It was just one of those invitations I could not refuse.
My beloved thinks I’m crazy, or at least a little weird.
“You’re going to do what?” C.C. asked when I told him about the invitation and my response.
“It’ll be fun!” I told him.
“And you think this is a great birthday gift?”
I do. I do.
Yesterday, my ‘tall’ daughter CJ (she’s actually the daughter of my dearest friend JD but, she’s so wonderful, I like to claim her as mine too!) and her partner, J, called to wish me happy birthday. Towards the end of our conversation, they threw in the idea that maybe, just maybe, I’d be interested in helping out in the kitchen at Mount Engadine for a couple of days.
“That would be the most amazing birthday gift ever!” I told them.
“You’d consider doing it?” J asked incredulously.
“Yup!” I enthusiastically replied.
After chatting with the general manager of the Lodge, I said, “Count me in!”
J is one of two chefs at the Lodge. Due to some paperwork issues with his landed immigrant application, he’s unable to work at the moment. It’s put a great deal of pressure on his co-chef at the Lodge who has worked two weeks solid and needs to get away for a couple of days this week.
Hence the invitation.
Cover off for the other chef for two days in the kitchen at Mount Engadine Lodge.
All the professionals they’ve tried are tied up.
I’m the only person they know who a) loves to cook, and b) isn’t phased by cooking for large groups of people. In this case, it’s only 14 – heck our Christmas dinner will be more than that!
For me, it is a dream come true.
I love the backcountry. I love mountain lodges. I love to cook. And, I get to help J out as he is feeling stressed by the fact he is causing undue hardship on his employer and the team.
I leave today.
I’ll be back Thursday afternoon.
Which means, I’ll see you Friday!
I’ll be shadowing the chef for dinner tonight and then… on my own for the next two days.
Colour me over the top excited. I get to bake bread. Bake cookies. Make dinner and breakfast and stretch myself by cooking for strangers in a remote mountain setting.
And I smile as I write that as the critter’s voice awakens and whispers (okay screams), “Are you kidding me? This is crazy even for you Louise! You are not a chef. You’ve never been in charge of a professional kitchen, especially in the mountains and cooking at altitude. Seriously? That’s way outside your comfort zone. And btw. Did you notice you turned another year older yesterday? You’re too old to be doing this.”
I breathe deep into my belly. Gently move my conscious awareness from the centre of my brain, where it likes to hang out and pass judgement on pretty well everything I do, down into my belly. I ask my deep knowing self, “When you let go of judgement, fear, worry, what feels most alive right now?”
The critter hisses, “Staying home where you belong!”
I gently invite the critter to ‘BACK-OFF!”
Okay, that wasn’t so gentle but honestly, sometimes that critter can be sooo annoying!
I breathe deep into my belly again. The critter breathes with me. As I sink down into being present in this moment, as I move into my inner knowingness, the critter’s fear opens up to the possibility that this adventure might be fun! It might even be good for me because stretching and doing things outside my comfort zone makes the most of my experience of life. It’s where I feel myself come alive.
I am off to cook at Mount Engadine Lodge for two days. It’s a beautiful place nestled in the Kananaskis mountains, 35km from the closest town. And while many years ago I helped out in the kitchen at Mount Assiniboine Lodge and cooked at Selkirk Mountain Lodge for a work crew, I’ve never taken on a kitchen in the Rockies all by myself.
It promises to be an adventure!