And a slow healing began

Something I love about traveling is meandering around in a new environment.  Going home to the family farm in Saskatchewan is no different. No, it’s not new, but it’s new to my soul in a way that says, “C’mere kid-in-the-city  … breathe this, relax a minute and for goodness sakes, touch home base already.”

Because I live in the Eastern Time zone, my bio-clock is hours ahead of the prairies which, by the way, don’t change their clocks for anyone.  There’s no particular reason that I know of, just didn’t see the need to I suppose.

But, because of that, I found myself up hours earlier than Mom. Fine with me; I’d start the coffee and quietly slip outside into that sweet morning air.

What a gentle and lovely way to wake.

Mom’s flowers

I’d walk around and listen for the songs of the songbirds, embrace the wind and the sounds of my shoes crunching on the gravel below. And then I’d stop and hear not a thing more.  Ahh.

Old & new and bright red, too!

I’d stop by the old barn and make a few new friends.

too scared… not coming closer

this one was braver than most.

2 – count ’em – 2 babies to feed

I’d meander on over to Dad’s workshop and stand for a moment, feeling like he could walk in humming a tune at any time now.

… right where he left things

I’d marvel at the original family homestead and wonder about how cold those Saskatchewan winters must have been in this house.

imagine wintering in this?

Later, after supper was done and I had Mom tucked into her favorite chair, sometimes, sometimes I’d slip out once more and find myself in the golden hour. (And yes, I thought of you, Dianna ),

.. we used to pretend-drive in this

and play “Cops & Indians” out here .. on horseback ..

and then, then I’d make my way back to the farmyard, winding East, and notice how a golden sun happened to bathe a golden horse.

.. heavenly

Quickly, the sky would change and a shiver would sneak up my arms.  I’d take one last peek West and say “so long” to the sun.

one of God’s many paintings

And the next day, I’d get up and do it all over again.

“Then I discovered the prairie, and a slow healing began.” – Stephen R. Jones, The Last Prairie

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

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50 thoughts on “And a slow healing began

  1. MJ, I simply loved to take this walk with you. May this beautiful home heal your soul indeed. Thank you. And all the best to your Mom.

    • Oh Marion, I am so glad you could join me! Having those moments of quiet was so restorative and since Mom was snoozing in those early morning hours anyways, I knew I was free to explore my childhood home with fresh eyes. Thank you for your good wishes; she’s doing better now and has some “zip” back in her voice again. Bests to you!

  2. MJ, I wish there was a “LOVE” button for this post! I was smiling LONG before I got to your sweet (thank you) reference to me. What beautiful photos and memories you’ve shared with us today. Thank you!

    • Oh Dianna, if you could only know that … all that way from me, you were “with” me in spirit as I captured the golden hour in photos. I walked and pondered and thought about the incredible love that’s been shown to me in the blogging community .. and you’re no exception.

      Thank you, and thank you for being right there with me!

  3. I just LOVE all these photos. They are gorgeous and now I want to live on a prairie too. Those kittens are just too cute. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Such a lovely walk on your homestead. Thanks for sharing your photos. 🙂

  5. cooper

    You may not know it but you are practicing zen/awareness meditation. Just being in the moment and listening to what is around you instead of the noises in your head. I used to do it more often than I do now. You’ve inspired me to get back to it. Thanx. Outstanding photos, by the way. The flowers are gorgeous.

    • You are right, Coop. It was wonderful to be able to disconnect completely (no internet, etc) and just step into my childhood. I am so glad you came along with me! MJ

      * and a special shout out to my sister-in-law Coleen who faithfully tended to Mom’s flowers while she was in hospital.

  6. Murray McDonald

    Marilyn I want to thank you for reminding me to read your latest story of your return to McQuarrie , I really enjoyed it and now I see all these other earlier notes that I can read .I hope that we can meet some day .

    • Thank you, Murray. I loved that you stopped by to visit and I will pass your kind wishes on to mom, your cousin! Bests to you and yes, I sure hope we meet at another McDonald reunion and soon!

  7. MJ
    The picture of your Dad’s workshop gave tears to my eyes (only I would be waiting for my Dad’s whistling to come around the corner – whistling only a tune he knew)
    After Dad passed away, it was such a comfort to walk into the garage and see all Dad’s stuff hanging there and waiting – I loved to see his disorganized organization of his beloved tools.
    Dad has been gone 18 years but I still listen for his whistle
    God Bless

    • Aww, I am sorry to make you tear up, but yes, I had the exact same thoughts as you did … being back in his domain made me feel like there was a chance he’d walk up behind me with a hum and a question. If only …

  8. One of your best, MJ. Loved everything about it…especially the photos (I can smell the sheds as you peer into them)…and “quiet” you can “feel”….as you just exist in the moment. I bet you can see a million stars at night up there in Canada. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you so much, RR. If you could experience those prairie nights you’d swear you could stretch out and reach the stars, they hang ever-so-closely! I am glad you came along with me 🙂 MJ

  9. What a beautiful place, MJ. Thanks for sharing your memories. Who says one can never go home?

    • Thank you, it definitely is beautiful country … rugged, fierce, unyielding and free … all the things I love about being there are those qualities that never fail to remind me that, as much as we change, the land doesn’t. It’s like touching home base and crying out “Oley Oley Oxin Free!”


