Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Big Muddy and Noddy Land

This past Tuesday, I drove to Moose Jaw to see my friend Anne Hines who was settled as the United Church Minister in Lucky Lake and Beechy last July, and I really liked our afternoon together. I ended driving in a circle, returning to Coronach via Regina. The roads were sometimes laughably bad, but later I realized that I have better options than those presented to me by my GPS. Going via better roads, I am about 2 hours and 15 minutes from both Moose Jaw and Regina, which is not bad. The good news about the not-so-good roads is the beauty of the countryside that they went through. The most amazing place is very close to here: the  Big Muddy Valley, just to the east and north. Driving through the valley is like being in a John Wayne Western. Last night I saw a bit of "Dancing With the Wolves" on TV, and it also reminded me of the Valley, and also of Coronach and Rockglen.

It takes about 40 min to drive east to Regina from Moose Jaw. Regina is pancake flat. You can see the Legislative Building on the horizon from 20 km away. Hwy 6 south of Regina is also desperately flat. At present, driving it reminds me of video of the causeway from Florida to Key West -- an elevated highway with ocean on either side, except in SK this year, it is just flooded fields. But about 100 km south, you start to see what look like mountains on the western horizon, and that is what you drive into.

Unfortunately, this beauty is not appreciated by many. I am amazed by how sparse the population is in southern Saskatchewan. But without towns and cities, there are no roads, no services, and hence no ability to get a tourism economy rolling.

On Wednesday, I worked in Rockglen. As I was driving back to Coronach, I realized that the landscape now reminded me of Noddy Land from the children's books by Enid Blyton. Some fields were bright yellow with canola. Some were bright green (early wheat?). In the distance were the two grain elevators of Coronach, and the smokestack of the coal-fired power generating plant, all nestled in the rolling hills. I was the only car, as usual.

It is a beautiful and little known place and I am feeling both jazzed and strange to be living in it.

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