One of my favourite musicals of all time, Rent, captured my teenage heart during the theatre years. Still to this day I can sing along every word of this beautiful and heartbreaking story. The title song of the musical asks with lengthy and lyrical inquisition, 'How Do You Measure a Year'? It goes on to site daylight, sunsets, midnights and cups of coffee as possible measuring sticks. Since the ripe age of fourteen and the discovery of this insightful question it has been the cause of much banter, late night serious conversation and witty philosophical discussions that end in a stalemate.

The moments I have experienced in my Backroads life are primarily of dramatic nature (a quick glance backwards into the blog archive will tell you so) either heart-pounding, jaw-dropping extreme in joy or discovery, or tear-inducing, heart-clenching, frustratingly awful. This incredible juxtaposition is highlighted typically by radical settings of rural nature, technological break down or some situation were English is not the first language.

Jody, my insightful friend, artist slash nurse that provides me with much of my current philosphoical fuel, told me pre Christmas that the thing she was most grateful for in her Life Outside of Backroads was the enjoyment of the little moments.

"Sure, you're not sitting sharing a beer watching the traffic in Hanoi," she tells me, between thoughtful sips of coffee, "but what you're sharing are small and tiny moments that are beautiful in their own way, their own light. Things like having a cup of tea in your sweat pants, lingering in bed on a Saturday morning or an afternoon to share with someone where you can window shop and walk around in the sunshine. Those are beautiful moment too, they just aren't radical moments we've become accoustom to inside the paradigm of our working trip leading lives."

I am finding myself situated in Calgary having an abundance of these small pockets of time of influence and impact, shocking to me after having so many 'time-almost-stopped' moments while travelling.

I am unwrapping my chop sticks, laughing and sharing my life with a family I didn't even know existed four months ago.  I am walking near the water close to Hillary and my condo, I can still see small pockets of ice and snow hanging on the grassy shore until the final puff of winter is gone. A blonde curly haired girl and a new friend from San Francisco sit at the Best Diner in Calgary and share eggs and life lessons. An impromptu kitchen dance session breaks out to Don Henley's Dirty Laundry while Mexican is cooking.

These moments are my measuring sticks, finding happiness in all kinds of small and unexpected places...
and in case you were wondering, the answer to the first question initially posed by the musical Rent is Love. Measure your life in Love.