The land is a heavy thing. Sometimes it just weighs on you – on your body, your mind, your spirit.
All my life I have felt like I didn’t belong. Not within my body – there I have always been quite comfy – but within the world, the air, around me. Something has always been missing, and that has left me feeling restless.
As a child I excelled in the classroom, but struggled with this out of sync feeling elsewhere in life. I had friends, certainly, but I never felt quite their kin. I chalked it up to being more introverted and bookish than they, and that’s most likely true, but in recent years I have come to believe it was this dissatisfaction with place as much as anything else.
Saskatchewan is a lot of land, without a lot of movement. Wheat fields sway in the wind and minor whitecaps ripple across narrow rivers, but on the whole it is a sturdy, stoic province full of sturdy, stoic people who have spent their lives beating a living from this land, or at least have in their veins the blood of people who did.
My province is beautiful in its simple steadiness. Land that has grown food for animals and humans for 100 years grows it still, except where expanding city limits have encroached. People struggle to touch this earth they feel in their bones whilst maintaining their hold on modernity, as is evidenced by homesteads continuously cropping up just outside of town.
The fast tempo of other corners of the world has yet to reach Saskatchewan, though the largest centers are beginning to pick up the pace. Cultural variance and experience are flourishing, creative outlets are appearing; it’s the fastest growing province in the country.
But it’s too late for me. Regrettably, I see this province through a smog of stagnant thought and vacant opportunity. It’s time for me to move on.
I don’t fit here, anymore than I ever did, for reasons beyond the societal and economic. No matter how up-and-coming this province gets, no matter how its cities thrive, Saskatchewan will ever remain dry and land-bound. This is its fate, for better or poorer. And a sea of living skies is just not what I need.
I need to look out from a shoreline at nothing but blue. I want to have trouble separating the bottom of the sky from the top of the ocean, because there is no real divide. I need the summers chokingly humid and the winters the kind of cold that gets into your bones, because you’re just steps from the water, all the time. I want to hear foghorns and pass through the beam of the lighthouse, ages old, calling in the ships to port. I want gulls and salt deposits and clothes on the line that just won’t get dry. Because it’s in the air, that wide, open water that goes on forever, that goes on to Europe and Africa; Columbus’ legacy.
The land is a heavy thing, but water can drown you, too. It’s time for a change, not better but different. In this body, I have never lived beside the sea, yet the ocean is calling me home.