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Giving Thanks In Big Sky Country

Giving Thanks In Big Sky Country

Susan Henderson

I am at my farm with my two boys waiting for the rest of my family to slowly make their way here to celebrate Thanksgiving. 

This is my home.

I sleep deeply here in ‘big sky country’ (as our friend ‘big Mike’ calls it), under vast array of stars and and dead silence broken only by the sound of howling wolves.

The maple trees stand tall along our winding driveway and boast bright red leaves in contrast to the now dried-out, lifeless field of wildflowers. The birds know instinctively what I wish to forget - winter is coming. They are flying south in “V” formation - making squawking noises overhead to gently remind us. But the breeze is warm, we are wearing T-shirts, drinking lemonade, eating salt-and-vinegar chips and playing tennis. It is mid October and it feels like summer. 

It makes no practical sense that we bought this farm.

We did not look at one other farm; we did not look at any other areas, we did not price compare, we did not rent to see if we “liked the area”. My partner, Tony, told me about this “farm” listing and suggested we drive there for the day as his uncle, who had recently moved out west, was in town and selling it. 

“I am not a cottager,” I told him flatly. “I know,” he said. “But you just might fall in love with this one,” Tony responded knowingly with a little smile.

After only a one-hour drive from where we live, I stood on this deck over a year ago and looked at the cluster birch trees by the front walkway. They were eerily reminiscent a number of dreams I have had; dreams about a house with a cluster birch. The line-up of eight floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the deck reminded me of the home my parents bought when we first moved to Toronto. I shed a tear and whispered to my eldest son, Thomas, prior to entering the house:

“We have to buy this place.”  

“I’m in.” he responded standing pool side grinning, his smile taking over half his face, his step brother nodding and smiling widely in approval.

Sometimes the things we do - and the things that often end up making the most sense - are not about thinking it through, but feeling through it.

Life is not always simple or easy. It is sometimes messy.

But this farm, Birch Farm - where the big sky looms overhead, the birds chatter endlessly, family and friends gather and our dogs and kids run free - everything is right in the world.

For that, and for love, health and family, I am thankful.

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