Who Has Seen The Wind?

Always there is wind. I’ve counted 50 windmills in this photo.

W. O. Mitchel’s classic novel of the above title was forced on generations of Canadian students as a rite of passage. Contemplating the days ahead living in my small tiny camper I recalled a character from that novel named Saint Sammy. He lived alone in a discarded piano crate out on the bald prairie. I managed to find a copy of the book in excellent condition which had come from an old Cowichan school library dated 1947. I paid five dollars. What a treasure! I soon realized that what is regarded by most as a dreary piece of reading is in fact a brilliant novel that should be reread by any adult who appreciates a good book and a wonderful story. Here are some windy images from the Old Man River area. I will go back there.

An intrinsic part of prairie experience is the sky and the ever-changing, often hurtling clouds.
I imagined dinners inside that bay wind, the table perhaps lit by coal oil lanterns. There is a spirit in these beautifully crafted derelict homes. What adds a brilliant touch to this  old home is the small, simple decorative brace added beneath the gable. It was frivolous yet elegant.
It takes little imagination to see smoke streaming from the chimney. There is a tang of that smoke and baking bread, perhaps roasting venison. Laundry streams from a clothesline, billowing and flapping. Children’s laughter tinkles in the breeze and maybe there is the whiney of a horse.
The driveway
If you don’t like the weather, wait half an hour
Windmills above a backwater of the Old Man River reservoir
I have seen the wind. I have flown in it, I have sailed with it and into it, I have leaned into its blasts and cowered from it, realizing how tiny a man is against a force of the spinning planet. Then I dropped my glasses.
The wind. Apparently it can drive people crazy. I’m already there and I love the wind.
They’re everywhere.
“He just sits there pointing that one-eyes thing at us. Let’s give him the slip”…Blur manouvre 49
“Bet that made him jiggle something.”
Thazzit! Pincher Creek. The gateway to some spectacular mountain parks like Waterton and in the middle of breath-taking vistas, the community itself is a miserable, soulless place. The folks are lovely though.
The other side of the tracks. Pincher Siding. A classic prairie grain elevator, few are left.
There is a smell to these elevators. Stale diesel, railway creosote, bird droppings, all mingle on the near-constant wind.
The old freight shed
Can you see the moths circling around that light late at night? How about snow blasting past? There are stories in those weathered boards.
Nobody home.
I loved this graffiti on the end of the shed.
Westward ho.
If the hectic pace in Pincher Creek overwhelms you, there may be an apartment to rent a few miles to the west in Cowley. They sit next to the CPR tracks and the open land beyond. Ever hunt deer from your apartment?
No pretensions here.
The gravel streets are graded twice a year and the RVs are almost paid for. This is a 1970ish Dodge. Nope, no air bags.
No air bags in this one either. I wondered how man times this 1931 Ford freight truck had been to that old freight shed in Pincher Siding through the decades. It looks ready for a few more runs. Original paint.
Against The Wind. I can hear Bob Seger singing it. There are miles of these contraptions. They fascinate me but I know they are a huge environmental oxymoron. We will look back in chagrin at our expansive efforts to be politically correct.
These clearly dearly beloved old dead trees seem to mark the entrance to the Crowsnest Pass. Behind lays the big, rolling wide open. Suddenly mountains tower above you and the world becomes a bit claustrophobic.

“I would walk to the end of the street and over the prairie with the clickety grasshoppers bunging in arcs ahead of me, and I could hear the hum and twang of wind in the great prairie harp of telephone wires. Standing there with the total thrust of prairie sun on my vulnerable head, I guess I learned — at a very young age — that I was mortal.”

W. O. Mitchell

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at svpaxboat@gmail.com

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