Prince Albert Voice
We’d spent about two weeks planning a trip up North as we contemplate a move. When we first went up there was a minor problem with the furnace and the pilot light needed to be restarted. On our second visit the furnace was an issue again but the landlord was able to quickly resolve it after getting the oil to flow through without pulling in excess and causing a rumble whenever the furnace kicked in. This time around it was the toilet giving us issues. At first I did my best to use a plunger, and other googled suggestions, to clear out the problem but soon it was clear, we needed professional help. Monday seemed to be the day to service the new abode so we had people coming in and out all morning. I thought we’d leave at noon but the cranky, overtired cries of the twins told me we would be delayed another couple of hours. By the time they woke up, it was late afternoon and we were without power. It was the third time that weekend we lost electricity. We’d lost it twice during a thunder and lightning storm on Saturday and now, Monday afternoon, it was gone again. We decided it would be temporary so we would wait it out and leave the following morning. I think we were each looking forward to accessing a stable internet service after having been without for the three days prior to the power outage. By nine the following morning, there was still no electricity and we hadn’t had a phone with battery power for over twenty four hours. I prepared to do the bit of house work that needed doing before we left and I suggested a drive around town might give us some insight as to what was happening with the electricity.
My family and I took another drive to points north the other day. Each time we drive this particular road, I’m fascinated by all the change I see, even from one week to the next. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of traveling between La Ronge and Saskatoon. And it’s been really spectacular to see the willows turn red as the leaves prepare to bud and open, and I’ve enjoyed watching the pussy willows in all of the glorious grandeur. I have even found myself fantasizing where I’d plant specific plants after seeing a few greenhouses opening in anticipation of the May long weekend (but I haven’t officially begun to look and buy!) … it finally feels like spring is here despite my having not seen a ruby throated hummingbird just yet.
I’ve always liked watching trains. I enjoy making eye contact with the Engineer and pulling my arm through the air to see he’ll imitate my action and actually blow the whistle of the train. I enjoy counting the cars, engines and caboose. And I like to see the different rail cars as they pass by. Some carry grain, others oil, new vehicles, lumber and other interesting things such as slogans for the province of Saskatchewan, or Manitoba. More recently my fascination with trains has to do with the art people have painted onto them. I know most people just shrug these images off as “graffiti” … however I consider this genre to be an art form as well.
The third wave of COVID is threatening the health of our youth as outbreaks occur throughout the province in local schools. As much as people are protecting themselves through vaccines, self isolation and taking care to be aware of potential hazards where there is increased risk, all of us have felt the sting of COVID. And it is distressing to see some people out rightly balk at taking care at all, relying on conspiracy theories to support their ill-advised decision to not wear masks or keep themselves from others who may be susceptible to the virus, if they’re exposed. While all of this is taking place, there are those who are diligent about keeping themselves, their family and their neighbours safe. I certainly appreciate the innovative and creative ways people are finding to meet together while staying safe at the same time.
Growing up at Candle Lake there was never a question as to whether we would encounter wildlife in our daily life... it was only a question of what we would see and when. In the summer, one of the common visitors to our home was a red-headed woodpecker. Somehow Dad finally deterred his visits as he spent a lot of time drilling into the wood siding of our house. Looking back, I wonder if the Woodpecker thought our home had termites. I can’t imagine any other reason he’d have such a determined interest in personally dismantling our home, one hole at a time! Fortunately for all of us the house had good bones and it never did implode despite the best efforts of the Woodpecker. I still enjoy watching these birds hunt on trees and find comfort in hearing their beak drilling against the wood as they hunt or make a home. Until recently, I never realized what a big and mighty bird a Woodpecker is. Unfortunately he’s also incredibly shy so I will have to continue to practice patience while I wait to capture the ever elusive photograph with a camera instead of with my heart. There were always a lot of animals around and in the community at Candle Lake; deer, all types of birds, insects including moths as big as an adult hand, bats, bears, fox, coyote, skunks and squirrels, rabbits and lynx, just to name a few. One of my favourite childhood encounters was watching lightning bugs on the dark summer nights when it would be too hot to sleep and I’d press my face against the clear, cool glass of the window watching the bugs light up the night for a few seconds before darkness prevailed again. Watching them made the night feel magical and surreal to me. I didn’t even want to move as I watched them, afraid that if I did I’d scare them away. And I think I really hoped they’d bring their bright little butts closer to my window so I could observe them more clearly. I always figured if lightning bugs could exist maybe fairies could too - alas some flying creatures really only thrive in our imagination.