adventures, family stories and photos by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, or hashtag #ferniemountainmamas to encourage more parents to take their little ones outdoors and share in all the fun that Fernie has to offer.