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    « Ten Oscar Night Reflections | Main | 5 Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't »

    March 03, 2005



    Beautiful Nils. Sounds like a chapter of a new book maybe?

    Although my homwtown is only 2 hours away from my adopted home of PEI, I am taken by and can relate to your reluctant relationship with your home land. Each time I visit home, which is often, the place grows on me one big bix store at a time. It comes down to the people for me. The folks who's souls have left random markings on my memories of a wonderful childhood.

    The 'place' is contantly changing, the folks are much slower to change.

    Take it all in Nils.
    See you when you get home.


    Thanks for the kind words, Cyn, dahling. I'm home ... the story has been kicking around for some time now - I've been at a loss as to what to do with it. So ... I finally said "What the hell, I'll put it in my blog."

    I agree the people are important, but to me, it's also the feel of the land ... the open sightlines, the incredible sky, the smells, the dry wind, everything. It's sense memory, as opposed to fond memories of people.

    Sheryl MacKay used to say that as she got around Moncton on her many driving trips off the Island, she could smell the Island ... the salt air, I guess, but I think there's something about the weight of the air, too. Meteorologists would talk about high and low pressure, humidity, whatever. But the air on the Prairies seems ... I don't know, lighter than air anywhere else.

    Anyway .. as important as people are, there's something about *place* that is magnetic ... at least to me.


    My visits to Ch town have me taking in the faces rather then places on the street. I must confess they are a changin...and I fear, those faces are thinking the same thing about me! :( Rightfully so.


    The 'place' for me, Nils, is so much about the senses. When I'm home I can smell the wharf in Shediac where I spent so much time sailing and beach smell from Parlee.
    And there's something about the feel of that old elevator button in the now Bay, then Eatons store.


    I chuckled one of the first times I took the girls back to the Prairies. They were much younger then, and we went in the fall. They looked out at the fields after their years of living with the red mud of PEI and one said "Dad ... the dirt ... it looks so ... dirty ...!"

    The old Eaton's store in Winnipeg had those ornate elevators with the wrought brass screens. I worked in the warehouse as a teenager. My job (I shit you not) was to break stuff. Eaton's had a policy where they accepted returns regardless of the reason, and some of their suppliers had return policies that demanded the return items be damaged. So, Eaton's hired me to damage stuff. It was in that job where I developed a healthy respect for Fisher-Price Toys. Christ, you needed explosives (or at least a hefty 8 pound maul) to break those suckers.


    Stumbled across your blog through links from another and as a girl born and raised in Moose Jaw, I have to say that reading this gave me chills. Not the -40 Janurary chills, but the 'almost-homesick' chills. I am now in Hong Kong, which is a FAR cry from sleepy little Moose Jaw.

    You are so right in that there is a certain intrinsic beauty to Saskatchewan and that in winter, it takes a special type of person to survive it.

    I have driven the road between Moose Jaw and Assiniboia many a time and there is a hill that leads into a long, windy (as windy as they get in that area) part of the highway and I used to love getting to the cusp of that hill and looking out over the valley.

    Thanks for that story. Made me appreciate home, despite knowing I may never go back.


    You know, Tanya ... in your comment, you say "... leads into a long, windy ... part of the highway ..." and I should have read that as "windy", with the short "i" - as in lots of wind. But something in me KNEW you meant "windy" with the long "i", as in winding along the contours of the land. It's the language of the land, I think - something else that connects us and sets us apart as prairie people.

    You may be in Hong Kong, and tomorrow you may move to England or Australia or Patagonia ... but that stretch of highway between Assiniboia and Moose Jaw will always be there, and you will always know it's there and always know exactly how it feels to come to the crest of that hill and see the world spread out in front of you. So, no matter where you are, you will never be far from home.

    milly in fl

    Beautiful story. I have never been in a land so beautiful, so desolate, so cold. Here in south florida where I was raised, we think of 60 as being cold.

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