A Prairie Homo Companion: 50 Things I’ll Miss if I Leave the Prairies

A Prairie Homo Companion is a regular column that celebrates the Canadian prairies, canola fields and big skies, and the paradoxes of being a fine-ass lady prairie homo.

Header by Rory Midhani

prairie-homo_640_web
I have a month to go before I finish university, and I’ve been applying for interesting jobs and internships literally everywhere around the world. Sure, I’ve applied for my fair share of jobs right here in Alberta, but I don’t know for sure where I’ll be in the next year, or even the next few months. Thinking about all the exciting places the future can take me is bittersweet because wherever I go, the Canadian prairies will always be home. So, in anticipation of my future homesickness, I’ve compiled a list of 50 things (in no particular order) I’ll miss should I leave the prairies.

1.The sky. There’s a reason Saskatchewan is called “the land of the living skies.”

via jeffsplates.com

via jeffsplates.com

2.The sky during a storm

via redbubble.net

via redbubble.net

3. Seeing the stars at night. I think I’d feel pretty lost living in a city where I couldn’t see at least some stars at night.

4. Being able to see the stars as early as 4 p.m. on a winter’s night.

5. How the Northern Lights make me feel like everything is magic.

via fanpop.com

via fanpop.com

6. Rainbows. The prairies get the best rainbows because the sky is so big.

7. The feeling of space. Thanks to the vast landscape and big sky, it’s easy to breathe and feel free – like the path to all your prairie homo hopes and dreams is as clear as a perfectly blue prairie sky at noon on a winter’s day.

COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

8. History along a country road. It’s not unusual to come across a wooden, turn-of-the-century barn or some falling-apart farm equipment while driving down a prairie road. Prairie cities are notorious for destroying old buildings before they have a chance to be admired, but in the country time is patient, and old buildings and equipment are allowed to slowly disintegrate at nature’s pace. Still, these remnants of prairie history will be around forever, so I’m glad I have the chance to enjoy them.

via mnprairieroots.files.wordpress.com

via mnprairieroots.files.wordpress.com

9. The wind. The other day I was walking my dogs across a field and it was so windy I could hardly see or breathe. I was wearing a hat and a hood, but still my forehead was becoming numb from being repeatedly slapped by the wind. It made me feel so insignificant (because let’s face it: compared to the wind, I am!) but also super-powerful, because hey, I would make it through!

10. The tingly feeling you get all over your body when you finally come inside after being out in -30C

11. Making fun of girls lining up outside a club wearing skirts in -30C

12. Watching Oprah freeze on her visit to Edmonton

via joyfulheartinspired.tumblr.com

via joyfulheartinspired.tumblr.com

13. The clouds

via actsofnature.com

via actsofnature.com

14. Making fun of Saskatchewan (no offence, Saskatchewan)

15. Cars that politely stop to wait for you to cross the street

16. Manners: Please and thank you please and thank you please and thank you

17. The DIY-attitude of the queer community. We make our own culture and we’re damn good at it.

tumblr_mhzsb1fMwi1s4oaqro1_500

Artist: dales laing

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artist: dales laing

18. Same-sex hand holding for both frostbite-avoidance and romance in sub-zero temperatures

19. Prairie beer: Alley Kat Brewberry and Apricat; Winnipeg Half Pints

via alleykatbeer.com

via alleykatbeer.com

20. Watching serious, respectable-looking adults doing the penguin shuffle on icy sidewalks

21. Being a snow-covered Canadian prairie queer

22. Knowing about and liking Tegan and Sara before the rest of the world

via coverdue.com

via coverdue.com

23. The honking of Canada Geese

24. Minimalist colours in winter: white and blue or white and grey

25. Messages in the snow (Canadian graffiti)

via maybeedmonton.tumblr.com

via maybeedmonton.tumblr.com


26. The ultimate sense of coziness you’d experience while wearing one of these perfect-for-prairie-winter snuggies:

via https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

via https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

27. Hard-core hockey fans

via maybeedmonton.tumblr.com okay, THIS IS TAKING IT TOO FAR.

via maybeedmonton.tumblr.com
okay, THIS IS TAKING IT TOO FAR.

