Sowing a different kind of seed

He’s an old man with a round, twinkling face and a strength as real as the dirt at his feet.
This is how I feel about my 94-year-old grandfather.
He’s my husband’s grandfather actually, but I’m inspired to think of him as my own because he loves nature as much as I do, plus he’s sweet like the apple-scented sunshine of fall.
Last week he took us for a tour of his farm in southern Alberta, where his bumper wheat crop is too wet to combine.
You’d think he’d be discouraged, but he can’t stop smiling. He’s amazed by the great golden heads of the season–sun and showers has everything glowing.
His positive link to the land is partly bred. As a Mennonite of German heritage, his ancestors were persecuted but always could make something of the soil.
His parents, for example, made their home and barn from bricks made of straw and mud when they first moved to Siberia.
When a communist government ordered his family give up possessions around the same time his father died, he found a new life as a farmer in Canada.
He moved to Alberta with his mother and sisters, and worked the land full-time as a labourer starting at the age of 15.
Today he breathes in the goodness of those rolling hills–they continue to provide him with both beauty and security.
Not only was he able to pay off the family debt, but he started his own farm and created a legacy.
The land, the biggest part of him, will be there always. What a gift, especially since not everyone is so blessed.
Also while on our trip, we visited family in the suburbs of Calgary, where the physical landscape consists of chain stores and more chain stores.
In big retail areas, people plant money instead of seeds, and they acquire manufactured items instead of nature’s fruit.
My time there had me pining for our new home at the cabin.
Any desire I used to have to shop when I lived in the city is now replaced by more fulfilling activities, some of which our ancestors participated in regularly.
The pride and satisfaction I have when I collect wild edibles, and tend our native plant garden, is not unlike the feeling Grandpa seems to have when he admires his fields.
Thanks to these activities, my life feels more real.
With enough hard work, I even might have the strength and shining character of my 94-year-old Grandpa one day.
• • •
Don’t forget to vote for Nestor Falls in the World Fishing Network’s “Ultimate Fishing Town” contest.
You can vote once every 12 hours up until 4 p.m. (local time) on Thursday, Sept. 30 at www.wfn.tv/ultimate-fishing-town/vote.
The count between Nestor Falls and Port Alberni, B.C. remains very close!
• • •
This week, two different readers commented about foxes who are regular visitors at their cabins.
Do you have a relationship with foxes, maybe as an observer or as a trapper?
Send me your cabin story by e-mail at joanna@escape.ca

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