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?