from issue: 44-3
by Lesley Schatz of Montmartre, SK
It wasn’t the buildings, it wasn’t the land although there were some trees and even a dugout.
It was something intangible, unseen, felt. The silence put a spell on me that would not let go. The coyotes breaking that silence only enhanced the magic of my funny little farm with its old dilapidated buildings and hard to heat home. The well was good but not for drinking and if the water were any harder, you could walk on it.
Most of the year, the place was still and calm; wild and cold or hot and humming with ticks, flies, crickets, mosquitoes and wasps. The winter temperatures read ‘moderate to not bad at all’ in the pre-purchase research I had done, but that was before I felt the wind.
The wind must have killed some early peoples or at least broken their spirit. South east Saskatchewan was not a place used as wintering grounds by any creatures. The geese left as did all the migratory birds, the deer, elk and moose went to more sheltered zones only occasionally stopping back this way when the weather periodically warmed. No, it had to be something as yet unseen, intangible that kept me from leaving. I sigh when I try to figure out what that draw is… other than the silence.
What is that mysterious magnet that keeps me happily stoking the stove and researching what farm critters will eat ticks? What type of chicken will do well against pine martins, weasels, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, occasional wolves, peregrine falcons, great horned owls, huge seagulls, snakes, cold and probably other creatures that I haven’t yet seen? I have lived on farms most of my life and as of today, January 1 of a brand new year, I have no inkling as to what lure keeps me here. I have found silent places before… I have lived in them. But on this little farm there is something else, deeper and most mysterious that I need. Maybe I will figure out what it is someday or maybe the magic will be in the search as I spend my retirement years walking through the beautiful silence of my farm.