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The Little Red

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Title The Little Red

The Little Red by Tim Lasiuta

From time immemorial, the creek has flowed.

Its life blood, the swiftly flowing stream that has ebbed and surged has both moved and has been moved through the gently hilled landscape.

Around it, the land has been home to natives and immigrants for at least 12,000 years and possibly as long as 20,000 years.   Migrating bands of natives had called this area home, using the rich resources of animal life and water supply to feed their people.  Summer camps, winter camps and elk/buffalo pounds all lie beneath what we now call Red Deer.

“…If Shakespeare were here, he might write sonnets…”

Cree legends speak of the Great Spirit and what we now call the Medicine Hills noting events we deem to be 12,000 years ago.

With the arrival of immigrant settlers and the exploration of Central Alberta by Thompson and others, the dwindling supply of buffalo and the breaking of traditional land into settler lots the wandering creek still brought life but now became a symbol of a burgeoning settlement.

Mankind has traditionally settled near water, and the hamlet and later town, and city of Red Deer did the same.  What was once viewed as a source of life was now a feature to be seen as an anchor to the wild beauty of the area.  Like the elders of the native tribes before him, Kerry Wood fought for the natural areas in his beloved community and his hand is obvious for those who look.

Creek and forest

We, as present citizens of the city of Red Deer, cannot ignore the legacy that the ‘keepers of the land’ left behind.

Pre-contact natives looked on this land as far as the eye could see and deemed it a blessing from the Great Spirit.  Great chiefs looked on this land as their charge, and considered it a responsibility to protect the land.

Farmers look on their land as their responsibility to keep and protect for future generations.

Modern day urban and real estate planners look on priceless natural areas as part of urban development with an eye to profit than to protection.

Once upon a summer day, I wandered through the Bower area and I discovered a treasure.

Turning  a corner into the east side of the green area by Bower Mall, the beauty of the wandering creek overwhelmed me.  The summer day sun just magnified the greatness of the area.  Birds sang songs to each other and the silence that encompassed the aerial arias was magnificent.  The sheer experience of the time was priceless.

All around me the might trees swayed in a slight breeze and the warm air flowed around me.  Looking north, south and east the hand of our Creator was obvious.  True beauty cannot be bought, engineered, nor constructed by human hands.

Such is the heart of the jewel that is Red Deers natural areas.

This area, as seen in the photos cannot be replaced by a bridge, walkway, or overpass.  In fact, the beauty of the area will be lost forever.

It is not hard to imagine that centuries ago young braves and their families set camp beside the creek and enjoyed life.  If you could listen to the past, you might hear sounds of campfire conversations, drum circles, singing and laughing.

More importantly, they, like modern citizens today, and myself on this day, knew this was a special place that perhaps was sacred for some and just a place of rest for others.

If Samuel Taylor Coleridge were here, he might compose Xanadu.

If Shakespeare were here, he might write sonnets.

If the Sons of the Pioneers were here with instruments, they might compose a haunting song like “Blue Prairie,” or “The Touch of Gods Hand.”

An artist might paint a moving memory.

Young lovers from all eras might declare their everlasting love to each other.

Yet, we, as a city, are considering its desecration.

Today, it is a reminder that we cannot and should not consider turning this priceless area into a traffic zone.

We should never, ever forget that our responsibilities to shepherding and managing the land must consider environment over people every time.

Take a moment, look at these pictures and ponder…..Bridge or beauty….

Tim Lasiuta is a local writer with interests in history preservation, from environmental to pre-contact native archaeology, faith and telling stories that matter in Central Alberta.  His work has appeared in Canadian Cowboy Country, True West Magazine, Mad Magazine, Alberta Venture, in published anthologies and Comic Buyers Guide.

You can contact Tim at [email protected].

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