Where did you spend Canada Day?
If you spent the holiday somewhere in British Columbia, chances are you spent it amidst a remarkable confluence of Mother Earth and Human Industry, in a place where our forebears forged a pact with the dizzying wealth of Nature and plotted out a tract to settle into.
It’s about six a.m. on Canada Day as I write this. Wendy and I are, asleep and half-awake, away from the hustle and bustle and Hell that is the Okanagan on any given long weekend. Wendy and I have traveled, as we do frequently, further into the Interior, to recreate in the shadows of the mountains towering overhead, along the stony shores of mirror-still waters.
We’re in the West Kootenays, folks; and we’re gone, Daddy. Gone.
No, we’re not high, like the patchouli-befouled hippy-dervishes spinning away Time’s passing on the other side of the lake where the ferry picked us up. You don’t need mind-altering drugs to experience the remarkable beauty that a trip to the B.C. Interior brings.
Everywhere you care to look, fractals explode into infinity above and below; Nature’s kaleidoscopic patterns emerge without the ingestion of what’s inside the shaman’s cup. Spend enough time in these parts and the very trees blanketing the gentle slopes, and the mosses, lush and licentious, carpeting terra firma beneath, begin to whisper into your ears:
We are Here.
We are One.
when your song
It’s a beautiful if haunting reminder that vivid Nature offers us in this corner of Canada.
Of course, it’s an accident of birth that places us at our earthy beginnings. None of us could have anticipated being exactly Here, in this precise Now. But Here we are after all; and in this Now everything is illuminated.
The Village on these impossibly still shores is rising to the day. In a few quick hours the main street will be the site of a Canada Day Parade. The Farmers’ Market will kick into gear, and the placid folks lucky enough to share this time and this place will be milling about, chatting amiably over espressos and ice cream cones. Kids will be scrambling in the street behind the parade floats, gathering as many taffy treats and caramels as they can muster.
And the splendour of this place will mark us each with the mute recognition that we are the minders of this place, these memories, this indescribably diverse land called Canada.
Away from the quotidian concerns over powers and principalities greater than ourselves reshaping the Earth into Shareholder value, we are reminded that when we are gone all of this rugged beauty will remain. We can never truly own it. We’re just lucky that at the moment Nature is benevolent and allows us to abide a while longer.
“O Canada/ Our Home and native Land,” goes our national anthem. My fervent prayer is that we try to respect the crazy beauty of Life as it explodes all around us; that we appreciate the home that we have found in this place. My prayer is that we become a kinder and gentler Canada, a country that will protect its natural inheritance and pass it along to the kids to come, taffy-tasters and hippies alike: a country that is truly “strong and free” just as Nature intended us to be.
Hope you had a Happy Canada Day, gentle reader. Welcome back.
— Having lost his 2,500 volume library in the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, Jeffrey is beginning to fill the void by writing his own. Reach him at jeff.loewen(at)gmail.com