My old Grandpa lived in Saskateen Falls, just a mile from the chemical plant; the plant was the only reason Saskateen Falls existed. Like all Grandfathers he was full of stories.
‘Where do Clouds come from Grandpa?’ I once asked him.
‘Clouds? We makes them at the cloud factory of course, where else?’ he replied, with a smile.
As he explained he’d point me towards the huge, barrel shaped cooling stacks of the plant. I had no idea what they were, heck I was only five or six: I wasn’t going to argue. In any case he looked right. Throughout the day (and night too I guessed) these stacks belched out huge plumes of white smoke – ‘clouds’ as Grandpa called them.
I’m back again today, and as ever most of the trees are bare of leaves. The air thick with the smell of dust and decay. The street signs are all but rusted away. The paint on Granddad’s old house flaked back to bare stone. Granddad himself had passed years before, a chronic asthmatic.
Saskateen Falls seems to have paid a high price for thirty years of playing host to a cloud factory.