Long ride

My debate leaving Fernie was where to go: Saskatoon (nice city but no hostel), Regina (22-hour bus ride), or straight through to mom’s in Winnipeg (because i’m a bored with the rootless life). Taking full advantage of my footloose life, i didn’t decide till i stepped up to the counter and bought the ticket — to Regina. And then found out it involves an 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. layover in Medicine Hat — unappetizing prospect.

The driver, when he saw my ticket, pointed out that the Hat’s bus depot would be closed and i would be “on the street” for the 8-hour layover. Then he scribbled on my ticket, changing it to route via Calgary, where there’d be only a 2-hour layover.

It was a delight to ride out of the Rockies’ Crowsnest Pass into the foothills and finally the prairies, over the next 4 hours. I had a double seat to myself, the clouds were dramatic, the visibility good. By the time we reached Fort McLeod i’d decided to forgo master-of-the-universe Calgary and the tedious Trans-Canada, and stick with the southern route, despite the layover. I like the Hwy. 3 milk run, with its stops in the small places. What, i’m in a rush?

Someplace in southern Alberta it just crept up on me, that flat, flat ground to the horizon all round, that endless sky full of clouds like turtles and shards of pots and gods’ playroom, and i could feel my consciousness unfolding from the valleys and reaching out and out, wide and unfettered as the wind, and i smiled the whole rest of the day. I love the prairies, and i’m back on the wagon train of life in the now. And it’s true, what they say: there’s really very little to worry about, right here, right now.

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