  10. Wow, MJ. What a beautiful and restorative homestead! So glad your mom continues to feel better. Thank you for sharing your northern home with us 🙂

    • Thank you, Sandi. As much angst and uncertainty as there was heading in, it was that gentle prairie terrain and the ever-present wind that restored me most. Thank you for your kind thoughts, they are very much appreciated.

  11. Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Does your mom read your posts? This one will touch her for sure. Walking through the prairie and the shed with you feels so intimate, as if we are there with you when you were six and ten and fifteen. And it shines a light on the kind of upbringing you experienced. She must be so proud of you.

    • I am so glad you “felt” the experience, that’s what I was striving for.

      To answer your questions, no, Mom doesn’t have a computer or high-speed anything … she doesn’t have an answering machine either (“they’ll call back if it’s important!”). But .. I have printed off a few posts and shared them with her …and while she was somewhat surprised at the level of my life I share with all of you, I did detect a smile when she related how much she always loved to write. Then she added, “You always did have a way of making yourself heard and you’ve had a way with words forever.” That’s as good as it’s gonna get 🙂


  13. Amen. I did the same thing every morning and night while I was at the Shore, MJ. Opposite side of God’s country, but it is filled with His beauty nonetheless. Thank you for sharing these picture and your beautiful words. I could smell the clean air and sweet hay. Heavenly.

    • I love that you had those moments to touch the soil and reclaim part of your past on a daily basis; your pictures were just breathtaking, Lenore.

      And yes that sweet hay was heavenly!

  14. What a lovely homestead…thanks for sharing!

  15. Simply beautiful.

  16. yep, stirs the same feelings I get when I stop by my parents and soak it in.I know you and I have talked about this before but it’s worth repeating…you can take the boy (or girl) off the farm but you can’t take farm out of the boy (girl) It’s a rich heritage. As a parent who loves it when his kids come home for a visit, I can just feel your mom soaking up your last visit.

    • Oh without a doubt. Once a country girl, always a country girl. I find myself in situations sometimes: I expect others to have the same level of “can-do” attitude and I just get confused when the whining begins. We’re “get in and get it done” people, and I really don’t know how else to “be.” Thank you for understanding, and for seeing the beauty of my homeland through my eyes. And you’re right, she soaked it up like a lil sponge!


  17. mydailey


  18. Pingback: “And a slow healing began” … Emjay Writes | THE STRATEGIC LEARNER

  19. Love this post and your pictures…

  20. What a beautiful place! And to think you had the privilege of growing up there! I can see what it feeds your soul to return there, to disconnect and rejuvenate. I wish I had such an escape. I’m so glad it did you good, MJ!

    • Thank you, Terri .. it is indeed beautiful .. wild and free. It restores and rejuvenates me and I feel very lucky to have had the childhood I did. Bests to you!

  21. Nicole

    Little did I know just how beautifully you create a picture with your words Marilyn. I have read more than a few of your blogs now, and am thoroughly enjoying them. This one about Auntie Gay and the farm, I was in tears, and your Father’s Day one. Oh I miss Dad, and your words could have been mine. I was back to Mom and Dad’s farm for a short visit this summer, and memories were crowding around me, insisting to be recounted. Every time I turned around, I expected (or just wanted) to see Dad in the garage, coming in from the barn on the path, sitting on a pail in the barnyard petting the dogs, brushing the horses, driving the tractor, sitting in the kitchen eating a cookie…. thank you for taking me with you down memory lane. Love and hugs to you dear cousin.

    • Thank you, Nicole. I am glad that my words touched you. I loved your Dad, he was a good man and a wonderful brother to my Dad; I still think I’ll see him putzing around in your farmyard and always expect a wave or a nodd when I pass. They do that you know, the good ones linger on and they live on in us. We were very fortunate to have had them as fathers, uncles and Grandpas.

      Hugs back ‘Coley.

  22. Lovely tour around the family farm. Pretend driving in that old car must have been such fun! So glad you’re back.

    • I’m so glad you could come along with me! That old car was a hoot, and the steering wheel is wooden so we had great fun “riding” along on many an adventure. I was usually accompanied by a sister, a cousin, or the dog. Cheers! MJ

      • Oh, the dog image put me over the edge! {Love} Someone should totally draw that for you.

      • Yep, we had an assortment of Border Collies & Labs, Tippy and Boots being my favorite. Both would happily hop up onto the seat and “pretend” to go for a drive, too! MJ

  23. This one made my heart ache, and I’ve never even been to Saskatchewan! It’s so easy to feel when something comes from the soul.

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