Quintessential Prairie

Last Sunday, I went for a photo tour southeast of Calgary.  I grew up on the prairies, and when I was in grade school, a poem called “If You’ve Ever Lived on the Prairies” by Marjorie Dingwall was popular in the poetry recitation classes at the local music festival.  I can’t find the poem on the internet today but can tell you that Marjorie McVittie Saunders Dingwall was born in about 1899 and was “an Edmonton clubwoman whose mother established the local chapter of the I.O.D.E.; employed before marriage in public library; married to local manager of Dominion Bridge Co.” (http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/author/7096.html?rank=1).

I’ve lived in British Columbia for about four years and there’s something about the prairies “that will never let me go”.  Maybe it’s the wide open space where it feels like my mind can expand and my soul came soar.  Maybe it’s the light–there’s not much for golden hour in more vertical regions where the hills and mountains block the precious low-angle light.  Maybe it’s the glorious blue sky stretching from one unimpeded horizon to the four points of the compass, or the summer storm clouds marching in from miles away, then casting spears of virga down through the dry atmosphere (never mind the sunsets).  Maybe it’s the way the wind whispers in the grassy summer ditches, and etches snow into sculptures in winter.  Maybe it’s the way, when you cycle across Canada, that you judge a telecommuncations tower to be a couple of kilometres away, but you pedal for the better part of an hour and finally reach it 20 km later.   Maybe it’s the nostalgic relics of our pioneer past, when hard work didn’t involve squinting at a computer screen and connectivity meant gathering with your neighbours at Sunday services, barn-raisings, and quilting bees.

Maybe it`s every one of these things.  And plenty more.


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