Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to God's country

I'm a prairie girl at heart. I lived the first nine-and-a-half years of my life on bald flat prairie in a place known as Saskatchewan. People make jokes about it, like "it's won the award for the World's Worst Place to Play Hide-and-Seek, twenty years in a row." But if you read W. O Mitchell's Who Has Seen the Wind and it stirs something in your soul, or you like big sky and very distant horizons, Saskatchewan might be the place for you.

It had been a few years since I've been home to God's country, and a dozen years since we last made the journey to Saskatoon. My godmother's big birthday was in January, a time that's not optimal for crossing the prairies, so her kids decided that a late June Surprise Birthday Bash would be just the thing. And it was. The weather was fantastic, the mosquitoes fewer than in Edmonton, and everything came off without a hitch... almost. Unfortunately, my husband ran into Auntie Jo in the shopping mall near her place... had he stayed in The Source for just a few minutes longer, the two wouldn't have crossed paths. But Auntie Jo spotted him, and said, "What are you doing here??" Lee muttered something about just passing through and that we'd see her at church the next day, and the two parted ways. I imagined Auntie Jo being annoyed that we were in town and hadn't been in touch... but she was too busy feeling bad for not having invited us to her place for lunch! So when she walked in to her Surprise Party, she shook her finger at Lee and laughed, absolutely delighted!

It was a nice reunion of many aunts, uncles and cousins, and we finished the day with a barbeque and sing song at my cousin's house. Our girls met some cousins they hadn't met before, and everyone had a good time. We also managed to squeeze in a little nature time along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River on the weekend, and even got to see that Saskatoon Moon trying to peek through the clouds at one point last night.

It was a happy trip, full of simple pleasures. Saskatoon is a nice little city of about 236,000 souls that's experienced a lot of growth since we last visited. I'll post a few pictures below for the benefit of anyone who hasn't been to Saskatoon in a while... or ever. Including some of my lovely, big blue skies...



A Saskatoon park where we stopped for a picnic, 
basketball, and some tree climbing 
(our younger girls are in the trees to the left)...


A walk along the river below Queen's House...


Wild roses are just as abundant in Saskatchewan as Alberta...


The grounds of Queen's House of Retreat...


Our Lady of the Prairies...


Our girls on the riverbank...


A neat spray park on the Riverwalk... water runs down
both North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, 
in which  kids of all ages play...


If only Saskatoon and Edmonton were this close together!



My favourite bridge...


A slightly warped panorama from the Riverwalk...


A new arts centre/theatre on the edge of the river...


Big skies to watch while driving west again...


Ever present telephone poles and prairie...


Nice to see water in the sloughs after years of drought...


And the few grain elevator sentinels left standing...


I still love Saskatchewan, and all my relatives there!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. I especially enjoyed the reflection on the prairie sky and your reference to W.O. Mitchell and Who has seen the wind.

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    1. We've enjoyed W.O.'s Jake and the Kid, too. And there's just something about vast beauty, skies and land in particular, when it comes to this prairie girl.

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