by Robin Enns
Last summer, I was standing in the tall grass on the north hill toboggan run, at a barbeque for the church that is going to be built there, looking up at the helium-filled coloured balloons bobbing and tugging to escape the top branches of the tall poplars. The wind was warm and strong on my face, and my shirt sleeves and collar rippled with the gusts. I caught the cooking smells in the background but the main fragrance was from the fields beyond the city –- the soft scent of sweetgrass. My thoughts leapt to fifteenth century Wales, where sweet grasses were spread in church aisles on days of celebration, for walking upon and releasing the vanilla bouquet to the air. Then back to the hillside to wonder about a name for the new building ... Prairie Wind ... or Prairie Spirit.
That was a month or two before Dr. Visentin called and invited me to be part of this issue of Ecclectica. When we talked about a theme, the memory of the feel and the fragrances of the prairie wind came back to me and to both of us, it felt like a good fit. So, our title -– Prairie Winds.
We sent out two or three calls for people at BU and for people who BU people know to write poems or create art on the theme of the prairies, and hopefully, Manitoba prairie spirit winds, though we did not intend to be terribly nit-picky. People approached us; they called or emailed or buttonholed us in the corridors and we encouraged both well-published and new writers and artists to send to us; and they did. We also have a section called "Beginnings" that contain works-in-progress. We hope this will become a continued feature of Ecclectica because we want people who have something a-birthing to put it out there, "pour encourager les autres".