Today is Canada Day, my country is 146 years young. I am thinking about how lucky I am to be a Canadian. It has been noted that Canada does not have a lot of history—while 1750 is old in terms of Canadian history, in Europe it is merely when the “new” bridge was built over the river. By comparison with many of the countries of the world, Canada is brand spanking new—if Canada were a car it could be said it still has some of that new car smell to it.
In terms of daily living, I don’t have to make the trek to the town well every day, as we saw from the bus window in Morocco, or head out in the rain to a primitive privy jury-rigged for a modicum of privacy, as we saw in the Mayan village in Mexico. My home was designed to route and hide the streamlined copper plumbing for two bathrooms, one on each floor—and it doesn’t creak and groan and rattle and sputter either … and I am grateful.
I have a washing machine that not only fills and drains of water automatically, but also agitates the clothes until they are clean … unlike the women I saw in Serbia with their laundry down by the rocks on the river; and in Canada I have never seen women ploughing fields with their oxen as I did in Serbia ….and I am very grateful.
The highways I drive … well, the bump-free and smooth gliding highways of France they are not, but neither are they the cobble-stoned highways I drove in Croatia … although … if I closed my eyes, I might not be able to discern between the highways of Croatia and Quebec. 😉
Canada seems to be almost risk free: we don’t have the multitude of poisonous creepy crawlies that I read inhabit Australia—although our mundane mosquito and blackfly have been known to drive many to take refuge; we generally are not subjected to the hurricanes that annually devastate the southern United States, or the typhoons and seasonal flooding of Asia. We do not have smouldering volcanoes, and the low scale earthquakes we have experienced are more interesting that terrifying. Throughout our history, except for the War of 1812, we have not been subjected to the ravages of war on our home soil—we don’t live with the threat of bombs, shelling, land mines or air strikes. We don’t have religious or political persecution, secret police or the fear of becoming one of the “disappeared”. We have freedoms that many of the world would die for, and for which many do … and I am grateful.
We have land, so much land, virgin land, where one can imagine that perhaps, just perhaps, no one has yet set foot and it creates a sense of breathing space, space to move, and grow and expand, and of wealth yet to be claimed.
We have an economy and standard of living far beyond the dreams of many; the ability to posses “things”—although perhaps the ability to possess is held in higher regard than is healthy for our spiritual souls.
We apparently say “eh” a lot, and talk about the weather too much; we may be overly introspective, say “I’m sorry” too often, and be too laid back; I might complain about our representatives to Parliament and I may be embarrassed at the antics in the House of Commons during Question Period—if I hear one more time, “when is the Member going to do the honourable thing and resign?” I may yet scream—but I am grateful because the alternatives are too grim to contemplate.
As I walked the streets in Canterbury England, my flag prominent on my carryall, I was greeted from across the road with a loud welcoming “Hello Canada!”; in Holland we were warmly welcomed as the offspring of those men and women who had aided in their liberation during World War 2; and in Scotland a fellow heard my accent and said, “Oh, you’re from America?” “No” I replied. “I’m from Canada.” He said he guessed it was like his own countrymen preferring the description “Scottish” rather than “British”. Yes, just like that—I am Canadian … and very grateful for it.
To close, I recently saw this ad again, on The Seeker‘s site – it was a big hit when it came out, a beer commercial … so with apologies to my American friends, nothing personal, just a bit of Canadian eh? I leave you with …