When we arrived here, I told Maeve and Fiona: Look out the window. The thing you will notice about the prairie is that the sky is very big.
Oh, the big, big sky. How I have grown to love this land here, with its rolling patchwork flatness and the big, vast sky above. At this time of year, in a wet July, the colors are striking and vibrant: the green, green fields of oats and barley and the gorgeous, bright yellow of the canola. The lines between the fields, and where the roads cross, are crisp and neat. In the distance one can see busy highways, with cars and trucks floating past, but here on this road it is quiet. I can see the skyline of Edmonton, its downtown not quite twenty miles from this place.
We went running this morning, Greg and I. We ran out the road, the straight, straight road, breathing in the delightfully dry air. It rained lightly on us and the temperature was mild. It was such welcome relief from the humidity and terrible heat of the Northeast we’d just left. We passed the old farmstead where Greg’s mother grew up, where only the dairy barn remains of the original farm of her youth. We ran over railroad tracks and past a canola field that had been battered last week by a hailstorm. The plants lay sideways, flowers still a blinding yellow against the grayish, rainy sky. Everything here looks beautiful to me.
I can imagine so easily, being here, how somebody who had lived here for a lifetime would find the heavy, green walls of forested New England incredibly claustrophobic. While I love the dense woodlands of my home, I am awed and freed by the incredible, sweeping beauty of the prairie. I feel grateful to have married into a family who calls this land home, so that I have had the opportunity to learn to love this place.
There was a time in my life, before the arrival of children and the beautiful, beloved chaos of the life I now call mine, where I found coming here dull. I didn’t know what to do with the space: both the physical space, of being remote and removed, and the space that the was simply time: it was being away from a hustle and bustle of my daily life. I cherish this now. I can sit here, I can write, I can read a magazine, I can watch my children play cards, and read to themselves, and there is no hike to be hiked, no odd job to do, no chickens to feed. It’s just me and the big sky, and the peaceful air, and I am very content.