In which I came from pioneers

I can’t help myself. I reach out to touch the wood, to feel the roughness beneath my fingers.

What’s that old passage of Scripture? The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing.
Truth. To my bones, I feel it.
How can you not drink it in? How can you stand here and be unmoved?

I’m on a hill above the Fraser River. We can see in every direction. My feet are on the ruins of an old mission. The wind is whipping my hair, stinging through my sweater. My eyes are watering and my breath is caught.

I can hear my children, running in front of me, laughing. I close my eyes.
This is home.

I love to travel, to see old things, to spend my days in history and stories. I’m an unabashed history lover, craving abbeys and castles, museums and cobblestones. But this new country is where my soul finds home, rest.
I am the descendent of pioneers, the ones that came to the furthest points of the newest country. And then I came further west.
It must be their fault, these farmers and miners, these seekers of adventure, these horse riders and home builders, these writers and drunks, preachers and truck drivers. I can’t seem to find my footing anywhere but Canada. The soil of heart is rich with the new world.
I was raised on the edges of wheat fields, in flat lands with enormous skies. Even now, twenty years since I left the prairie, I ache for it still.
Now I am here, next to the ocean, surrounded by mountains. It rains all winter long, the grass is always green, even under the snow, the air in springtime is perfume. There are trees that are pink, a heavy aromatic perfumed pink, lining every street.
It’s the youth of it. It’s the untouched, never ending glory of it. Even when I am in the midst of a metropolitan urban centre, I am less than a hour away from total isolation and quiet.
I can easily see the rising of the moon, the waning of it. The sun setting into long and low clouds, iridescent in pinks and oranges. I feel this ache, right under my ribs, clutching my lungs when the sun is setting behind pine trees, their inky black branches etched like lace against the sky.
I can’t be anywhere else. I need this like breathing. I feel claustrophobic on islands. Sluggish and stupid in hot weather. I need space, I need wind, I need big sky. I need the west, I need Canada.
We have wilderness, real true wilderness. It satisfies some part of me that needs the space, needs the quiet, needs the cold, the bracing wind. The skies here are my cathedral, the place I can worship with freedom.
It feels like a glimpse of wisdom.
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  • mylestones

    Just beautiful, Sarah.

  • Mary

    I feel similarly about California. I miss it so much….

    On a lighter note…as Peggy Hill says (King of the Hill): “Canada…not just America’s Hat!”