Thursday, 29 January 2015

What's it Like to Live at Shekinah?

I have been asked this question a number of times in the last few months since my family and I moved in. As each new experience reveals itself I keep thinking how fortunate we are to be in a place like this. But what is it like? Many of you will know what it’s like to come and experience Shekinah, but living here is different. Before I answer that question let me give you a bit of context, let me tell you a bit about where I have lived before I came to Shekinah.

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa which is a city of about 7 million people. A big, busy place with traffic that would put anything Saskatchewan could ever hope to offer to shame. I always knew that Johannesburg would not remain my home forever, I needed to be closer to the outdoors, to peace and quiet and to fishing. I left South Africa in 2006 and downsized my habitat to the quaint little city of Galway, Ireland. 60 000 neighbours seemed much more to my liking, and when you live along the coast and in one of the most beautiful countries in the world there isn’t too much to complain about. Except for the rain, oh the rain... I recall a report on the radio one morning that in County Galway (which you can drive across easily in about 45 minutes) it had rained every day for the last 111 days. It can rain there!

I met my wife in Galway, and she brought me to Rosthern. About 1500 people now and certainly now my habitat was becoming more to my liking. I arrived in July and couldn’t understand what people were talking about, the weather was wonderful and it wasn’t raining! I had heard about -40C, actually when I found out I panicked because I had already agreed to come to Saskatchewan. After deciding that it must be possible to survive because Saskatchewan does have a stable population I figured it would probably be OK. It was and it is OK. I will take -40C over the incessant rain and crazy traffic and stress any day! When we moved from Rosthern out to a farm a few years ago I truly began to appreciate the space and the beauty that we have here. The key to surviving winter here is to figure out how to enjoy it, how to embrace it and look forward to it. Winter here is too long to hate and this province is too beautiful not to enjoy it 12 months of the year.

So when my wife, my two boys and I moved here a couple months ago it truly felt like this was the place I had been looking for and moving towards. Every day we take in new things and appreciate what a beautiful area this is and what an incredible backyard we have. Being able to sip a morning coffee and look across the river valley or barbecuing while the sun sets and the light fades behind the trees really makes me happy. So far we have only really experienced winter here, but what a winter it has been! The temperatures have been great and it has allowed us to go out and explore.

Even through the colder periods I have already had my eyes opened to the abundance of life that is here. My oldest son, Alex came home from school one day with a pine cone that was covered in peanut butter and bird seed. We hung it outside the dining room window to see what would happen. I always knew that there are still birds around in winter, but we really aren’t used to seeing them. Now we have a family of chickadees that we feed outside our window. We have seen four at one time eating off the feeder and not just during the nice periods of weather but also on the coldest days.

Then there is Rabby. Alex named him and he is the rabbit that lives under our deck. He seems to be getting less skittish but it is great to spot him when we do. It makes for a great activity to try and see if we can see Rabby when we are going out or coming home from some activity. From our dining room table we have also seen deer and owls. From the deck we have heard wolves and coyotes, lots and lots of coyotes! We go for walks and see what tracks we can identify, we play, we explore and, as a family, we feel truly blessed and excited to be here and to be a part of Shekinah. 

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