It is a place of edges and margins; prairies about the mountains, the horizontal vaults become vertical, the city gives way to rangeland, the last homes straggle westward as the bush accumulates. Behind him, behind the crest of the hill, is Calgary; before him is the landscape he loves, the foothills.
It is a savage day in March, scarcely warm enough to set sherds of snow jingling down south-facing slopes of the borrowpits, chilly enough to keep lizards of ice clinging to the slopes the sun cannot reach. The fields' furrows still hold snow; the land is zebra-striped. The wind flings spikes of ice as it flickers wraith-like around copses of barren aspen and down the valley of the Elbow River.
He is now an old man, but his steps bears yet traces of the jauntiness it earlier expressed as he strides out in overcoat and deerstalker, in his hand a sketchbox of his own design. It is a small point of pride for him to say he has painted outdoors in every month of the year.
The land is animate, quickening, vital. The air redolent with the acrid decay of mulch and duff the deepening frosts of autumn had cur