Sunday, 4 August 2013


Yesterday was the long and tedious drive across that vast open land we call the Canadian Prairies. It's a tremendous stretch of farms and fields where the major variation is nothing but the weather. The drive takes hours and hours passing farm after farm, interrupted by small hamlets clinging to the side of the highway, their economies driven by local agriculture and the odd tourist stopping by, curious to see the small museum or the old grain elevator.

The drive took me from Calgary along the Trans-Canada Highway through the southern parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the latter province named for the South Saskatchewan River flowing through it. The name of "Saskatchewan" is taken from the Cree word "kisiskāciwani-sīpiy", meaning swift flowing river. Personally I think it really means "Holy crap, there's a lot of empty space out here!" The only breaks in the slow, rolling landscape are the high, towering grain elevators, the new shiny steel ones, and the odd potash mine.

Hour upon hour passed. The drive from Calgary to Regina took over six of them; my nap and food break took another. At Regina I made a hard left to head northwest, nearly reversing my direction, following a check-mark shaped path, to head north to Saskatoon, once again a Cree word, like the province's name, this one referring to the velvet coloured berries that grow along the river banks and in the plains, the aptly and famously named Saskatoon berry. The drive from Regina to Saskatoon is another two and a half hours of open, mostly flat prairie along a highway once again interrupted only by the occasional small town or moose crossing.

Here in Saskatoon I spent the evening with a long-time friend, a man whom I have seen grow from teenaged youth to a dedicated father and family man. He is a decade younger than me yet he too has been through the challenges of raising children into teenhood and now faces the work of ensuring those teens survive into adulthood themselves. We had a terrific evening comparing notes about how our respective divorces worked out, how our children had grown and were growing, and how our lives were changing.

In the end it is friends and family that make life worth living. Family are the friends you don't get to choose. The bonds in family are deeply intertwined, holding together through time and space, keeping you linked to your heritage and history. When all else falls away, family remains. Friends are precious because you choose them, even more precious because they choose you. Friends may come and go in your life; true friends go and come back. For this I am grateful.

1 comment:

  1. SO sad honey. Your life is sad now.
    love and love