Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: wind

You don’t know the wind

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Image by ptra from Pixabay

The title comes from a line in an art book published 25 years ago, titled If you’re not from the prairie . . . The art is by Henry Ripplinger and the poetic text by David Bouchard. Together they evoke childhood in rural Saskatchewan just as I remember it.

Another line in the book says “You’ve never heard grass.” People in other parts of the country know the sound of the wind in the trees. We don’t have many of those on the prairie. I remember warm summer days in my boyhood when I would walk through the pasture and hear the sound of the grass swaying in the gentle breeze.

Another favourite Saskatchewan book is the novel Who has Seen the Wind, byW. O. Mitchell. The description of the boy listening to the sounds made by the wind in the grass is picture perfect, a beautiful example of showing, not telling.

I have travelled across Canada, seen the Pacific in the west and the Atlantic in the east. I have lived in half of the provinces and I know there is wind everywhere. Yet there is something about the wind that blows across the flat prairie with few trees to impede it that speaks to me in a way that tells me that here I am at home.

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Image by sspiehs3 from Pixabay

We don’t enjoy it when the wind blows at gale force for several days. But then, we don’t enjoy it either when it is a hot summer day, the mosquitos are around us like a cloud and there is not even a little breeze to blow them away. For better or for worse, the wind is part of what it means to be a flatlander.

  • If you’re not from the prairie . . . , © 1993 by David Bouchard and Henry Ripplinger. Published by Raincoast Books, Vancouver.
  • Who has seen the wind, © 1947 by W. O. Mitchell. Published by Macmillan of Canada, Toronto.

Summer in sunny Saskatchewan

I hope everybody had a chuckle over the mistake in my last post. Two millimetres a year would come to two hundred millimetres in a century, or twenty centimetres, not two metres. If you look at the post now, you will see that I have corrected the error.

Warm weather was late in arriving this year, but when it came the appearance, and sound, of our yard changed almost overnight. The trees between us and the farm yard next to us have become a dense forest, obscuring any hint that there might be another house and other buildings a short distance from us.  All the birds are back, singing happily in the cool of the morning and evening.

Tuesday morning I heard a loud humming from the caragana trees south of our house. Walking closer to see the source of the sound, I found bees busily collecting nectar from the yellow blossoms which cover the trees. They buzzed around me, but didn’t bother me.

As I walked down the road a marbled godwit circled overhead, loudly announcing my presence. There were ducks on the ponds on either side of the road, frogs conversing loudly, blackbirds singing on the fenceposts and from somewhere I heard a willet and what I think was a grasshopper sparrow.

There are swallows and wrens nesting in the nestboxes in our yard. Godlfinches come to our birdfeeder and sometimes we see a brown thrasher underneath the feeder. Meadowlarks and robins make themselves heard, we think we got a glimpse of a catbird one day. The lilacs are starting to bloom, the strawberry plants are full of blossoms. In short, the beautiful days of summer are here.

There is another aspect of Saskatchewan weather that makes itself felt in summer as well as in the other seasons − the wind. A book published twenty years ago, If you’re not from the prairie . . .*, contains these lines:

If you’re not from the prairie,
You don’t know the wind,
You can’t know the wind.

Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core,
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door.
As children we know when we play any game,
The wind will be there, yet we play just the same.

We had such a wind yesterday, and not being children anymore we didn’t feel much like going out to play.

*If you’re not from the prairie . . . © 1993 by David Bouchard for th poetry and © 1993 by Henry Ripplinger for the illustrations. Published by Raincoast Books.

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