Monday, October 18, 2010

The Prairies

I love living in small town Alberta, smack in the middle of the prairies. Everywhere I look I find inspiration. There is the tall wheat swaying in the breeze, the hay bales that dot the landscape as far as the eye can see, our historic grain elevator against the horizon, the sound of the wind in the trees, and the feel of dry leaves crunching under my shoes when I walk.

The fall in Alberta stirs my soul in a way that no other season can. After the heat of the summer (okay, maybe not this summer, but most summers) comes the crisp, refreshing nature of the fall, invigorating the mind and the body before the harsh reality of winter descends. Like spring, fall is that in-between state of moderation between hot and cold. I feel like I wake up in the fall after being drowsy and relaxed over the summer.

I have been slow this fall to reach this state of happy wakefulness. I've been run ragged by conflicts and personal problems, and then busier than usual with Jason running for Town Council. But today is voting day and the campaign will be behind us. I sat at the park this week while the kids played, and I looked around and slowly stirred my soul to action. I saw the beauty, smelled the bonfire smoke in the air, and felt joy as I considered why we chose to live in this small town.

I listed the reasons to myself: safety, friendship, to know and be known by others. When Jason is out of town, there is not just one person I could call if I needed help or had a problem with the house; there are many. I can't walk out of my door without running into half a dozen friends and neighbours who know me and my kids, and those relationships ground me and make me visible here in a way I couldn't come close to in big city life.

Last week Jason and I both realized the ripple effect of our actions and words on other people. If we are positive and kind, our ripples carry that to other people. If we are negative and nasty, the same is true, and that crabbiness spreads like wildfire to others. Every person has this influence, no matter where you live. Our attitudes and opinions permeate our circles, like yeast throughout dough, and we are all responsible for our imprint on our world.

I found it helpful to remind myself why I love my town. There were many reasons why I chose to live here, and I needed to focus on the good ones instead of the parts of small town life that bring frustration. There are so many things I love about my town, my community and my province. It's a good life here, and celebrating it gave me that burst of positive energy that I had been lacking. It changed my view, and therefore changed everything.

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