Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Home is where the heart is.

This is where I live.

On the Pacific Coast of Southern British Columbia. Surrounded by mountains, and evergreen forests, ocean, beaches, rivers and lakes. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Mild in the winter, but enough snow on the mountains for skiing. I've lived here since I was nine years old, and love it here. But since my trip to the Prairies this summer I realize that, as much as I love my mountains, they pen you in. They trap the clouds in, making for weeks of gray weather at a time. They trap in smog and noise. I live in a relatively small city of 63,000. Nestled between rivers and mountains. Small enough to be cozy and friendly yet still has all the amenities I need. Also known as Horse Capital of Canada, my town is surrounded by farms and ranches.

This is where I would love to live.

I went here for the first time this summer. The southern Canadian Prairie. As soon as we drove down from the hills into the flat expanse of grasslands, I felt a change come over me. I felt my spirit move in this opennesss. I felt free and unburdened. A strange sense of peace and belonging washed over me and stayed with me the whole time I visited there. I felt that THIS is where I belong. Being able to see right out to the horizon in all directions is so liberating. I felt like I was on an ocean of green. The only sounds around are the soft wind blowing over the grass, the birds and the bees. The air smells so clean and sweet. The town I really loved had a population of just over 600, most of those spread out over rural area. You can't even see your neighbours house if you live outside the town limits.

Before I went there, people warned me, "You'll be bored, it's so flat", or "You'll miss the mountains" , "You'll drive for miles, with nothing to see". None of those statements rang true for me. It's not totally flat. I had this image of flat-as-a-board flatness. And it's not. There are gentle, undulations of the land, subtle rolling hills. The long grass waving like the ocean as the wind blows over it. As soon as we were in the middle of nowhere, not a building in sight in all directions, I was overcome with emotion. I felt like I had found my place to be, but felt melancholy, as I knew I couldn't stay there, that I had to return home soon. Don't get me wrong, I love where I live. But I realize now, that my heart belongs on the Prairies. I hear Dixie Chicks playing "Wide Open Spaces" or Paul Brandt's "Alberta Bound" and know where my heart would love to settle.

Which place appeals most to you?


Bobbie said...

Being born and raised in Alberta, I know what you mean about the vastness and the openness of it. The big, blue sunny skies all around you!

But I also love our town and the beautiful Golden Ears with the snow cap on them; the ocean a short (depending on traffic) drive away. I could do without all the rain

I guess my heart is in BC now as this is where my family is.

Karen said...

I would go with the beaches and mountains. I love both. The mountains here in Utah are my compass. Idaho and Colorado have incredible mountains as well. I enjoy the beach near San Diego.

Beautiful photos!


deni said...

I live in a branch of the Appalachian Mountains, called the Pocono Mountains. I do hate the city I live in, but beyond, I love the mountains and woods and that is where I want to live, a little house in the woods, with no neighbors, no traffic, no noise except the birds singing. I want to be able to come out onto the porch and look to a vista of cloud covered mountains in the distance.

This is my home.

Fred said...

Hawaii. If it all works out, that's where I'll be living in about twelve years. I can hardly wait.

Deanna said...

Well, since I am a born and bread BC girl, and the winters are already to cold for comfort for me.. I think I will stay here... and then when the seasons change, and it gets cold and wet, I will turn into a snowbird!... and fly someplace warm... so I guess I wouldn't be heading east!

Barbara said...

I was born on Vancouver Island and my family is all here. I love BC. I even love the long dark winters (I had a SAD light that helps me get through.) If I moved away I would miss BC and would feel lost.

FTS said...

Give me the mountains, hands down. Dallas isn't flat by any means, more like rolling hills. Kansas is flat. And ugly.

I am counting the days until I am living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, close to Denver. I was there last in August and had to tear myself away to drive home.

Mountains. Four seasons and not two. A real winter that's more than two weeks long.


ddddddddddddddddddddd said...

I never would have pictured you as a prairie girl. Not for a minute.

I have never been there. But I have been to Toronto. And to Quebec. Both times, I missed my mountains and beaches. I love it here and the thought of living anywhere else actually gives me anxiety attacks. Great choice of pics and a lovely post.

Lujza said...

I'm definitely a farm girl. When I first came to Canada my first home was in Lethbridge, Alberta...on a cattle ranch. We then moved to Kitchener, aunt had a huge farm, complete with horses in Trenton. To this day, I still love the smell of...well, you can guess.

Living in B.C. gives me a bit of everything I love though, just not enough sun. I'll stay here for a while.

John said...

WOW! A beautiful place to live indeed. Too bad about the rain and grey skies, but then that's the norm around Michigan for too much of the year.

Happy New Year to you and yours!