From Alex Emond, our man in south Saskatchewan, where the wheat harvest is happening:
"I could not not photograph this. The little truck was parked in downtown Climax, Saskatchewan.
"At this time of year all the older grain trucks get pressed into service ... everybody and everything kicks into high gear during the harvest. They can rest up in November.
One of Wallace Stegner's best books was his memoir, Wolf Willow, which is about his boyhood in Alex's corner of southern Saskatchewan.
More grainers up here. I saw a bunch in Texas last weekend, where the trucks are comatose this time of year: wheat harvest on the Panhandle is over by end of June.
For me, driving across high plains country brings to mind John Newlove's great poem, Driving. (I drove across the Llano Estacado--Texas Panhandle/eastern New Mexico--last weekend, but more on that in a later post).
You never say anything in your letters. You say,
I drove all night long through the snow
in someone else's car
and the heater wouldn't work and I nearly froze.
But I know that.
I live in this country too.
I know how beautiful it is at night
with the white snow banked in the moonlight.
Around black trees and tangled bushes,
how lonely and lovely that driving is,
how deadly. You become the country.
You are by yourself in that channel of snow
and pines and pines,
whether the pines and snow flow backwards smoothly, whether you drive or you stop or you walk or you sit.
This land waits. It watches. How beautifully desolate
our country is, out of the snug cities,
and how it fits a human. You say you drove.
It doesn't matter to me. All I can see is the silent cold car gliding,
walled in, your face smooth, your mind empty,
cold foot on the pedal, cold hands on the wheel.
-John Newlove, from his Apology for Absence: Selected Poems 1962-1992. Erin, Ontario: Porcupine's Quill.