Friday, July 01, 2005

Canada Day

Canada is eating toy food at 30,000 feet and looking down on the most amazing herringbone of blacks and whites that turn out to be the Rocky Mountains.

Canada is coming home from Kensington Market with a vegetable that looks like a carrot, smells like a melon, feels like a banana but may be a potato. The lady next door knows how to cook it. You give her half.

Canada's lying on your stomach on a raft and watching shy fish circle below, safely hiding in your shadow.

Canada is slogging down a narrow, snow-clogged street in Quebec City, watching a midnight traffic jam of ice floes in the St. Lawrence.

Canada's sitting on the shore of Newfoundland's Grand Lake, sucking at a bottle of Star while a pal balances a bottle of Moosehead on his forehead. Laughter tickles the stubby pines.

Canada is paddling three hard days only to discover two other tents are already pitched at your "secret" place. Windlocked, you'll meet the strangers you meet there again each summer for the next 20 years.

Canada is Muskol. A hell of a lot of Muskol.

Canada is patching the hole in the tent and killing the last mosquito at 5.23 a.m. to finally fall asleep. The sun rises at 5.33.

Canada is climbing a tree with two friends in August and waiting two long hours to drop a balloon filled with water on your best pal.

Canada is a sharp green stick with one brown hot dog on it. The first frank falls in the fire but the second is perfect.

Canada is an amazing red trillium in a hillside army of white ones. Sprawl in the foot-high flowers and it takes them 15 minutes to find you.

Canada is poring over your priceless pile of 44 maps of lakes and portages in front of a roaring fire in January and never thinking about a black fly.

Canada is a metal mug of coffee too hot to hold, on a misty morning that's too cold to be there.

Canada is standing on the deck of the last B.C. ferry of the night, watching the water slide by. From somewhere deep inside the ship, a door closes. Or opens. Stars wink at reflected twins in the sea. Time stops.

Canada is meeting a bear at the rural garbage dump. You consider each other thoughtfully for long moments. The bear has other things to do.

Canada is dogs wading in lakes, sitting in shallow water to cool their bums.

Canada's the lightning storm that scares you witless.

Canada is whipping into a beach on one water ski to land at the exact edge of the sand ... just ... so. Keep your stomach sucked in: those girls are watching.

Canada is one perfect fiddlehead green. So small, so fixed in your mind as a fragile growing thing, you dare not pick it.

Canada is discovering the dog has eaten all the marshmallows.The marshmallows are already upchucked in your sleeping bag.

Canada is unpacking Christmas lights in a chilly attic.Canada is watching the field mouse run up to, then over your girlfriend's sleeping bag and never telling her when she wakes up.

Canada is one ear of yellow corn, a plate of butter and a napkin. You feel yellow a long time after.

Canada is sitting in a privy, hoping porkies don't come for another 10 minutes. Swallows have torn the toilet paper into confetti, no piece big enough to hold.

Canada is a deep lake, a sloping rock, a warm sun and a perfect curve of time. Afternoons arch to the horizon.

Canada is a brown envelope from Revenue Canada. And the modest boat you christen ... Rebate.

Canada is whitecaps on the lake, cold smoke spirals above winter chimneys, the speckled rocks at the bottom of a clear, glassy stream.

Canada is a big secret.



Just a Mom said...

Dear Gary

You nailed it!

That is soooo Canada.

Love your stuff. Keep us posted during your retirement. The best has just begun. Enjoy!

anne said...
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paulyboy said...

Amen Brother

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efun4val said...

Feb 26/06

Dear Gary, it's 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning and all the house is asleep, save me. I've finished the paper(not the same since no "Six"). and came for a visit.

I've been re-reading some of your thoughts and have a suggestion (actually a plea). PUBLISH! Especially this Canada Day piece. It says it all and made me smile and chuckle out loud. It is all so true and the "been there, done that" deja vu all over again thing happens every time I read this.

I hope you know how much your "friends" miss you. Miss the dogs, miss the puncturing of politicos.

Take care and please write more often or tell us where and what you're up to.

Miss ya! And thanks for the ride in your canoe.