previewed our trip to Manitoba, I had specifically mentioned my desire to do some prairie wandering to steep myself in the beauty and nostalgia of the landscape. It's always a trade-off because we have so many dear people to see in such a short time, and I wouldn't blame the Carons or Niverville Hieberts (and others we didn't see) for reading this and thinking, "What a jerk, wandering along ditches in the boonies when he could have been hanging out with us!" And they'd have a point.
clouds, creeks and fields.
I also rode my bike on dirt and gravel roads with the wind somehow blowing continually into my face, eventually visiting both of the yards where I grew up. The one northwest of Rosenort where we had our trailer for a few years isn't really a yard anymore, although two of the three rows of trees are still standing. The abandoned yard across the 205 still hides the pond Ryan and I learned to skate on. A kind Holdeman offered me a ride back to town after finding me in the middle of nowhere -- on the way back he lectured me about why I needed a cell phone and how to manage it properly. Yes, I'm technologically behind the Holdemans.
The farm closer to Morris, where we lived from about '83-'90, is still occupied. I drove onto the yard and met the family living there now. Neat to chat with a 10-year-old boy who's growing up there, riding his XR80 on the same paths, just like we always did. It was a bit shocking how different most of it looked -- some things just deteriorated and neglected, and trees gone or grown up. The owner was super nice and let me wander around the back boonies to check out the pond. Everything was thickly overgrown, but I enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of my past.
I visited graves and climbed grain bins, walked through tall grass and threw stones into muddy water; swatted mosquitoes and got scolded by red-winged blackbirds; counted telephone poles and found patterns in fields. I tried to remember and feel and breathe. The prairie landscapes also kept me entertained while we drove across three provinces (twice) -- I hadn't expected to be so blown away by the beauty and variety in hills, fields, trees and sky.