Alberta is in my blood.
Bone-chilling winters and sluggish springs, hesitant to begin, are the heritage of my
Canola fields in bloom remain printed behind my eyelids and the scent of mud and
growing things, released from a prison of snow, lingers with me still.
Dusky summer evenings are filled with the bark of foxes, shy deer nibbling grass and
a stubborn sun that refuses to set. Eternal sunshine marks these long summer days.
Filled with these nutrients, the rich, black, soil produces a bounty to all who seek it.
God, I miss that smell of dirt, the scent of growth and greenery, a short season gone
High above, on the heels of summer, wild geese fly south, honking a plaintive song
that sounds like nostalgia and a desire to hold fast to these fleeting days. Inspired by
the sound of fall, the leaves begin to change. Jewel bright, the birch and poplar
leaves turn yellow, purple, red. Knit between the rows of evergreens, they set the
prairies on fire. Light becomes more rare, the days shortening as winter approaches.
Mornings sometimes begin with a lace of frost on newly fallen leaves. Not too much
longer and the first snowfall will be here, a joyous blanket softening corners
and blunting edges. On those days it’s a privilege – and a travesty – to leave the first
Perfection is marred.
Quiet as a cathedral, it’s strange how hushed and reverential snowfall makes the
world. Reversing the summer light, darkness is winter’s hallmark in Alberta. Shadows
begin to fall when afternoons are still young, reaching out greedy fingers to steal the
sun and then not releasing her until well into the day. Trees become bare as bones,
the landscape harsh. Unforgiving. Vernal equinox seems a lifetime away.
Whiteness is how I remember this place. Xerographically printed on my mind, it
seems. Years later, and I still recall, so quickly, the way sunlight blinks on snow,
sending blinding diamonds of light ricocheting in all that open space. Zeus himself
couldn’t produce so blinding a lightning bolt, or so that is how I remember my