I love it here. I am infatuated with the smooth, curved logs that form the walls of the Ranch House. I am entranced by the cool, fading orange-brown oak of my cabin floor. I am hooked on the smoke that billows from the copper-coloured kitchen. Spider webs, thick glass windows, horse skulls, and old framed photographs from pioneer days liter the dusty ground of the campsite where I work. I’ve lived here for one month and two weeks, and this place has become comfortable. This place has become home.
It was familiar to me in the first dawn of May, when I waltzed into the communal kitchen to grab small snacks and cold milk. I opened the correct cupboards and found exactly what I needed without even trying. It was obvious: I belonged.
Within a fortnight, I could walk around blind in a place I had never before seen. I became attached—me, the girl who doesn’t know the meaning of the word commitment—to this camp, to these buildings, to the dirt road, to the sunsets over the lake, to the stables that contain the horses. The air is crisp and clear. I gulp oxygen into my lungs like I’ve never breathed before. Like I’m finally coming home.
I was always meant to be here, but was simply scared to consider the possibility of perfection. I would fly to Australia, run away to China, stretch my wings to Indonesia in an elaborate search of enlightenment—but I would never admit that true happiness has always been here waiting for me on my own doorstep.
I’ve always been a drifter. I hate settling, I sprint from comfort. I don’t let myself become homesick—I don’t dig roots. It’s the curse of the traveller. I uproot before I allow myself to be left. I fight so hard to be wild, to be free, that I cage myself in mobility.
But out here, soloing a plastic green canoe on Crimson Lake as the sky turns purple, roasting marshmallows over a crackling orange campfire I created with my bare hands and acquired skill—here, among singing crickets and wild birds and the soft swish of the breeze through the tall trees and the voices of people I love laughing together, here I am unashamed to admit that I am happy to be home.
In another month, I’ll have to leave. I don’t know where I’ll go. I have a plane ticket and no plans. Everything I see and experience reminds me of somewhere else. I compare everything to Canada. To home.
I belong beneath Alberta’s wide skies. Sometimes I hate it, but the spirit inside me, the Child of the Wind, she longs to offer herself to the endless fields. She cries to soar through Alberta’s vast sea of skies. She adores cowboy hats and rugged mountain ranges; she is aroused by the wafting scent of boiled coffee over a fire before the red rays of dawn can stroke the morning sky. She sifts the black soil through her fingers and chews on hay. I was born and raised to be a country girl at heart; a Child of the Wind. This is my home, because home is where I am free.
About the Author: Alison is a 21-year-old world traveller and newspaper columnist secretly addicted to Alberta’s golden wheat fields. The desire to explore has taken her to over 25 different countries around the globe, but Canada will always be home. Follow Alison’s Adventures or her twitter feed @AlisonKarlene