28. The Edmonton – Calgary rivalry

29. Feeling triumphant when you make it to a gay bar when it’s 40 below

30. Summer days that go on forever

31. Sunshine at 10 p.m.

32. Feeling super-human as a little kid because it’s 10 p.m, sunny, and you’re not tired.

33. Queer hipster skateboarder girls in the summer

34. The sense of mystery in not knowing if a woman is the gay kind of butch, or the works in the oil industry or on a farm kind of butch.

via maybeedmonton.tumblr.com

via maybeedmonton.tumblr.com

35. The sense of accomplishment when you discover that she is, in fact, gay

36. The smell of dust on a gravel road

37. Thunderstorms. I love how clean I feel after having danced in the rain, when the air smells so fresh and the summer dust has been washed from my skin.

38. Dancing through canola fields

That's me on the far left. Canola fields are fun, but what no one ever tells you is they're also full of things that scratch and bite your legs!

That’s me on the far left. Canola fields are fun, but what no one ever tells you is they’re also full of things that scratch and bite your legs!

39. Cowboys. I know it’s a stereotype, but yes, they do exist. Every now and then I see a man in full cowboy-gear just walking around downtown going about his business. When I was a waitress, I once served an entire table full of cowboys. They tipped well.

40.  The last remaining grain elevators. Between the 1890s and the 1930s, almost 6,000 grain elevators were built across the Canadian prairies. My Opa worked in one when he first came to Alberta from Holland in the 1940s. Unfortunately, grain elevators weren’t the safest places – all that wood, grain dust, and flour led to many fires and explosions. Today, hardly any grain elevators remain, but some have been turned into museums.

photo credit: danwdotca

photo credit: danwdotca

41. Having a whole train car or bus to yourself

42. Road trips to the mountains

43. Ridiculous giant statues. Prairie cities love celebrating their cultural objects in a big way.

Vegreville Egg

Vegreville Egg

44. Hay bales against the sky

via matadornetwork.com

via matadornetwork.com

45. Picking berries in the summer: saskatoon berries, raspberries, choke cherries, cranberries

46. Vision. Your line of sight goes so far in the prairies, especially when you’re in the country, or in Saskatchewan. When there’s a thunderstorm and lightning lights up the whole sky, it looks like you can see the whole world and everything is bursting with electricity, energy, light.

47. Quilted fields

via Matador Network

via Matador Network

48. The fact that the Idle No More Movement, Universal Healthcare, and the Suffrage movement all started here

via National Post

via National Post

49. A newspaper article in which police officers spend six hours on snowmobiles trying to herd a cow and bull who’ve gotten loose in the city. There’s really nothing more Canadian-prairie than this article.

50. Waiting at the doctor’s office and finding an adorable picture of a young K.D Lang in Alberta Views Magazine.

A young, adorable K.D. Lang. Check out the socks.  via Alberta Views Magazine  July/August 2011

A young, adorable K.D. Lang. Check out the socks.
via Alberta Views Magazine
July/August 2011

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Malaika likes books, drinking tea, long conversations, dinner parties, making funny faces, bike rides, and dogs. Originally from Edmonton, she now lives in Montreal where she edits, runs, and writes about the Alberta Tar Sands for The Media Co-op. You can follow her on twitter @Malaika_Aleba.

Malaika has written 84 articles for us.

20 Comments

  1. So lovely – and all so true. I’ve travelled a lot, and many of those things make me feel incredibly home sick. I think, somehow, living here you subconsciously develop a connection to the landscape, to the air and sky without realizing it until you leave… Or at least that’s true for me.

  2. I love how many of these things are just about the sky! But I feel you on all of them. Especially the stars — I live on an acreage, and the sky on a clear night is shocking and beautiful every single time. I will never get tired of it.

  3. Why do we not have snow graffiti in New England?!?! Surely someone must have thought of it down here, but I’ve never seen it around, and now I know what’s missing from my life. This article really made me want to go to Canada.

  4. LOVE THIS!!!! The prairie snuggies on page 2 made me laugh OUT LOUD! A what a great picture of kd lang — I remember when she actually looked like this. It brings to mind Stompin’ Tom Connors’ song about her – Lady kd Lang.

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