13 August, 2017
TAKING TIME TO ENJOY OUR GREAT CANADIAN OUTDOORS...
I know it is difficult for some of us, but for the time it takes to read this post try putting aside political biases and concerns with the way our country is governed. Take just a few minutes to clear your mind and to consider the often taken-for-granted benefits of living in the land called Canada.
A week or so ago I talked a bit about about the simple tranquility of sitting on my front porch on a warm July afternoon and enjoying looking out under a lush foliage canopy of maple trees casting shadows on an expanse of green grass as rays of the Lake Huron sun filter through, birds singing as squirrels and a baby rabbit scampered about. Scenes such as this, and many more, are a constant reminder that the character of this wonderful nation is blissfully entangled with the great outdoors.
You have to look no further than to first and second generation Canadians to express what it means to live freely in a country abounding with natural resources and beauty.
To emphasize that point, 60 years ago Steve Galea's father chose Canada as the place where he would live out the rest of his life. He left the old world for the benefits offered in the new one. "My father came to Canada because he loved the thought of wilderness, prosperity and peace -- a place where he could raise his kids," Galea writes eloquently in the July issue of Ontario Out Of Doors magazine. "He had lived through years of brutal bombings, horrible destruction and near starvation, all the while dreaming of better places."
Somewhere down the line, all our ancestors had similar experiences. Whether by accident or good judgment, our forebears left discontent behind and gambled on hope. They came to a fertile land blessed by broad expanses, limitless forests, countless waters and few people, given its immensity.
Due to the adventurous spirit of all who settled here, and the freedom provided, it was only natural that Canada became a nation of people who carry an innate love and appreciation of the outdoors. "Show me a Canadian who has not slept on the floor of an old pup tent, paddled in a canoe, spent time at a cottage, sat by a campfire, fished with a red and white bobber, donned a back-pack, or marvelled at the incredible beauty of a clear night sky, and I'll show you a rare bird indeed," says Galea.
"We hold dear the idea that our waters are owned by all. We cherish our wild areas and do our best to protect them. Crown land and other progressive ideas have made this country the envy of the world."
He also points out that our national character was sculptured by rock, tree and water, and by diversity of the seasons, then adds: "But it was polished by practical ideas, that tolerance is a virtue, that old-country grudges have no place here, that peaceful resolution is better than war, and time outside does a person good." Truer words were never written!
As nations go, Canada is still young...And with our youth comes the idealism that there can be justice and fairness and a place for everyone at our national table. I have reached a point in life where I am prepared to leave the fortunes of my home and native land to those who are younger, smarter and better positioned to govern our national affairs than me. Each new generation builds on the previous and I have every reason to believe that will continue to be the case.
So, time is up my friend! You can now go back to worrying about immigration policies, government spending and what is happening south of the border, if that is your inclination.
As for me...I'm heading out into that wonderful outdoors we just talked about. My front porch, an easy chair, the birds and squirrels and Lake Huron sun beckon. Think I'll take along a glass of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc while I'm at it.
I'll probably fall asleep eventually...and let the rest of the world go by.