Woodlands

Woodlands

My moth-eaten memory
surprises me on occasion
with flashes of the days
when we settled down
to farmhouse life
in Woodlands, Manitoba.
Must have been ’65 or ’66
I was pre-kindergarten.

Our neighbours, the Dorians
those country folk who
became our family,
welcomed the three of us
to their boxcar cabin
old black and white photos
of Grandpa’s regiment hung
proud upon wood panelling.

They walked us up weedy
tractor paths to rock strewn fields,
introduced us to
their fine Appaloosa stud
“Interlake Cherokee”
and their ancient mare
Goldie, my first true love.

Tea was always served
in old country roses teacups
dainties on worn matching plates,
evaporated milk
teaspoons of sugar.
Uncle Jim, Sharon & Reuben,
Grandma’s gentle smile.
They loved us completely.

We sang “Beulah Land”
as we travelled prairie highways
all windows down, hair flying
back when life was only sweet
and summers drifted out with
the scent of burning leaves.
Our voices carried us
home together.

To wish for what once was
is a fool’s game I know
but those days gave us
our true north,
our best hope of belonging
to something simple
yet somehow grand.
Something pure.

Now our autumn is upon us
We look to the old photos,
We dream of those endless days
When we were saved
By the goodness of kind hearts and
Blessed by the trembling
blue and green panorama
of our prairie life.

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2 Responses

  1. ‘prairie life’ it lives as pieces of each of my family members, passed down from a remarkable woman (our mother Ruth). Saskatchewan moments. This poem resonates with this experience, moments spent in her memories. Inspirational….

  2. Thanks for the kind note. Prairie memories stay with us no matter where we wander…how lucky you were to have had a wonderful mother who taught you to love the land.
    LP