The Canadian family television series Heartland has certainly worked its way into our hearts. And, as per our typical pattern, we are watching it for the first time a full seven years after its release (thank you, Netflix).

We are in the first season (2007). And since the show is still being produced in 2014, we have a long way to go to catch up.

But Heartland has drawn us in. So, the remaining seven years of shows does not seem daunting; rather, a welcome distraction. We look forward to them.

Starring Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan, Shaun Johnston, and Graham Wardle, the series is loosely based on the Lauren Brooke novels (ghost written by Linda Chapman) which first appeared in 2005.

The TV series is set in the beautiful mountains of Alberta, Canada (although the original stories were set in Virginia, as I understand it). And if you are not one who is enthralled with the west, wide open spaces, cattle ranches, and the romantic life of the rugged cowboy – don’t bother to engage.

I am. Enthralled, that is. With The West.

Our move to Arizona in the summer of 1963 exposed me to the intoxicating lure of The West. And my time living in Montana in the mid-1970s sealed the deal. I am hooked. I expect to die with one boot in The West; if not physically, then mentally, for sure.

But the longer I live . . . and the more places that I live . . . (the list is embarrassingly long), it occurs to me that what I truly love – in any and every place I have resided – is the wide open spaces. The mountains. The woods. The valleys. The lakes.

Open terrain. The wilder – the better.

As my Minnesota friend, Randy Stinchfield used to say, “I need a horizon.” Me, too, Randy!

The truth is, there is a bold and unmistakeably profound statement made when one is in the presence of pristine wilderness. I am not going to try to tell you what that statement is in this blog entry. Sorry.

What I am going to say is that I am touched deeply in my heart when I am there. I am properly humbled. Right-sized. Appreciative. And awestruck.

The human heart. The place where the mind is truly connected and in concert with human emotions.

There is a reason why we have created expressions like these:

  • “get to the heart of things”
  • “the heart of the matter”
  • “change of heart”
  • “take it to heart”

Your heart is where one can find what is really true about you.

It may be hard to get to your heart, because it is covered with so much armor and protective coating. But when you do get there, all there is – is true.

Each performer in the Heartland story has his/her own issues, his/her own back story. And it will be interesting to see how it all gets worked out. Or doesn’t, as the case may be. One thing is certain: the characters will be successful in their varied relationships in direct proportion to their genuineness of heart, i.e. their ability to see themselves and others as they truly are.

If there is subterfuge in the heart, relationships will suffer.

Maybe the writers and creators of this Canadian program intentionally named this Heartland because they knew that creating a place, a ranch, a terrain, a land where the heart is central would give them ample subject matter and call out to the part of us that aches deeply and smiles deeply.

Ya’ think?

You may not be enthralled with The West like I am. And the mythical cowboy and ranch life may not appeal to you in the least. Or the TV show may not catch your eye for one reason or another. No matter.

What appeals and calls out to every human who breathes a breath . . . are the issues of the heart. Your heart.

When the new website http://www.heartdepot.org emerges later this summer, it will be addressing issues of the heart; derailments that get us off track and leave us in destinations we do not want to visit. Addiction, grief, disappointment, anger (to name just a few).

Are we destined to live our lives in a land that keeps us arms length from that for which our heart longs the most?

Or . . . is there truly a Heartland?


That’s me sitting on 4 year old Chico, in Clint Goben’s front yard, Anaconda, MT, circa summer 1973.

About ivanbenson

I am a former singer, guitar player, writer, story teller, voice over talent, and a current heart attack survivor in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
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8 Responses to Heartland

  1. ivanbenson says:

    Heart Depot is COMING SOON (Sept. 1st)! And Heartland will be on . . . wait for it . . . TONIGHT!

  2. Denise Benson says:

    Love it!!! Can’t wait for heart depot”s release:) and now I’m dying to watch Heartland..dang it dad! Lol

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Suzanne says:

    Love your descriptions and really excited about Heart Depot!

  4. ivanbenson says:

    Thanks, Steve. Glad we got to know one another that night, and that you came to school there, and that we have remained connected after all these years. You are a real encouragement to me.

  5. Steve Kell says:

    That gent on the horse looks a lot like the dude who walked into an HU dorm room late one rainy evening to find a rain-soaked high schooler sitting in the dude’s room. “Who are you looking for?” asked the dude. “Ivan Benson,” replied the young kid, wondering if he had walked into the wrong room. “Oh….well, I’m Ivan.” And to my deep relief, I sighed, smiled, introduced myself…and then a few weeks later started my college career at the afore-referenced university–in part, because of the hospitality of the dude on the horse. Many thanks….Happy Trails, my friend.

  6. ivanbenson says:

    Thank you, my dear.

  7. Mon says:

    I love the West too! Especially Montana! This article captured my heart! ( No pun intended!) Great writing!

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