Prairie promise

Less of a promise and more of a hint? Of spring, that is.

Prairie promise…
I was sitting at the top of Dry Island Buffalo Jump earlier this week. The evidence for spring was all around. Prairie dogs were out in the bright sun, squabbling and tussling with each other. I didn’t know they scampered with a skipping jump. I’m more used to seeing them scurry for their holes. The jumping was fun to see. Maybe it was a spring thing?

Spring? Where?
It was human noise and nonsense free up there. A spring break Monday, I was in desperate need of space, wanting to be out of the city, and finding some quiet. Figuring the mountains might be busy, I headed east instead of west, and once off the highways and onto dirt roads, I could feel the tensions of a long term start to fade.DSCF4508

Some small ponds had a layer of ice, but like the banks of snow in ditches and sheltered spots, it seemed winter was receding. Empty ridge roads, bright sunshine, bare trees, brown fields with a glint of gold, and washed out blue skies were all sights to see.DSCF4589

When I stopped to take a photo of some old shacks (couldn’t resist), the racing shadow of a bird caught my eye. Spinning and scanning, I saw a hawk glide overhead, searching for a meal. At first I thought it was a red-tailed hawk, although the colouring seemed muted, so perhaps it was a rough legged hawk instead? Either way, it was a wonderful moment, and so positive. Unless you’re a prairie dog…

A hide out from hawks
I was hoping to spot another hawk from the buffalo jump but it wasn’t to be. Instead, a wheeling raven soared over the badlands – I could hear the wings beating as it passed. All the sounds were soothing. Birds singing in the bare trees behind me, the grass being torn by the ground squirrels, the buzz of a bee (in March!) and the sound of the Red Deer river, in thaw and flow far below. The last might have been my imagination, or the sound of a light breeze, but I fancied it to be the river.

Red Deer River thaw
All the promise of spring! And a promise to myself to lighten up, and take the negative human constructs of our world less seriously. As I get older, I find the world harder to understand. It can’t always be ignored, but I aim to deflect some of the 21st century madness that appears to be on us. It seems far less pressing when you’re atop a prairie buffalo jump!DSCF4591

It was hard to drag myself away, so I didn’t, not immediately. I sat and wrote much of this piece, and hung out a little more with my prairie dog buddies. It was fun simply to hang with the buffalo jump gang.

I love the view from up here!
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Yeah, I am cute.

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

9 thoughts on “Prairie promise”

  1. What a fine piece here! Thanks for sharing those early spring moments on the prairie. I once lived in South Dakota and I miss the prairie’s soothing sights and sounds as you describe them. Winters can be brutal, but when the migrators return and those “cute little” prairie dogs start springing around again, it is sweet. I’m glad you had a good stretch out on the buffalo jump!


    1. I agree that the prairie can soothe – in any season except winter. I like the space, and the way prairies can connect our mental space with physical or geographical space. I suppose all or many places do this, but prairies in particular.
      Thanks, Walt, and I hope your week is off to a fine start!


  2. I sure enjoyed hanging out with you and the “buffalo jump gang,” PC. There’s nothing like the quiet of nature to unravel our tension, and oh, how I enjoy prairies for the vastness. I really liked seeing the signs of Canada’s thawing prairie here, the ice layer on the lake and the Red Deer river thaw is really beautiful. And the joys of the playful prairie dogs were well-expressed and appreciated.


    1. I did enjoy sharing my time with the buffalo jump gang, and very happy to share it wider! I think you and Athena would love it up there. Aside from the vast views, there is so much bird life (and those irresistible little prairie dogs!)
      Thanks as always for visiting and commenting, it is always wonderful to hear from you. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Prairie dogs are quite the little characters. And they do kind of scurry with that little jump. Some of them, in South Dakota, would just stand there and stare at me as if to say, “Come On…bring it.” Of course, they were just testing me. They are fun to watch and you got some amazing shots. I also like that name, “Buffalo Jump”. Have a beautiful and great weekend!


    1. Honestly, on a warm spring day I could spend hours watching the antics of prairie dogs! As you indicated, they have character and attitude (and they’ll sometimes pause long enough for a photo – I think they know the camera loves them…)
      Thanks, and I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the prairie dogs, the view and wonderful words of spring! What beautiful peace and space for your spring break and I agree with you at this age it does seem there are days when world events are discouraging and harder to understand. Thankfully there are days like the one you spent with the “buffalo jump gang” that remind us of the simple fun and tranquility of nature. Wonderful post and photos and enjoy your weekend!


  5. Thank you for the kind words!
    I’m not sure about reincarnation, but if it is a thing, I wouldn’t mind coming back as a buffalo jump prairie dog – they had a good thing going up there, at least that day!
    I hope your week is off to a great start!


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