A Prairie Drive

Preface and Reflections

This story probably is more a documentary that any other kind of writing.  Regardless, this short prairie tour did more for me than offer picturesque possibilities to capture with my camera.  I will say that my art form was never out of my purview, but much more happened.  My emotions and memories were stirred, something I hoped would happen.

I can’t explain why I feel good and so connected when I’m on the prairies and involved with prairie folk.  I’ve tried and end up with a stream of cliché  statements, which really isn’t the way I think.  I’ve concluded that it has a lot to do with where I lived when I was very young, during those first five to ten formative years when impressions are made and strongly held forever after.  During most of those years I lived in Regina and we had a summer cottage at Katepwa Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley with prairie country all around.  Also, during our move from Regina to Calgary I stayed with my aunt and uncle on their mixed farm near Calgary, but well out in the country.  It was there that I learned how to ride a horse, feed chickens, and chase pigs into their pens.  I watched threshing machines at the end of their life doing their work in the fields and generally wandered about on the flat prairie and in wooded coulees.  I liked it all, although I was intimidated by most of the farm animals, many of which were bigger than me.

You will read in my story about peaceful moments overlooking the South Saskatchewan River valley, lying in the grass, staring at the sky and hearing the fauna of the prairies all around me.  I have seen and heard all those things since I was very young and they make me feel at home.  I also think my family history plays a part.  My parents died before I was twenty-four years old.  I never had the chance to know them as an adult.  My good feelings about them is therefore compressed into those years before I became a self absorbed teenager  A good portion of those years were on the prairies, thus the emotional link for me.

I enjoyed visiting the prairie parks on this trip, more than I expected I would.  They were more remote and uncommercial than what I’m used to in the mountain parks.  They were more environmental parks than government sponsored resorts.

I want to say something about my photography.  I started out vowing that I would not get caught up in picturesque, documentary photography, but rather pursue an artistic approach by trying to make images that would tell their own story.  There are many claims that this approach to storytelling has been done successfully; however, I have not found an example that tells me much of a story and I certainly haven’t had much success doing that myself.  I seem to need the words and the images together, hopefully synergistically, to create a story worth telling.  

One last, biological, note:  Some define the seasons on the prairies as Fall, Winter, Spring, Mosquitoes, Summer, Fall.  I was fully expecting that and travelled prepared.  What a pleasant surprise to find that the hot, dry weather of May and June had not permitted the mosquitoes to hatch.  That’s why some of my reflective writings about sitting in the grass viewing those memorable scenes were possible.  What a treat.  If the weather had been the opposite, wet weather followed by hot weather, some of those situations would have been unbearable.  I know, I’ve had that opposite experience before.

To the story


You can read this story here or obtain a book formatted version which has a better layout.  

The best is available as an iBook from the iTunes Store.  

 To get the iBook version (the best version) go to the iBook/iTunes Store in your iBook application,  search for ‘A Prairie Drive’, and then download it into iBooks as you would any other book.  This book of mine is free, but you still need to have an iTunes account to access it.