Barbara: I read recently somewhere (can’t remember where––thanks again, aging brain) that Love of Landscape is a distinctly Canadian characteristic. It makes sense. We Canadians are surrounded by so much of it. Sprawling landscape. Hundreds of thousands of square miles that are wild and empty, devoid of human touch. We can thank our historical habit of converging our cities and towns around hospitable rivers and lakes in the warmest corners of the country. As a result, we have vast unspoiled spaces cozying up to cosmopolitan beehives.
Obviously, I know that Canadians aren’t the only ones who appreciate landscape, but it had never occurred to me before that some people might actually take landscape for granted. I can’t imagine it. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t breathe a kind of Zen sigh of peacefulness when I was “on the road”. One of my absolute favourite aspects of summer is the Road Trip. Honestly, this country just begs for a good long road trip to someplace you’ve never been. Or to someplace you’ve been many times, but never on that route. Or same destination, same route, but different adjectives.
Being a lover of the Road Trip means giving over to the moment. You have no choice but to look around you at the changing scenery, to appreciate the way the light plays on the native plants, and to see again how the foliage changes from one area to another.
It is a gentle sort of miracle for me to be suddenly outside myself and my worries, concerns, and battling ideas, and find myself thinking—truly, I swear—about NOTHING. For several hours, I just watch, mesmerized at the wonder of our countryside. Of any countryside. For someone who is so awfully and compulsively wrapped up in the mundane and the stressful, the road trip with its shifting landscape is such a relief. Both a wonder and a wonderfully soothing … break.
We’ve had a few road trips this summer—as we do every summer—to my sister’s cottage, to my Dad’s house in the country, visits to friends. Getting there is absolutely, completely half the, if not fun, certainly the joy. Unadulterated, spa-like, mesmerizing, breathtaking, soul-replenishing JOY.
Deb: Oh, Barb, how true does this ring! I had a few overnights this summer in Ontario, which boasts some of the most beautiful land and lake I have ever seen. Add to that my fifth season shooting in Regina. As we trucked to Indian Head every day, it hit me: I was not bored like I thought I would be, having been there five years in a row. In fact, the opposite was true. Yes, it was the same flat land as it was every single day, but it was bliss. The “big sky”––a gross understatement if I ever heard one––was looming over us! I could not take my eyes off it. Every bit of it. We shot at the edge of a field of canola, all yellow waves of control. I was staring at it. We all were. It was hypnotizing us and it was all we could talk about, focus on. And as we watched it, the earth seemed to curve. I swear. It looked like you could see the rounding of the planet. Saskatchewan. Land of the Living Sky. Oh, yes!