Good morning, readers, friends, family, stumblers-upon-this-blog!
I just posted the above photo on Facebook with an itty bitty explanation: Magical hike to the Canyon Falls yesterday. Met up with friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. Other hikers met up with old-time friends. Even though it was a bit slippery and snow-covered, the melt is happening and river rushing!
Then decided to write my friend Susan a long email explaining what really happened. You know how you can’t really write what really happened on Facebook in twenty words. In the middle of this crazy convoluted email to Susan another random thought arose. “Jeez, Kathy, if you’re sharing this Susan, maybe one or two other people might be interested in reading it. How about a blog?”
The fingers stopped typing mid-sentence while the head pondered. Finally the fingers flipped over to WordPress and, OK, here’s the rest of the story.
It all started in the Nite Owl restaurant amidst eggs, hash browns and toast. (Oh, goodness, this may be a long story…) A woman sat up at the counter eating, probably, her own eggs, hash browns and toast. (I did not look at her plate, so this is all conjecture.)
Barry asks, “Who is that woman?” Kathy replies, “I haven’t a clue.”
Some of you know that I have a “condition” with an inability to voluntarily call forth images of people, places or things. It also often involves face blindness. My condition is not acute, as I can see images, but mostly involuntary ones. You can read about aphantasia here.
You must understand I can recognize almost everyone seen regularly, and in context. However, make a person out of context or not seen in five years–it’s impossible.
On the way to the bathroom the woman looks up, smiles, and says, “How are you doing, Kathy?”
Oh no. I haven’t yet developed the maturity to calmly explain the aphantasia challenges and lovingly ask who the person might be, so I fake it. We have a sweet tiny conversation about weather and how nice it was to see her again. (Which it truly was. She looked like an interesting person. I was happy to see her–but more like as if it was the first time.)
If you’re a blog reader, dear woman at the Nite Owl, I am so sorry for this!
As we drive toward Canyon Falls, just south of L’Anse, I tell Barry that it is time to mature and just start ‘fessing up when meeting a stranger/friend. Just tell ’em about the face blindness. Be brave.
The short hike into Canyon Falls involved slippin’ and slidin’. Snow measured one to two feet in places, but we walked on the tamped-down snow very carefully, keeping sharp attention on our feet. What a beautiful morning! Temperature hovered around 50 degrees (10C). If we’d hiked any later, our boots may have sunk in slush and snow. Any earlier, and ice might send a soul tumblin’ down.
The rushing river tumbled through the canyon, splashing into yellow-tinted waterfalls. The river paid no attention to its snow-covered parts, continuing its merry melt. We breathed deep in delight. We met a woman with ski poles and admired her forethought. Those ski poles helped keep her upright on the path.
A few moments later the pole-woman met two hikers right behind us. Loud shrieks of excitement! Turns out they attended school together. What a reunion!
I told Barry this was a magical place. A friend once met a woman on this trail who had called the ambulance for her sister–500 miles away. That’s how magical this place can be. (OK, I have decided this on the basis of maybe four stories. But it’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.)
Barry did a photo shoot at the falls before we turned around.
Suddenly a man appeared on the trail.
“Hi Cousin!” says the man.
Cousin? I look the man up and down and around. All three male cousins click through the face-blind brain. This strange man does not seem to fit the remembrance of cousins Troy, Joe or Tom. Perhaps he’s Marty (the husband of cousin Tanz?) Another side story: Mom and I ran into Troy in the grocery store in Yale last month and I did not recognize him. He, too, said, “Hi Cousin!”
However, you will be proud to know, maturity had blossomed since breakfast at the Nite Owl.
“I’m sorry,” said Mature Kathy, “Who are you?”
That’s a terrible thing to have to ask a cousin, but maturity can sometimes win out.
“Bob,” he replies, “Bob Orton!”
I sigh in relief. Bob Orton is a fellow known from the days when I attended Pow Wows in the area. He’s not a real cousin. But ten years ago we decided to announce ourselves as cousins because my grandparents were Ortons. So we have to be cousins somewhere along the line, right?
I explain briefly about aphantasia and face blindness. He tells me his partner, Darlene, is waiting in the truck–where another lovely reunion takes place. (I recognize Darlene’s face.)
We drove back toward home with big smiles on our faces–such a glorious Earth Day filled with magic, snow melting and old friends!