When Godfrey first experienced the Canadian Prairie rain, was a September afternoon, he was 21 that summer, hanging wide eyed from the rear car of a train.
Hail had pelted him down from the mountains, ahead he could see the prairie welkin, plum and shale, sky obsidian as the hills gave way to grain. All big and new even after 5 years on the road. He had crossed the great oceans, seen sun scorched the vast outback, stood neath Kiwi Fruit hanging as far as he could see. “I was curious as a colt”, he told me.
Every lightning bolt and crash of thunder seemed a welcome, not a warning from the vaulted sky of the prairie. Smell of wet Canola, freight train miles long, abandoned homesteads packed up and gone, wide brown rivers, sleepy hometown, gossip at the lone cafe’, stores closing down.
He tastes the dust of a passing truck, mingles with a hint of slough and waft of skunk. He is full of the sky, golden as the coulees, Godfrey waves at the crossing as the train rattles by.
Under the prairie welkin…On the outskirts of the city, you may perhaps glimpse Godfrey, he is hitching off track, north into the land of mystery. Ethelbert, Crocus Hill, Valley River, Moosehorn, Gimli, familiar place names to me. Large bug bites, he writes, and never have I seen such enormous dragon flies, I am sacked out under the prairie welkin, true vault of heaven are these living skies..from Godfrey.