After I left the grain elevator museum, I headed toward Empress, which sits near the confluence of two rivers near the border with Saskatchewan. The girl in the grain elevator museum told me there were some art galleries there and thought I might enjoy them. There's mostly just open farmland in the area, with a lot of old barns and structures.
This was one of the pictures I posted at the time I was traveling. It was one of my favorites from the trip. I like the bird on the roof of the last shed.
I got to Empress, and there wasn't much there. Another dying town on the prairie. I found a closed-up hospital, but didn't take any pictures. I ended up in a art gallery cafe called That's Empressive. Interestingly enough, they still have a website, so I'm guessing it's still there.
The woman who runs the place is called Nokomis. She is an Ojibwa artist, who likes to paint scenes from her childhood in the wilds of the north, the daughter of a trapper. I now remember that I bought some of her artwork, and have it somewhere. I will have to dig it out. We talked for a while and I ended up just kind of pouring out my story to her. that was one of the hardest things about this time in my life--no one to talk to. She made me a cup of coffee, listened, and offered me some words of wisdom. She fed me a bowl of soup and gave me a direction to travel in.
The road she told me to follow was an dirt road with no name. I was a little hesitant, as it was already after 5 pm, but decided that I would just go and see what happened. I took the road with no name and came across a ferry that crossed the river and took me into Saskatchewan. I remember that the ferry driver was in full mosquito gear. I rolled down my window for a second and was attacked. Thus, no pictures of the ferry crossing.
I came across a little church in the middle of the field. It was open and I went in and prayed a little to the emptiness and aloneness that was God.
Eventually I came to the town of Leader, and started looking for a place to stay. I didn't find one, but talked to a woman who had a photo gallery who told me there was a campground in Maple Creek, which was the next town. She had a beautiful picture of the sun setting behind a grain elevator hanging on the wall. I drove over to see the elevator.
Here's the interesting thing about the light--it was almost 9 pm, and the sun was just starting to set. After the elevator, I went out to a cemetery on the outskirts of town, and took some pictures out there. None of them are any good. That's one thing I have learned in the interval--composition. Looking at them I can see how I would approach them differently today.
It was almost ten pm when I drove back from the cemetery. As I headed to the next town, I passed the grain elevator as the sun went down.
I wrote in my journal that evening: "Somewhere in all this, I recognized that I had made some sort of transition--that this day had been special and unique. I have moved outside of myself and my grief, at least for a while.