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
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.”
2.The sky during a storm
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.
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.
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.
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
13. The clouds
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.
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
20. Watching serious, respectable-looking adults doing the penguin shuffle on icy sidewalks
22. Knowing about and liking Tegan and Sara before the rest of the world
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)
26. The ultimate sense of coziness you’d experience while wearing one of these perfect-for-prairie-winter snuggies:
27. Hard-core hockey fans
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.
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
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.
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.
44. Hay bales against the sky
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
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.