Sunday, September 28, 2008

Perspective and place

I love living on the prairies. Wide open spaces, vast skies, a feeling of openness.

I can breathe here.

My grandma, an artist, said once to me that she loved the mountains but she needed to be able to see what was coming up. She had a sense of claustrophobia if she couldn't see over the next hill. I didn't understand this until I visited Vancouver, and everything thirty feet ahead was a mystery.

Space on the prairies has a different layer of meaning for me. When I think of Europe, I think of the thousands of years that the terrain has been lived on by so many. I could be dead wrong here, but the prairies seem to me less inhabited. Every inch of our space isn't taken up with a person or something wrought by a person; rather, cities are spread far and wide and people are, too.

I imagine that if one could see, for just a split second, all the people who stood in one place in England, that there would be layers and layers of people that had walked the same path over a millenia.

Not so here.

Maybe because the climate is harsh, maybe just settlement patterns and how things carve a niche...whatever it is, although I would love to visit these places, to walk where so many have walked before, I find a certain sense of peace in knowing that the places I spend my time are not so thick with history.

I hope I'm expressing this right. I know full well that people have come and gone where I am. And there may be so many more than the short history that we know of; before continents shifted and things moved, who knows what the patterns were. But of the history that we know, that we understand and can make assumptions about, I know that the difference between, say, London, and Lumsden, are huge.

This becomes something I tend to think about in the fall; as the air cools and the breeze whips the leaves into frenzied patterns. As I think about hunkering down and putting things away and...preparing.

I like to be able to stretch my arms out and close my eyes and feel openness. I think wherever you are from, no matter where you go, that place where you spend formative years leaves an indelible mark on your soul. I know I need this now; that wherever and wherever life leads, I will need to touch down and ground myself here every once in a while.


lotusloq said...

Okay, I just have to say, I love your prose! I enjoyed your comment over on Nathan's blog today because I feel the same and had just blogged about that myself today and thought I'd pop over and see who shared my perspective and wow! What a treasure!

I was going to comment on today's post but thought I'd go ahead and look around first, but when I read this one I just had to stop and give you some kudos! I was moved.

I like the idea of using your blog to practice your writing. Maybe that's what I should do. I've been trying to figure that out myself. It's been a little all over the place.

spinregina said...

the practicing has been great. and the fear comes and goes, but starting to abate. that in itself may be worth it