Monday, March 3, 2008

Prairie Shadows

On a Saskatchewan country road the past shadows the present, layering places and people with a subtle fog of deja vu. There is a feel here, a silent reminder of the people that walked these lanes and fields so many years ago.

I wonder if there are other places where a road is identified by the name of a long silent school house that sits a few miles down a gravel, country road. There is no road sign.
The only sign that this is the right road is the school, Gladstone School. But only one familiar with the area would recognize this plain little building sitting on the edge of the field as a school. There is nothing to identify it, no name emblazoned on its bare walls - nothing. Only a decrepit building and the prairie that surrounds it. Its wooden floors have long since been emptied of children. Now it is empty, windows and doors hanging open, trembling on its worn foundation but still standing. For it is the Gladstone School and it is a landmark.

But it isn't the Gladstone School where this journey is going. Instead, it's to Buffalo Pound. Here history is more subtle. The buffalo that roamed in massive herds so many years ago are gone. But the wild beauty is still there. The lone prairie road is still the only way to reach this little patch of wilderness. While only a few miles away, the pavement hums with commerce, here things are silent, quiet with shadows of the past.

And, of course, a creature or two from the present.

Happy trails.


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