Near and Far

Near and Far
Near and Far
It’s going to be a great day. The promise of the sunny day almost hides behind the clouds above, and the hovering, disappearing ground mist below. However, I don’t stay to enjoy the restricted view.

I travel through the mountains, through the foothills and finally, to the prairie, and enjoy the wide open view of the fields of wild grass or crops of different shades of green, or yellow or golden. I would say blue and you would scoff, perhaps, but in the spring and early summer, the flowering flax shows a field of blue. Or perhaps I’ll see the wild pronghorns racing and bounding across the grassy, rolling landscape.

People from the mountains think the prairie is flat, but it’s not. In southern Alberta, suddenly you come upon a coulee. Its mile-wide bottom might hold a small stream, the sloped sides the parallel borders of what could have been a river of melting glacier at the end of the ice age.

My coulee, the only one of which I have personal knowledge, had an artesian well at the bottom, near the road that crossed it. A friend showed me that you can get fire and water from the same source. The well gave enough water to provide for the several cattle that roamed there. But you could hold a match near the slow flowing water at the end of the spout and a small blue and yellow flame glowed like a gas burner on a stove. Indeed, it was natural gas from the hidden chambers under the earth whose pressure allowed water to flow continually.

My father, whom people thought a little strange when they saw him wandering the coulee, once found dinosaur bones close to the surface of the banks of the coulee. The ones ‘in the know’, when they inspected the site, decided the bones were too weathered to be worthy of excavation. Nevertheless, it was an exciting find at the time in the 1950s.

You can take me out of the prairie, but the wide open spaces still call me.

A response to the August 15th edition of the New West Writers Photo Prompt.

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