Today I drove from Edmonton to Canmore.  That’s nothing new.  I do it all the time .  Today was different.  It was a bright , crisp blue sky and the snow covered mountains were calling so I turned off Highway 2 and drove to Rocky Mountain House so that I could wander back through the foothills to Cochrane and take 1A into Canmore.

If you have ever done that drive you know the vistas are beyond spectacular. The Rockies are majestic and today you can see Mount Lougheed from Sundre.   The road is mostly straight through the rolling hills and the small towns are so typically small town-ish.  I saw one sign that offered hand crafted gun racks and sewing alterations in the same facility.  It was a great day for a drive.

I was on what is known as the Cowboy Trail.  I love cowboys and the idea of cowboys.  The quiet confidence and humility that comes from working with animals on the land tells me that they learn something out there.  There is a rugged individualism with a sense of down home manners and sensitivity that is likely a stereo type.  It could also be a myth.  Who cares.  This is fantasy.  What is for sure is that there is a mystique in those mountains, on those ranches and in those fields that you can’t really find anywhere else.

Today I was reminded of a question I was once asked by a teacher from Hong Kong.  We were at a teachers of gifted children conference ( Not to be confused with a Gifted Teachers Conference) when the subject of attraction to the opposite sex came up.  I walked into a conversation and was asked rather suddenly.  “What kind of man do you find sexy?”  I was a little taken aback because I hadn’t really thought about it but there it was just falling out of my mouth….”There is just SOMETHING about a cowboy…”   I smiled in reply. The debate raged.  Suits were sexier.  Doctors in Lab coats.  Fighter pilots. Sailors on the high seas. Oilmen.  Academics.  Everyone had an answer that worked for them.  It was another example of the individual nature of humans in cultures.

Not sure why that conversation stayed with me but there was a raw emotion attached to it that has lingered.  Driving through the beautiful Alberta Foothills today with the Rockies shining in the background, I thought of cowboys today and it made me smile.  It always does.

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