Archives for 7.19.07

on the week that was

In my last post, I mentioned I was headed to the ferry and to Alberta to take a couple of my kids to camp. A number of events highlighted the trip and I thought them worthy of a post or two…

First, Alberta.

What is there about Alberta that so enthralls me? It is the land of my birth and rearing. Of course I am partial to it for these reasons. If you are not prairie born and raised, you may find my fascination with a mostly flat province a little odd. I have always said that there is nothing wrong with BC that clear-cutting and a lot of dynamite can’t fix! I love the flatlands. The flatlands are not really flat, each long rise of the undulating prairie reveals new and gorgeous vistas. In some places you can see fifty miles or more. There is a spot on the highway home where you can see my home town from over 20 miles away. The effect is best at night, when the lights of the town twinkle in the distance. During the day it is a little harder to distinguish the town in the distance. I am always reminded of the verse, ‘a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid’ when I see my home town twinkling in the distance.

July is the month of harvesting hay all over Alberta. The sight of fields being cut, or cut hay curing in the sun, or fields filled with bales for mile after mile is a welcome and familiar site to me. The smell of freshly cut hay is one that spells summer time and sunshine. Many of the fields of Alberta are sown in canola, in full flower during haying season. Canola fields are a brilliant yellow, stretching sometimes for miles, bordered by patches of green … hay, oats, wheat, barley, whatever… The oats, wheat, and barley will turn golden by the harvest with new vistas spread before your eyes as the summer wanes into fall..

The roads of Alberta are mostly straight and a good many of them are lightly traveled. You can go miles without seeing another vehicle, especially off the ‘main drag’ between Edmonton and Calgary. When I was younger, I put my first car (1972 Dodge Charger, 400 cu in engine) to the test on a lonely stretch of these highways. When I hit 110 mph with my car not straining at all, I decided that was fast enough. I drove over that same stretch of highway on this trip. My more sedate Dodge Caravan wasn’t up to Charger standards (and I am more mature now???). The roads of Alberta invite going out ‘for a spin’ just for the sheer pleasure of driving and looking out over those distant miles. When I was a youngster and began driving, it was nothing for someone to run into Edmonton (90 miles away) for a cup of coffee. The prairies invite such mobility, especially now that we have passed the muddy pioneer days and are in the days of the automobile and paved highways. I suppose people don’t take such larks that much anymore. We even have several coffee shops in my home town these days, even a McDonald’s!

Most people we know rave over the beauty of my current home in British Columbia. But for me, the Alberta countryside beats the Pacific rain forest hands down.

The needs of people are the same in both places. Secular, worldly, and in need of a Saviour. I am not overly partial to the big cities in either place. I am a small town boy, after all. But if I had my druthers, you could bury me on the lone prairie.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3