On a Sunday evening, two Sundays ago, we drove west from Grande Prairie. My daughter’s dance season had concluded. She journeyed homeward with friends. My wife and I remained. With time to ourselves, after our supper meal, we drove.
At the junction where highway 43 meets highway 723 we turned right and traveled northward to an as yet undiscovered location for us, the hamlet of Valhalla Centre. Halfway there, we stopped – my wife and I trading positions in our truck cab; she took the wheel and I was able to let my eyes meander over and through each new scene confronting us – scouting potential shots. While this region, the north side of highway 43, is a farming community the land use for farming was noticeably different from that immediately surrounding Grande Prairie; open, unfenced grain fields went on for kilometres; farm buildings accommodated the terrain more than a system for using the land. These farms were huge. The area drew memories of farm community scenes from Garrison Keillor’s ‘News from Lake Wobegon,’ the narrative series accompanying the live radio show, ‘A Prairie Home Companion;’ the stories are set in Minnesota and often poke fun at the Scandinavian/German-American communities. On the Canadian side of the border, CBC broadcasts a sister show, ‘The Vinyl Café’ with Stuart McLean.
Our drive continued to Valhalla Centre and where my wife could have turned left westward to uncharted territory for us, she took a right and we moved toward an area I had been through two weeks before, the area between La Glace and Sexsmith, Alberta. The images presented here are from a third homestead quite close to two others presented a few weeks back. My wife and I followed this drive with a week to ourselves for travel.
Listening to – U2’s ‘I Will Follow,’ ‘Trip through Your Wire,’ ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,’ ‘Magnificent,’ ‘Lucifer’s Hands’ and ‘Every Breaking Wave.’
Quote to Consider – “Photographing a culture in the here and now often means photographing the intersection of the present with the past.” – David DuChemin
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