…along the Yellowhead, past Elk Island Park where bison were grazing on both sides of the road, the fields were cold with the first snow. I wanted to to see the derelict Spaca Moskalyk Orthodox church on a range road near Mundare.
I’d been reading about the church, knew that it had been scheduled to be deconsecrated by ritual burning because it was considered to be too far gone to restore. But there it was, in its field of graves, with a new foundation –cruciform, the traditional shape of these buildings — waiting alongside. We couldn’t enter the stenciled door
but I knew from reading that the interior is still lovely, a blue starry ceiling and stenciled wainscotting, spiraling stairs leading to a choir loft. I thought of the families coming to the church in the 1980s and 30s, maybe even the family from this abandoned farm —
-and I thought of my grandfather, after his arrival in Canada in the early 20th c., and wondered if he’d have been comforted by the sight of a familiar silver dome. Not that he would have come to this particular church but there are others on the prairies, the sound of an old liturgy still echoing.