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Seen: Horizon, Saskatchewan


Church on Zenith street in Horizon Nanton, Alberta Prairie Gold, along Highway 13, Saskatchewan Prairie Sky, along Highway 13, Saskatchewan
Reston, Saskatchewan Stoughton, Saskatchewan, detail Stoughton, Saskatchewan Wauchope, Saskatchewan

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Ever since I read the book The Perfection of the Morning, by Sharon Butala, I have wanted to see the prairies. I wanted to feel the horizon line, the fields of gold, and the immensity of that space. There was a contradiction between nothingness and fullness, of having to pay attention to the tiniest detail in order to orient myself within the hugeness. What I hadn’t known was that this particular land, the prairies, was once ocean; and on a recent road trip, the car became a small boat heading due west as it followed the railway line. It was a challenge to focus on anything in the prairies except the vastness. Slowly, a structure would emerge: tall, imposing, angular, often painted white, sometimes green or red, writing high on the wall. It might say Horizon, Saskatchewan. A place named, a history of a certain time in the Canadian prairies. I was grateful to those old grain elevators, appearing like cathedrals, vaguely Pre-Romanesque in design. They became a port, anchoring us for a brief while and releasing us back into the ocean. They are beautiful buildings, plain and functional and sharing a commonality of design that is now becoming memory.