Alberta Bound

Autumn in rural Alberta is immensity amplified.  Big sky and expanse of farmland is the main scenery, something what W. O. Mitchell describes as “the least common denominator of nature… land and sky.”

The air is crisp, fresh, and dry.  Colors are simple:  Big blue sky, golden harvest, even just hay rolled up in bales.  Farming against the snow-capped Rockies, rustic, serene, rejuvenating, harmonious fusion of nature and human endeavor.

Trees as windbreaks in the summer, nature’s sculpture in the fall.  So the leaves are gone, but only then can we see the beauty of the bare branches, like dancers celebrating the changing of the seasons.

The solitary figure in the field… en masse.

“Think I’ll go out to Alberta,
Weather’s good there in the fall.
Got some friends that I can go to working for…”

For some inexplicable reasons, as I’m posting these photos, a flood of nostalgia whirls up in me.  The melodies and lyrics of those songs and singers that we can claim our own keep filling my mind all day. Not too many up-and-coming like to hang around here, since all the fame and glory one seeks is down south.

But these remain our own: Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Neil Young… and songs about Alberta, about heading west to seek a new life, or to escape from the pain of lost love.  Maybe the wide open country, big blue sky and wide expanse of land do have their healing powers.

And memories, forever clear, keep us rooted… here’s home.


Photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, November, 09.  All Rights Reserved.

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

12 thoughts on “Alberta Bound”

  1. Great photos. There’s something about the Alberta landscape in any season – once you’ve seen it, you’ll always want to see it again. I got choked up watching Brokeback Mountain – not so much the story as the setting.

    About your banner – is that Maligne Lake?


    1. ian in hamburg,

      The landscape of Alberta is magical… another movie is Kevin Costner/Robert Duvall’s Open Range, which showcases some magnificent landscape.

      The photos in this post were actually taken just a half hour drive from Calgary, along the highway to Okotoks.

      The Header picture is Bow Lake. I have posted a trip that I took in the summer from Banff to Jasper, claimed by some as the ‘most beautiful highway in the world’. I’ve included a few photos of that trip, including Moraine Lake. Here’s the link:

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  2. Arti, these images are saturated with warmth and sunlight, even as the bare trees hint at late fall. And I love that W.O.M. quote.

    I don’t get out to see many movies, so I was interested to read the couple of posts you had about An Education and the story of Lynn Barber.


    One blessing in this vast prairie of ours is, we get lots of sunshine… unlike the coastal province B.C., which is dealing with flooding these weeks. I’m glad too that you’re browsing the movie reviews and the links. Hope you’ll have the chance to see some of them.

    Thanks for visiting.,,, your comments are always welcome.



  3. I love Canada. My mother’s Canadian, and I spent many sweet visits to Winnipeg and a summer in Ontario. It’s so lovely there, and people are often confused by my accent here in Illinois. It’s not nasal, like so many Chicagoans, but has a lilt of my part-Canadian heritage which they cannot place.

    The musicians you wrote of in your post are nostalgic to me, particularly Neil Young. I can hardly hear him without thinking of my first husband who passed away in 1997. Talk about memories of home!

    Anyway, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I think yours is lovely, too. I’m adding you to my links, which I’ve recently made invisible so who would know? That’s why I’m telling you here. Blessings on your weekend, b.


    1. Bellezza,

      Welcome! I’m glad finally we’ve a chance to ‘talk’. I’ve seen your comments in some of the blogs we visit, and you’ve a wonderful blog there yourself. I’m excited to hear of your Canadian connection. Hope someday you’ll have the chance to visit Alberta, nature’s wonderland.

      For some reasons I’ve been thinking about the song ‘Alberta Bound’ first sung by Gordon Lightfoot, and then this YouTube clip came up and it’s even better… Four Strong Winds was the song during my teenage years growing up in Alberta… it never fails to strike some chords in my heart.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I trust this is the beginning of some mutual visiting.


  4. Beautiful photos! I have relatives in Winnipeg. I need to visit them and enjoy this beautiful area in person.


    If you ever visit your relatives in WInnipeg, Manitoba, do come out west another 700 miles to Calgary, Alberta. I’ll be glad to show you the lakes and mountains here in the Canadian Rockies.



  5. I just laughed and laughed at your comment to Cathy – if you make it to Winnipeg, well, just come on over to Calgary! It reminded me of my first month in south Texas, when someone said, “How about going for dinner with us tonight?”
    “Sure,” I said. “Where are we going?” We were going to San Antonio – just a few hours of driving.

    That big sky and expanses of land make for big visions and expansive hearts. I’ve always thought that’s why Ian and Sylvia’s music is so touching – it’s honest, like the land and the sky.

    “Four Strong Winds” was justly famous, but there are others I truly love – “Someday Soon”, and “Summer Wages”. I can’t hear either one of them without tears welling up.

    Once upon a time I honeymooned in Manitoba – not Winnipeg, but Elma! It’s on the map, but you have to look. And I need to find the very few photos I have of my forebearers who lived in Saskatchewan – barefooted boys playing marbles in the dirt of a cowtown, and the men gathered around one of those big steam engines used to break prairie sod. They headed to Canada from Nebraska – I’d love to follow their trail.

    Oops! Here comes that wanderlust again!


    Wonder why everybody’s Canadian connection is with Winnipeg or Manitoba… and I admit I haven’t heard of Elma. But as I said, Alberta is just a stonethrow away, relatively speaking. Houston and Calgary have the oil connection … I’m sure a few corporate jets land directly in our airports, doing frequent return trips!

    I’m glad too that you’ve stored up some country western memories, more than I have actually. Thanks for sharing those melodies. And, don’t resist that wanderlust… come up north one of these days!



  6. We did make it to Waterton National Park once. That was gorgeous. We stayed in the Prince of Wales Hotel there, took a boat cruise and rode horses. Saw a mountain lion, and a bear spooked my horse. I had to hang on for a wild ride. So maybe I’ll come directly to Alberta! It’s an exciting place!


    Waterton is just a few hours’ drive from us… and the Prince of Wales Hotel has wonderful views. You’re adventurous… horseback riding in the back country must be an unforgettable experience!



  7. Well, I do have a connection to Alberta – lots of them, and it makes me a little sentimental to see the photos of the windbreaks. Albertans certainly know how to plant trees in a straight line! It’s a beautiful province, and a lovely place to live.


    I trust you have fond memories of Alberta. Hope you would come back one of these days and enjoy the natural scenery. As for the windbreaks, I don’t think they are particularly an Alberta feature, but they are aesthetically pleasing at any season here.



  8. I can’t believe I know someone who actually lives with a landscape like that. You know, I am so glad we have the round hay bales now. I don’t remember when farmers started rolling it this way on this side of the pond, but I never get tired of driving to work and looking at them dotting the fields.

    Your photos are splendiferous.


    Thank you… I consider myself very fortunate to be able to live in between two drastically different landscapes: The Prairies and the Rockies. As residents at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, we can enjoy both views. Despite the stormy weather we’ve been getting in the past few days, in which we were the target of the most severe snow storm of the year, we still manage to dig ourselves out and enjoy the brilliant sunshine… That’s Alberta!



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