Time Capsule Project 2015
I was lucky enough this year to be invited to join a group of 12 Lethbridge-based authors, artists and activists in a Time Capsule project for our local Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Each contributor was tasked with adding items to 10 different times capsule, with each item representing something that described one unique aspect about our fair city. By the end of the project, each Time Capsule would contain 12 different items from 12 different minds. The Time Capsules are buried, and one will be unearthed and opened at various times over the next 100 years. It was a fun project to work on, and I feel honoured to have been invited to participate.
My contributions were photographs I came across, each one including a corresponding statement. Enjoy.
1. The heart of Lethbridge is not found downtown. It is not found on the north side, south side, or west side. The heart of Lethbridge can only be found in the generous and friendly spirits of the people who live here. This image shows some of those people, enjoying a day of music and sunshine in Galt Gardens in September of 2014.
2. Lethbridge is a prairie town, settled once by families dreaming of a new start. Before those settlers arrived, this land was teeming with buffalo, deer and antelope; all grazing under beautiful blue heavens. It may not be our official slogan – but Lethbridge is truly in Big Sky Country. No matter what may happen to us – those skies will remain – ever changing, yet always majestic.
3. This image of a key seems fitting to me when discussing Lethbridge, Alberta. We are a Key point of commerce and vacations to the United States. We are a Key point on spirited journeys into the Rocky Mountains. We are a Key point when it comes to the growth and distribution of livestock, grain and produce. We are a Key point that connects all of Canada’s Prairie Provinces. We are the Key to the East, the West and the South.
4. While it is not always the case, Lethbridge is well known for our wind. We have signs on our highways warning of Severe Gusts. We have families that bond regularly over kite flying activities. We have hawks, falcons, eagles, and crows – all spiralling higher and higher only to swoop back down over our streets and our homes. We have innovative Wind Energy projects and programs assisting with alternative sources of electricity. And yes… we’ve often got bad hair days.
5. When all is dark and quiet, and most of us have gone to sleep, Lethbridge becomes tranquil and timeless. The occasional train may holler from our famous High Level Bridge (as seen here), but for the most part nights are reserved for coyotes and owls, crickets and frogs. Unlike other cities in Canada, Lethbridge is still quite dark at night, with beautiful stars above. In addition, unlike other cities in Canada, Lethbridge nights are free from traffic noise, sirens and jets streaming by overhead.
6. As with many places on our fair planet, Lethbridge is home to progress and change. Unfortunately, for some, that progress can be devastating. Our fair coulees and river bottom landscapes are home to creatures big and small, many of which are unique to our region yet are considered to be endangered. I can only hope that these creatures will still be here to inspire and amaze future generations, just as they constantly inspire me.
7. One thing that Lethbridge seems to suffer from is a lack of new industry and sources of commerce. We seem to be too small to entice the huge corporate entities, yet also too small to support locally owned family businesses year-round. Seeing businesses start, then flourish for a few years, only to close up shop is a disturbing trend in our city. There is nothing more melancholy than seeing a dream slowly erode, only to fade away. Entrepreneurs from days gone by have left behind some fascinating architecture, including this image of a former grocery store on the city’s North Side.
8. A disturbing legacy that exists today in Lethbridge is poverty, homelessness and addiction. These issues affect all communities, but the combined histories of trading furs for whiskey, moving families onto reservations and forcing children into residential schools have left a lasting impression. We cannot go back in time to stop these actions, and it is certainly a struggle to right the wrongs of years ago. Lethbridge should never forget this dark inheritance.
9. I try to make this city better by sharing my love of music. I regularly enjoy live acts playing at local venues, and I actively volunteer with our local campus and community radio station. It may seem like a small thing – but I believe that music makes us better – as individuals, as groups, and as a society as a whole. I hope that my passion for music infects others, and that Lethbridge never forgets how to sing, how to dance, and how to make something beautiful out of nothing at all.
10. One thing that you should always know about Lethbridge is that it’s a great place to raise a family. We’re large enough to have everything you need, yet we’re small enough to be a safe, solid and positive community. Many Lethbridge neighbors still greet each other by name every day. We stop and help each other in times of need. We rally round causes that we feel need to be addressed, and we never forget to go outside and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. As the little guy in this image shows, it’s easy to be happy to live here.