ImageThere’s something therapeutic about green spaces. The city of Edmonton had wise planners who decided that the North Saskatchewan valley shouldn’t be developed but made into walking and riding trails. This policy was extended somewhat to creeks as well.

When I lived in Edmonton, one favourite place I often visited was Mill Creek. It was my sanctuary from city noise and buildings. May was the best month to visit since the leaves on the poplar trees began to grow and release a wonderful scent.

While working at Transport Canada, a branch of the federal government, I met a short and sweet lady named Monika. She and I became friends because we had so many opinions and interests in common. Though she wanted only a platonic relationship, we remained friends for years.

In 1995, I invited her to walk with me in the Mill Creek ravine. The leaves on the poplar trees were perfuming the air on that sunny afternoon of our stroll along the creek. As we talked and laughed, I took photos of the lovely scenery. The photo at the top of this post is of Monika on one of the park’s paths.

What pleased me most was that Monika was one of only a few friends who loved nature as much as I did, and still do. Both of us disliked cities and shared fantasies of someday living in the country. We would have separate houses but still see each other from time to time.

Though it’s eighteen years later, I still remember the scents, warmth, and beautiful vistas of that afternoon’s walk. Though I’m single and happy to stay that way, I wouldn’t mind having somebody like Monika to spend the rest of my life with.

In a way, my wish for a place in the country was granted by the Lord. I live at the edge of a tiny hamlet with neighbours at a distance. Behind my house is a hay field. The hamlet is across the railway tracks, not in my face. Though the grocery store closed, I can still get my mail and borrow DVDs from the library. Unless I have my windows wide open, I hear no dogs barking or kids yelling. This is the perfect home for a writer.

I wrote about God’s wonderful gift of this home to me in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. The cover photo and more information is at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers. My two previous paperbacks are featured on the Bruce Atchison’s books page.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.


  1. Hi Bruce, I agree on the benefits of open spaces. Here in Sheridan, Wyoming, I’m not in the country, but there are plenty of places to walk that give you that feeling. My favorite is a cement walking path that meanders for about half a mile by a creek. It’s about a half mile walk from my house so if I go the full loop, it’s at least a mile-long walk. Now that the days are finally getting warmer, and the snow is gone, I do more walking.

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